Kiwi in the US says claims the world has 'gone back to normal' and left NZ behind after COVID-19 are 'nonsense'

A Kiwi in the United States says claims the rest of the world is opening up amid the COVID-19 pandemic - while New Zealand languishes behind - are false.

Rosie Carnahan-Darby, a producer in the entertainment industry living in Los Angeles, says she's been seeing a lot of comments from New Zealanders saying the rest of the world has "gone back to normal" while we opt for lockdowns and tight restrictions.

But in a post on social media she said from her experience, things are still far from normal - with well over 1000 new cases of the virus in the city each day and myriad restrictions still very much in place.

"After spending 15 months in NZ, we have been back in LA for 6 months. I can count the number of times I have hung out with friends on the fingers of my hands," she wrote.

"Every morning I have to fill in a health declaration for the kids to go to school. They wear masks all day. At lunch they sit behind [perspex] 6 feet from their friends. They even wear masks in PE.

"When a tradie comes to your house, the first exchange you have is 'I am fully vaccinated, but even if you are, can you please keep your mask on as my son is not'. If my 11 year old gets COVID, he could not only get very sick, even with the safety precautions at school he could pass on to his unvaccinated classmates."

Carnahan-Darby says she and her husband, New Zealand comedian and actor Rhys Darby, do take their family out to dinner and gigs - neither of which are options for Kiwis at the moment - but they only feel comfortable doing so because there are mandates in place to stop the spread of COVID-19.

She says restaurants in LA are sparsely spaced and staff are all wearing masks, while gigs require masking and double-vaccination - "so you know the stats are working with you".

"Here in LA County you have to show vaccination certificates to enter venues, bars, restaurants, and you have to be vaccinated to attend school. If you cannot get vaccinated, many of these places will accept a negative COVID test from that day," Carnahan-Darby explained.

She notes there are still well over 1000 cases in LA most days, and they still wouldn't dream of taking their son Theo, who at 11 is too young to be vaccinated, on a plane - so claims things are "back to normal" are wrong.

"I guess we are living with COVID, but not with any kind of freedom that we had two years ago... So the idea that other governments are just getting on with it is nonsense. To an extent we are, but only for those who are fully vaccinated."

While New Zealand does have coronavirus protocols in place, they have largely succeeded in preventing mass COVID-19 infections and death.

Cases in Aotearoa peaked over the weekend at 206, a record-high here but still well below the vast majority of nations around the world. Just 31 COVID-19-related deaths have been recorded since the pandemic first made it to our shores.

Almost every nation in the world has COVID-19 restrictions of some kind in place, though some are significantly more relaxed than New Zealand's lockdown approach.

In many of the countries with few rules in place, cases are on the rise and an escalation in restrictions is being planned as a result.

In Denmark, which seven weeks ago lifted all coronavirus restrictions and declared the virus "no longer a critical threat", officials are now considering whether to reintroduce some rules as cases and hospitalisations spike again.

The Netherlands and Belgium, too, have reinstated mandatory mask-wearing following a surge in cases, while pressure is building on the UK to bring back some restrictions as cases build there once more.

In New Zealand, COVID-19 cases have been climbing - but as we inch towards our 90 percent vaccination target, restrictions will be relaxed.

Once each region reaches this target, they will move onto the Government's 'traffic light' system - a less restrictive version of the current alert level system that will reward the vaccinated with greater freedoms.