Why NZ should consider adopting “mass masking” as an additional step to speed elimination of the Covid-19 pandemic

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020 | tedla55p | 13 Comments

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Dr Ling Chan, Dr Sophie Febery

Widespread public mask use is common in some Asian countries as a control measure in the current Covid-19 pandemic. There is some suggestive laboratory and epidemiological evidence of benefit for such mask use. Since the costs of mass masking are relatively low and there are no apparent substantial down-sides, it should be given serious consideration by the NZ Government to speed progress towards the elimination goal.

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Why eliminating Covid-19 is critical: Since more waves of infection, hospitalisations and deaths are inevitable for other countries until a vaccine arrives

Sunday, April 19th, 2020 | Nick Wilson | 17 Comments

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Prof Rod Jackson (Epidemiologist, Auckland University)

There are really only three ways that a population can beat Covid-19: (i) eliminate the virus and keep infected people out (the approach NZ is taking); (ii) allow a sufficient proportion of the population to get infected and become immune to re-infection so there are no longer enough non-immune people to allow the virus to spread (this is called herd immunity and is estimated to be at least half of any population for Covid-19); or (iii) develop an effective vaccine, which is the ideal way of achieving herd immunity. Given a vaccine might still be a long way off, NZ’s elimination strategy (if successful) is likely to avoid high numbers of deaths and the need for long periods of restrictions to suppress or mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

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Science-informed policy: considerations in support of judicious, circumspect changes to Aotearoa/NZ alert levels during the COVID-19 pandemic

Saturday, April 18th, 2020 | Nick Wilson | No Comments

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Prof John D Potter (Centre for Public Health Research, Massey University)

There are a number of characteristics of the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus and the COVID-19 pandemic that make deciding when and how to change the rules regarding lock-down and physical distancing less than straightforward. In this very brief commentary, these considerations do not include the pressures from those who are more concerned with the economy than with human individual, whanau, and population health.

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Covid recovery or sustainable transformation?

Friday, April 17th, 2020 | tedla55p | 2 Comments

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Ralph Chapman and Paul Blaschke* 

New Zealand faces momentous choices, crystallised by the Covid pandemic. Here we consider how we can shape policies and programmes to ensure that the recovery from the Covid lockdown provides an opportunity for a sustainable transformation of our society and economy, addressing the climate crisis and wider environmental and social goals.

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We need rapid progress on digital solutions to help eliminate COVID-19 from New Zealand

Wednesday, April 15th, 2020 | tedla55p | No Comments

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Dr Tim Chambers, Prof Nick Wilson, Prof Michael Baker

In this blog we discuss some of the emerging technologies New Zealand could adopt to support the country’s COVID-19 elimination strategy. We argue for the prioritisation of technologies to assist with contact tracing, border controls, early diagnosis and surveillance. These technologies present major benefits for the collective effort against COVID-19 and can also strengthen our preparedness for future pandemics. Nevertheless, they also present major challenges related to privacy, public acceptability and coordination that must be overcome if these innovations are to make substantial contributions to the pandemic response.

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