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Covid – time for red?

Written By: - Date published: 9:23 am, July 5th, 2022 - 68 comments
Categories: covid-19, health, jacinda ardern, uncategorized - Tags:

Covid death rate July 2022

As predicted by Jacinda Ardern a few months ago with the onset of winter the daily rate of Covid infections is increasing.  It appears that we are into a new wave of the virus.

And every day there is an announcement of more people dying while suffering from Covid.  The utility of the statistic can be debated as all that is required is for someone to die while being infected with Covid, rather dying from Covid.  But the numbers are still chilling.

Internationally our performance still stands out.  Our death rate is now lower than Taiwan’s but higher than Japan’s.  And it is significantly below that of other countries as shown in the above chart.

But the appearance of new variants BA.4 and BA.5 have caused further concern.  And the hoped for enhanced immunity from earlier infections may not help.

The Guardian has this description of the problems that the United Kingdom is facing:

If you thought Covid-19 was dead and gone, think again. Early signs indicate that the UK may be at the start of a new wave of Covid infections driven by BA.4 and BA.5 – while new data suggests these variants may have evolved to refavour infecting lung tissue, which could make them more dangerous.

So what can we expect in the coming weeks and months?

Although BA.2 continues to account for the bulk of UK infections, data from the Office for National Statistics up to 2 June suggests that Covid cases may be starting to rise again in England and Northern Ireland, driven by an increase in BA.4 and BA.5 infections. The trends were uncertain in Wales and Scotland.

If you thought Covid-19 was dead and gone, think again. Early signs indicate that the UK may be at the start of a new wave of Covid infections driven by BA.4 and BA.5 – while new data suggests these variants may have evolved to refavour infecting lung tissue, which could make them more dangerous.

So what can we expect in the coming weeks and months?

Although BA.2 continues to account for the bulk of UK infections, data from the Office for National Statistics up to 2 June suggests that Covid cases may be starting to rise again in England and Northern Ireland, driven by an increase in BA.4 and BA.5 infections. The trends were uncertain in Wales and Scotland.

Radio New Zealand has this description of local events:

New Zealand is facing a second wave of coronavirus infections as cases of the Omicron subvariant BA.5 spread around the country.

The Ministry of Health yesterday reported 4924 community cases of the virus and the deaths of 11 people with Covid-19, but the seven-day rolling average has grown to 6895, almost 2000 more than a week ago.

The BA.5 subvariant appears more transmissible and better at evading immunity than others and is expected to overtake BA.2 as the dominant strain within weeks.

University of Canterbury professor and Covid-19 modeller Michael Plank said infections could potentially hit a similar peak to the first March wave of around 20,000 cases per day.

“We can see in the genome sequencing data that this variant has been spreading much faster than the previous variant that we have, so it’s quite likely that this will lead to a significant second wave in the weeks ahead,” he said.

“It’s certainly possible that we could have a second wave that’s comparable in size to the first wave back in March, at least in terms of the number of cases.”

Plank said the number of infections among people over the age of 70 were already at an all-time high, as immunity from vaccination and first wave infections waned.

“Quite concerningly we’ve seen the biggest increase in older age groups, which is of course where the biggest risk of severe illness is,” he said.

While it was difficult to predict how long a second wave might last, Plank warned it could be a month or two.

It was predicted at the start of the pandemic that “letting it rip” would mean that the virus mutate.  And so it has occurred.

The Government must be contemplating a shift back to red to reduce pressure on the health system.  And one particular measure I think they should take is to make mask wearing at schools mandatory.

But this is not over and we are looking at years of various restrictions as we struggle to deal with what is a very pernicious virus.

68 comments on “Covid – time for red? ”

  1. Muttonbird 1

    This household is isolating. Sunday was day zero 🙁

    • lprent 1.1

      My father is isolating at home from sunday morning after having had some observation in hospital. (reminds me that it is time to call him again)

      I had some kind of bug over the weekend, wasn't covid according to the RAT tests. But was irritating and badly timed. We’re picking up on all of the variants of other bugs that we missed over the last few years as well as covid.

    • Patricia Bremner 1.2

      All the Best Muttonbird.yes

    • mary_a 1.3

      Hey Muttonbird (1) … you and your family take good care of yourselves in isolation.

  2. James Simpson 2

    I feel we are past time.

