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A second COVID-19 death in Auckland – Expert Reaction

The former Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, Dr Joseph Williams QSO, has died in Auckland City Hospital.

Dr Williams, who was in his 80s, was admitted to Auckland City Hospital on 13 August and passed away yesterday evening. His passing brings the number of COVID-19 related deaths in New Zealand to 24.

The SMC asked experts to comment. 

Jacqui Maguire, Registered Clinical Psychologist, comments:

“News of a second recent death from COVID-19 is a sobering reminder that this journey is a long way from over. My condolences are with both families, and I hope they both have good support wrapped around them.

“I think it is fair to say that in recent weeks many New Zealanders have been experiencing COVID fatigue. The pandemic novelty has passed and alert level restrictions have been perceived as an inconvenience. Whilst New Zealanders may cognitively recognise the risk COVID poses, emotional exhaustion has likely given way to rule-bending. This loss of life is a motivator to proactively maintain social distancing, stay home when unwell and uphold good hand hygiene.

“For those that have felt anxious about the reemergence of community transmission, this news may heighten their worry. Whilst COVID casualties are extremely sad, it is important people don’t extrapolate from the facts and catastrophise the current situation. To help manage their anxiety people can focus on what they control, acknowledge their thoughts and emotional reactions and utilise calming strategies like progressive muscle relaxation and exercise.

“Talking and writing are proven emotional regulation strategies. Stay connected and take time to rest and reflect.”

No conflict of interest.