Dr Nitasha Rimar, Dr Lucy Telfar Barnard, Dr Amanda Kvalsvig, Lesley Gray, Prof Michael Baker*
Masks and vaccination have a central role in minimising the health and economic impact of COVID-19, regardless of the long-term strategy we use against the pandemic. These interventions depend on both good performance and high population coverage. Here we update evidence on mask effectiveness and make the case that mask use needs to be universal in all indoor environments at Alert Level 2, including workplaces, schools, and high risk settings such as gyms.
Dr Amanda Kvalsvig, Dr Julie Bennett, Dr Jin Russell, Dr Jennifer Summers, Dr Leah Grout, Prof Michael Baker, and Prof Nick Wilson*
As much of the country moves down Alert Levels, children are returning to in-person learning with little or no protection against the potential spread of Covid-19 infection in schools. It is therefore critical that ventilation is improved in schools; it is often as easy as opening windows, but ultimately new standards and improved resourcing are required. Ventilation is a valuable protection that works well in combination with other pandemic control measures such as vaccination and mask use, with additional benefits for improving children’s learning and concentration.
Dr Jennifer Summers, Prof Nick Wilson, Dr Leah Grout, Dr Amanda Kvalsvig, Prof Michael Baker *
The first Delta-variant outbreak in the community brings a new challenge to Aotearoa New Zealand’s COVID-19 response. A Delta outbreak was in some respects a likely scenario given the high infectiousness of this variant and the emerging evidence that vaccines may be less effective at preventing Delta transmission compared with the original strain of the pandemic virus. In this blog we discuss public health responses employed in other jurisdictions in response to the Delta variant that may be beneficial in controlling the current Delta outbreak in NZ and strengthening NZ’s COVID-19 response in future.