Children and young people and COVID-19: The urgent need for improved guidance in NZ

Thursday, August 27th, 2020 | tedla55p | No Comments

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Dr Amanda Kvalsvig, Prof Nick Wilson, Dr Amanda D’Souza, Prof Michael Baker

In this blog we consider the ‘Auckland August cluster’ in the light of the changing landscape of international evidence about COVID-19 risk for children and young people. The high proportion of Pasifika children and young people in the Auckland outbreak may be a preview of what an uncontrolled COVID-19 pandemic would look like in Aotearoa New Zealand. There is an urgent need to improve coordination of child-centred policy in the COVID-19 response with better Māori and Pasifika representation in decision-making at all levels. Immediate actions include mandating mask use for secondary-age children at Alert Levels 2 and 3 and encouraging primary-age children to make and use masks.

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NZ’s COVID-19 response compared to selected other jurisdictions: Australia, Taiwan and the United States

Wednesday, August 26th, 2020 | tedla55p | No Comments

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Prof Nick Wilson, Dr Jennifer Summers, Dr Andy Anglemyer, Prof Tony Blakely, Prof Michael Baker

Media discourse in NZ has involved comparing NZ’s COVID-19 response with a range of other jurisdictions, especially: Australia, Taiwan and the US. In this blog we update the data comparisons for these selected places. We find that Taiwan is the top performer with a cumulative death rate that is around 1800 times lower than the US’s (for NZ the difference with the US is 136 times lower). Taiwan’s high quality performance still holds a number of lessons for NZ with its ongoing response.

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Using a fun “Mask Day” at school to promote pandemic protection in the NZ community

Tuesday, August 25th, 2020 | tedla55p | 2 Comments

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Dr Ling Chan, Dr Sophie Febery, Prof Michael Baker, Dr Amanda Klasvig, Prof Nick Wilson

Whilst the New Zealand Government has recently recommended using face coverings or fabric masks as a strategy to contain COVID-19 pandemic virus transmission, the uptake of mask use in the public has been suboptimal. In this blog, we explore using “Mask Day” at school to promote positive public messages on masks, which may lead to increased public engagement of mask use within the wider community.

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Using the CovidCard to enhance protection from COVID-19 at the NZ border

Friday, August 21st, 2020 | tedla55p | No Comments

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Dr Tim Chambers, Prof Nick Wilson, Prof Michael Baker

Border controls are critical in preventing future COVID-19 outbreaks in NZ. In this blog we consider the recent announcements and cross-party support for the CovidCard’s use by border control workers and guests in quarantine and isolation facilities. We discuss how this is a promising move that should facilitate further improvements in border control protocols and efficient digital contact tracing.

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Reducing the health burden from contaminated drinking water in NZ: Opportunities arising from the new Water Services Bill

Monday, August 10th, 2020 | tedla55p | 1 Comment

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Dr Tim Chambers, Prof Nick Wilson, Jayne Richards, A/Prof Simon Hales, Dr Mike Joy, Prof Michael Baker (author affiliations*)

Increasing water-related health threats, notably the waterborne campylobacter outbreak in Havelock North, have highlighted failings in NZ’s regulatory system for drinking water. In this blog we consider how the new Water Services Bill might provide a framework to enable the new water regulator, Taumata Arowai, to oversee, administer and enforce new drinking water regulations. We also detail how addressing the upstream determinants of water-related disease burden is a far better approach than treating water that has already become contaminated. The COVID-19 experience also raises the benefits of consolidating NZ’s public health organisations into a single highly competent national public health agency, which may have implications for reform of drinking water safety.

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