Comic featuring COVID-19 character calling Jacinda Ardern its 'most formidable foe' shared in Washington Post

  • 10/03/2023
"I barely managed 2500 kills countrywide".
"I barely managed 2500 kills countrywide". Photo credit: Getty Images / Andrews McMeel Syndication/G.B.Trudeau

A comic featuring an anthropomorphic COVID-19 character calling former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern its "most formidable foe" has been shared in The Washington Post.

The illustration on March 5 comes from cartoonist Garry Trudeau as part of the Doonesbury comic strip regularly featured in the famous American newspaper.

It shows a radio host speaking with "viral superstar COVID-19, the now-retired variant who first burst onto the stage in late 2019".

Asked who was its "most formidable foe", the COVID character replies: "No contest, Mark - it was Jacinda Ardern!".

It says that thanks to her policies "I barely managed 2500 kills countrywide".

"The lady kicked my ass."

However, the character goes on to say it got its "revenge" as the anti-vaxxer movement "made her life a living hell" and resulted in her leaving office.

When Ardern resigned as Prime Minister in January, she said she was doing so because she no longer had the energy to continue on.

"You cannot and should not do the job unless you have a full tank, plus a bit in reserve for those unplanned and unexpected challenges that inevitably come along," she said.

“Having reflected over summer I know I no longer have that bit extra in the tank to do the job justice. It’s that simple."

It was later suggested the abuse Ardern received as Prime Minister may have played into her decision. However, she's denied that.

Newshub revealed in February the number of threats against Ardern has grown significantly, with police involved in 60 last year, up from 50 in 2021, 32 in 2020 and 18 in 2019.

Many of those threats came during the Parliament occupation in February last year which was primarily in protest of vaccine mandate requirements.

During the occupation, many demonstrators showed a brazen dislike of Ardern and called for her to stand down. Some used violent expressions towards politicians.

Ardern told Newshub in December the protest was "one of the most challenging parts of the year".

New Zealand's COVID-19 response, at least in its first years, was seen as one of the most successful internationally, with one of the lowest excess mortality rates in the world, according to Otago University health experts.

The latest data from the Ministry of Health - published on Monday - shows New Zealand has had 2,228,291 cases of COVID-19 overall and 2548 deaths attributed to COVID-19.

According to the World Health Organization's data, New Zealand has had 52.839 deaths per 100,000 people.