Dr Leah Grout, Dr Jennifer Summers, Prof Nick Wilson, Prof Michael Baker *
The 2020 Olympic Games were originally postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The delayed event has now opened, with the opening ceremonies held on 23 July 2021 and competitions scheduled to take place through 9 August 2021. In this blog we look at the situation in Japan, as compared to NZ, and discuss lessons for nations considering hosting large events with international attendees during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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”.
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.
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.