The long-term health burden of COVID-19: further justification for NZ’s elimination strategy

Thursday, September 24th, 2020 | Nick Wilson | 2 Comments

Prof John D. Potter*

This blog briefly surveys the emerging scientific evidence on the longer-term burden of symptoms and disease in survivors of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these symptoms point to damage in the brain and heart. These long-term harms add to the wide range of other reasons for Aotearoa/New Zealand to persist with its successful COVID-19 elimination strategy.

Continue reading

Weekly deaths declined in NZ’s lockdown – but we still don’t know exactly why

Friday, July 10th, 2020 | tedla55p | 6 Comments

Prof Nick Wilson, Dr Anja Mizdrak, Dr Jennifer Summers, Prof Michael Baker

The pandemic-related lockdown is possibly the most dramatic public health intervention in NZ history. It helped achieve the elimination of community transmission of the COVID-19 virus in NZ. But it was also associated with 548 fewer total deaths than for the same period in 2019. Death rates (per 100,000 population) were also lower in 2020 than the three preceding years. There are a range of plausible reasons for this reduction (eg, fewer road crashes, fewer circulating respiratory infections) but we still need precise cause of death data (available in the future) to make more informed assessments.

Continue reading

Monitoring and Forecasting the COVID-19 Pandemic in New Zealand Including the Successful Impact of the Lockdown

Friday, May 22nd, 2020 | tedla55p | 5 Comments

Dr Jaijus Pallippadan-Johny1, Dr John McDermott2, Rodney Jones1 and Michael Duddin1 (1 Wigram Capital Advisors, Auckland; 2Motu Economic and Policy Research, Wellington)

In this blog, we introduce our modelling approach to estimating the transmissibility of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic. We demonstrate the usefulness of the Wallinga model for the calculation of the effective reproduction number and show the major impact of the lockdown on containing the pandemic in New Zealand.

Continue reading

Why NZ should consider adopting “mass masking” as an additional step to speed elimination of the Covid-19 pandemic

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020 | tedla55p | 13 Comments

Dr Ling Chan, Dr Sophie Febery

Widespread public mask use is common in some Asian countries as a control measure in the current Covid-19 pandemic. There is some suggestive laboratory and epidemiological evidence of benefit for such mask use. Since the costs of mass masking are relatively low and there are no apparent substantial down-sides, it should be given serious consideration by the NZ Government to speed progress towards the elimination goal.

Continue reading

Science-informed policy: considerations in support of judicious, circumspect changes to Aotearoa/NZ alert levels during the COVID-19 pandemic

Saturday, April 18th, 2020 | Nick Wilson | No Comments

Prof John D Potter (Centre for Public Health Research, Massey University)

There are a number of characteristics of the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus and the COVID-19 pandemic that make deciding when and how to change the rules regarding lock-down and physical distancing less than straightforward. In this very brief commentary, these considerations do not include the pressures from those who are more concerned with the economy than with human individual, whanau, and population health.

Continue reading