Potential Impact of an Omicron Outbreak: A Look at the IHME Modelling for NZ

Friday, January 21st, 2022 | carra86p | 1 Comment

Prof Nick Wilson, Dr Jennifer Summers, Dr Amanda Kvalsvig, Prof Michael Baker*

In this blog we summarise the results of modelling for an Omicron variant outbreak of Covid-19 in NZ by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation. This work suggests that in an outbreak that begins in January, the number of cases in hospital might peak at 2,790 (95%CI: 120 to 9,070) in early March 2022. Cumulative additional deaths might be 400 by 1 May, near the end of the outbreak (peaking at 10 deaths per day [95%CI: 0 to 50]). While there are various limitations and uncertainties with all such modelling, our impression is that this work is of high quality and should be considered by NZ policy-makers. But other factors, such as the social and economic disruption from such an Omicron outbreak, should also be important considerations in guiding preparations and preventive measures.

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Preparing for Omicron: A proactive Government response is urgently needed to minimise harms

Monday, January 17th, 2022 | carra86p | 2 Comments

Prof Michael Baker, Dr Jennifer Summers, Dr Amanda Kvalsvig, Dr Matire Harwood, Prof Nick Wilson*

In this blog we summarise how Aotearoa New Zealand (NZ) could improve preparations for a likely national outbreak of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 to minimise harms to health and the economy. The first urgent priority is to increase measures to delay the arrival of the Omicron variant to give more preparation time. We also need to consider an explicit shift from the current suppression strategy to mitigation. A clear mitigation strategy will favour adjustments to existing public health and social measures to ‘flatten the curve’ and minimise the risk of health service overload and social and economic disruptions.

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COVID-19, Christmas, the New Year and Summer Holidays: What the NZ Government and individuals can do to minimise the risks

Friday, December 17th, 2021 | carra86p | No Comments

Dr Jennifer Summers, Dr Amanda Kvalsvig, Dr Julie Bennett, Dr Lucy Telfar Barnard, Professor Michael G Baker*

As Aotearoa New Zealand (NZ) prepares for the upcoming summer holidays and Christmas celebrations, the impact of COVID-19 will surely be felt by all. In this blog we briefly discuss the two major COVID-19 threats that NZ will need to manage between now and the end of January: New Zealand’s domestic Delta variant outbreak and the growing international Omicron variant threat. Both require policy responses from Government and action from all New Zealanders.

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Key findings on smoking and e-cigarette use prevalence and trends in the 2020/21 NZ Health Survey

Friday, December 17th, 2021 | carra86p | 3 Comments

Richard Edwards, Jude Ball, Janet Hoek, Nick Wilson, Andrew Waa*

New Zealand Health Survey (NZHS) data released in early December suggest substantial reductions in smoking prevalence occurred between 2019/20 and 2020/21 among all ethnic groups. This blog describes the key findings, explores the data in more detail, and discusses how these changes may have arisen and their implications, particularly given the Government has now released an innovative Action Plan outlining how it will achieve the Smokefree Aotearoa goal.

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The cost burden of excess weight in New Zealand: Sizing up a new report

Tuesday, December 14th, 2021 | carra86p | 1 Comment

Professor Boyd Swinburn*

The latest New Zealand Health Survey results show a substantial up-tick in both childhood and adult obesity prevalence after plateauing for a decade. This is of great concern and it makes a new report from the Sapere Research Group on the Economic Impact of Excess Weight in Aotearoa all the more important. The report was commissioned by Hapai Te Hauora and it is a very welcome update on the two previous studies I was involved with using data from 1991 and 2006.

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