Another Spectrum

Personal ramblings and rants of a somewhat twisted mind

Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Peter Davis – No man is an island; HIV/Aids epidemic lessons we can learn from — Peter Davis NZ


The following article Looks specifically at two recent (as in my lifetime) infectious disease outbreaks in Aotearoa New Zealand and what we have learnt and still need to learn and perhaps more specifically what we should do in light of such discoveries. As is often the case, marginalised communities are mostly invisible to the majority, even when they are the most impacted by epidemics such as Covid. HIV/Aids and the 1918 Flu.

The Delta variant of Covid reveals features of NZ society we prefer to keep hidden but perhaps the pandemic provides us with an opportunity to learn more about those features and what we can do to make society more equitable. Although Peter Davis discusses the situation as it specifically applies to Aotearoa New Zealand, I suspect similar opportunities exist in most parts of the world.

Perhaps the only terms that may need clarifying for those outside New Zealand is the term DHB (District Health Board). At an administrative level, NZ is divided into 20 health districts each administered by a board partly made up of elected representatives and partly by appointments from central government. Bulk funding for each board is provided by central government and each board determines how those funds should be spent. As Peter points out, only 5% of the expenditure of the Auckland DHB goes to primary health care and a paltry 0.15% goes to public health. Surely this is where we must in the first instance revise our priorities.

Published in The New Zealand Herald, 10th October 2021

Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Peter Davis – No man is an island; HIV/Aids epidemic lessons we can learn from — Peter Davis NZ

Author: Barry

A post war baby boomer from Aotearoa New Zealand who has lived with migraines for as long as I can remember and discovered I am autistic at the age of sixty. I blog because in real life I'm somewhat backwards about coming forward with my opinions.

5 thoughts on “Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Peter Davis – No man is an island; HIV/Aids epidemic lessons we can learn from — Peter Davis NZ

  1. I just read the Peter Davis post and I was very impressed with his succinct straightforward presentation of this issue, which I think is a world-wide one, not just confined to NZ.

    Thanks also for drawing my attention to his juxtaposition of the two quotes – “No man is an island” (John Donne) vs Margaret Thatcher’s “There is no such thing as society”. That made me smile. I’ve often wished Ms T could be reborn, but be convinced to move to the centre (to the left would be hopeless) rather than the far right. She had such a gift for getting things done.

  2. In NZ media, is HIV/Aids viewed as a pandemic? It isn’t in America. When articles mention past pandemics, they never mention Aids. I’m not sure if it’s the slow motion spread (comparably) or that primarily marginalized communities are and were impacted the most (I guess the latter). My big hope is that the lightning speed of a vaccine for Covid can somehow accelerate the trudging pace of the HIV vaccine.

    • It was certainly seen as an epidemic in the early 1980s, and the media described it as such, but one affecting gays only. These days it’s viewed as a manageable endemic disease. The disease had one “good” side effect in that it prompted a social shift in attitude to those who are on the “fringes of society” that lead to the decriminalisation of homosexual acts in 1986 and prostitution in 2003. As Peter Davis points out, a shift in attitude towards drug use has been much slower as shown by last year’s referendum on recreational cannabis which was lost 50.7% against vs 48.4% for.

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