The fifth wave of Covid-19 is ruining some Kiwis summer holiday plans, with 6558 cases reported to the Ministry of Health in the past week.

Amy MacLennan said she and her friends attended the Northern Bass music festival over New Year and weren’t thinking about Covid at all — but many tested positive for the virus shortly after.

“I don’t know if we got it from the festival, or if they brought it to it. But there was six, or maybe seven out of the 15 of us that got it,” she said.

Maclennan said it was “probably bound to happen” when sharing drinks and even lip balm among friends but the thought of contracting Covid-19 hadn’t crossed her mind.

“I am kind of shocked,” she said. “I know that sounds silly, because we’re all in such close proximity and certainly not social distancing at a music festival. But I am shocked because I just didn’t even think about it,” she said.

She said the only expense has been having to change her flights after the trip.

“It’s such a First World problem,” she laughed, “I had to go on Jetstar’s call centre helpline for a while so it sucked having to rechange my flights there and back.”

Nikki Turner from the Immunisation Advisory Centre said the figures of the disease within the community were currently “significantly under-reported.”

“When you look at hospital rates, they have been climbing dramatically since November now,” she said.

“We are hoping, in the last week or two, we’ve actually got to the peak and it may be decreasing — but it is too early to be clear,” she said.

Turner said she would “hope and expect” Covid-19 to fall into a winter seasonal pattern similar to other viruses but that hasn’t happened yet.

Pharmacist Lanny Wong.

While Covid-19 continued to turn holidays on their heads, funding of free rapid antigen tests (RATs) at certain pharmacies would also end on February 29.

Mangawhai pharmacist Lanny Wong described the supply of free RATs as “like giving away free condoms”.

“You’re just trying to do the right thing so giving out free RATs for people who want to do the right thing are able to do it,” she said.

“Certainly, for people who can’t afford it, it’s a way for them to access healthcare.

“If the free supply goes away, it’s always going to be the people who can’t afford it who will suffer the most because they won’t be able to afford the test.”

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