Covid-19 was no black swan, but a paradigmatic black elephant

Friday, July 23rd, 2021 | carra86p | No Comments

Dr Matt Boyd, Syndicated from Adapt Research

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, everybody now knows that:

  • Warnings about pandemic disease had been touted for decades
  • Myriad organisations had called for increased health security funding
  • The world ignored all these warnings
  • SARS-CoV-2 emerged in 2019 with dire consequences

The fact that all these warnings were known, yet action was scant, remains difficult to comprehend. Although somewhat perversely, we even knew we would ignore the warnings. Psychological research has shown that these kinds of rare but devastating events are exactly the ones humans tend to overlook. As if to drive this point home, I noted in the news today that a resident of Westport (a New Zealand town flooded by a ‘1 in 100 year event’) even stated that he knew the area had flooded, but thought “the last one was it”.

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Hearing loss & social isolation – the silent burden

Thursday, July 22nd, 2021 | carra86p | 1 Comment

Charlotte Gordon*

Untreated hearing loss is a large direct cause of disability and is associated with increased risk of social isolation, depression and anxiety. Māori are at risk of greater unmet needs in hearing health care in Aotearoa New Zealand, which can contribute to greater inequities. This blog argues that significant changes are needed in order to increase access to hearing healthcare and to reduce the risk and consequences of social isolation.

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The alarms are flashing red: Five reasons to upgrade our Alert Level system before the next Covid-positive traveller visits a major city

Wednesday, July 14th, 2021 | carra86p | No Comments

Amanda Kvalsvig, Nick Wilson, Cheryl Davies, Carmen Timu-Parata, Virginia Signal, Michael G. Baker

Aotearoa New Zealand (NZ’s) Alert Level system worked well in 2020, but the Covid-19 landscape is changing and the system needs to change with it to keep NZ ahead of the pandemic.  In this blog we summarise our just-published recommendations for strengthening the Alert Level system and describe the benefits of an upgraded system: to better protect us from outbreaks, avoid lockdowns, help us transition to a post-vaccination future, support prevention of other respiratory disease epidemics, and uphold Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

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What’s the right Covid-19 risk to live with – an Australian perspective

Wednesday, July 14th, 2021 | carra86p | No Comments

Blog syndicated with permission from “The Pursuit” at Melbourne University, Australia

By Professor Tony Blakely, Dr Tim Wilson and Associate Professor Vijaya Sundararajan, University of Melbourne

As Australia looks toward opening its international borders, new virus modelling provides scenarios that can help us decide what’s the right risk to tolerate.

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The changing COVID-19 situation in Taiwan – what can NZ learn from Taiwan’s latest outbreak?

Tuesday, July 13th, 2021 | carra86p | No Comments

Jennifer Summers, Leah Grout, Michael Baker, Amanda Kvalsvig, Nick Wilson* (author details*)

We previously published an assessment of Taiwan’s extremely effective response to COVID-19 during 2020. However, a recent surge of community cases in northern Taiwan from April 2021 onwards has resulted in an increasing mortality rate, with large scale restrictions imposed to bring the outbreak under control.  This COVID-19 outbreak in Taiwan serves as a reminder to other jurisdictions, including NZ, of the threat posed by COVID-19 and its more infectious variants. We therefore recommend a range of short-term and long-term upgrades to NZ’s pandemic defences that we believe the Government needs to consider.

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