Prof Nick Wilson, Dr Jennifer Summers, Prof Michael Baker*
In this blog we present hospitalisation data for Covid-19 suggesting that the numbers are now peaking across the country. To date, the peak burden of hospitalisations and ICU admissions in NZ has been lower than the peaks in Australia. Although various Covid-19 control measures are being de-escalated, we detail reasons why some controls need to be retained and even strengthened, and which we consider are most important to minimise harm to health and avoid burdening the health system.
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.
Dr Jennifer Summers, Assoc Prof James Ussher, Assoc Prof Nikki Moreland, Dr Leah Grout, Prof Nick Wilson, Prof Michael Baker*
Most COVID-19 testing aims to identify infected people. To date, Aotearoa NZ has relied almost exclusively on Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests (NAATs) for this purpose. However, Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) have a complementary role, particularly if COVID-19 infection becomes widespread. In this blog we briefly describe RATs, their performance, and how they could be used to further improve Aotearoa NZ’s COVID-19 response.
Prof Nick Wilson, Dr Julie Bennett, Dr Leah Grout, Dr Jin Russell, Dr Jennifer Summers, Prof Michael Baker
Despite some good progress, the persisting Covid-19 outbreak in Auckland still poses risks to health, social wellbeing and the economy. There is a need for accelerated efforts to ensure more rapid elimination of community transmission. In this blog we look at five critical measures to implement immediately, along with a range of other Covid-19 control measures that will help Auckland and the whole country sustain elimination in the medium term.