Those are good odds

Photo by dylan nolte on Unsplash

So, SARS-CoV-2 arrived in NZ yesterday, courtesy of a 60-year old NZ citizen who flew home from Iran via Bali. Apparently, some of my fellow Kiwis have lost their collective minds, with media reporting three-hour supermarket queues, bare shelves, and panic buying of tinned food and water. An Auckland Pak ‘n’ Save shopper helpfully commented, “I feel like I’m in a zombie apocalypse.

I am proud to report there are no apocalyptic queues for hand sanitizer and tissues in Palmy. Instead, we’re apocalyptically queueing for Lotto, which tonight reaches NZ$50 million (just over $30 million USD) aka what Jeff Bezos earns in 3.5 hours.

In NZ $50 million is the largest jackpot the prize pool is allowed to reach. This means it will go tonight to whoever has the closest numbers, which will probably end up being about 12 people splitting the pool.*

The prize cap – part of Lotto NZ’s social responsibility policy –  is so indomitably New Zealand. When Kiwis look at lotto draws from the  United States of $350,000,000  (which is not even that big) apparently we say to ourselves, “Nah, not for us, thanks.” When people like Trevor Cooper win $37 million social media comments are full of, “No one needs that much money.” Our national motto should not be ‘Onward’. It should be ‘You’re Not Special’.

Still, I am not complaining! I shall be benevolent with my 50 million. Odds of me catching SARS-CoV-2? Well, it has an estimated Ro of 2.8, so . . . too slim to count.  Odds of me winning Lotto tonight? 1 in 38,000,000. Comparatively, that’s a sure thing. Hell yes, I have a ticket!



*At least in NZ you don’t have to pay taxes on your win!


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