    Influenza numbers are pushing our health system to breaking point, and you get the feeling that due to self reporting our covid numbers are substantially higher than what is being reported.

    The move to red light should have come some weeks ago when things started trending upwards – not when we are at our mid winter peak.

    That said, it is not to late to save lives and I think we should be moving to red light immediately. Compulsory face mask wearing in public, and mass events should be banned.

    How much flu and covid was spread at Eden Park on Saturday night where 45000 people sat together without a mask in sight. Madness

    • Anne 2.1

      Sound advice James Simpson. Off to get a booster today. Then back to code red for me.

      • Tiger Mountain 2.1.1

        It is the sensible thing to do Anne. Unfortunately the white flag was raised with Omicron months ago by the Govt. No one likes this situation obviously, and it is increasingly becoming every person for themselves.

    • Tiger Mountain 2.2

      Flu vaccinations have run out in the Far North where I live according to the nearest Chemist–Doubtless Bay Pharmacy at Coopers Beach–and local PHOs have long been unable to take new customers due to lack of GPs and other capacity. So not looking good.

  3. PsyclingLeft.Always 3

    Yes…and I would really like more pushback on those fools still spewing out the Mis and Dis Information.

    Covid is NOT something to trivialise, ignore or lie about.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/470335/what-the-rise-in-omicron-cases-means-and-what-you-can-do

    https://covid19.govt.nz/prepare-and-stay-safe/keep-up-healthy-habits/

  4. Ed 4

    There were some excellent links to a couple of fritter threads on Dail Review on the 4th July.

    Bob Wachter and Dt Claire Taylor

  5. Bearded Git 5

    I'm in South Australia on holiday and mask usage in Adelaide and in rural areas/towns outside Adelaide is about 1%.

    SA was one of the states with tougher rules until the great re-opening so I guess masks are a goner in Oz.

  6. Chris 6

    Given the number of people walking around supermarkets without a mask we should be permanently in red so that we end up with something resembling a dirty khaki.

  7. Corey Humm 7

    I consider myself quite knowledgeable about the covid rules but I got red mixed up with 4, honestly I think we should have kept 1-3, everyone knows them, red just sounds so scary and confusing.

    Medically we should go to red.

    Politically, economically, societally absolutely not. Good God no.

    Politically, a year ago this govt was untouchably popular, then that never ending lockdown pissed everyone off and they've gone from a third term being a certainty and a probable 4th, to a probable defeat next year.

    They are going to have to fight like hell for a third term (and they are currently doubling down on everything people don't like), going into red would put an unpopular government front and center into people's lives and the last thing this government needs is the exposure of daily press conferences. They'd be lucky to get cunliffe levels.

    Economically, the PM is travelling the world begging for tourists and telling global audiences in countries with next to no restrictions, NZ is open for business, please come travel here. Going to red a couple weeks after going on American and Aussie tv and saying come to NZ would make NZ look unreliable and noone would risk spending money to travel to a country that says come here one week, go away the next.

    The biggest concerns to voters are cost of living, housing and inflation. COVID is old news to most. A lot of businesses can't operate at red, which means govt will be forced to have a relief package, which will put prices up. Only a kamikaze govt would do this.

    Lastly, societally, COVID restrictions have to have buy in, and they don't. People are over it. Go to a mall, you'll see 60% in masks 40% without. Further restrictions will divide people even more and double or even tripple the conspiracy squads numbers.

    Most people want to be at Green light, yesterday, putting more restrictions on the public wouldnt just be bad politics it'd just make society more unhinged.

    The government has spent the last two and a half years insanely involved in people's lives, the public want their lives back, labour saying we need to put further restrictions on you to save a health system that's going to collapse anyway isn't going to be popular, also it just seems like we're delaying the inevitable collapse.

    If you want more defiance, more anger, more protests, more unrest and a national/act government next year who promises to stay out of your life, go to red.

    If ya want to stay in government, or at least be a somewhat strong opposition, stay at orange.

    Id personally be ok with red. The public however, not so much.

    I'd rather not have a national/act government next year.

    • James Simpson 7.1

      The government's popularity or slide in the polls is more to do with the cost of living caused by imported inflation.

      Nobody likes COVID restrictions but I think the vast majority of people saw the need for them and will accept them again to save lives.

      The 1,500 deaths from COVID have left behind 1,500 heart broken and distraught families. We can stop this

      • Belladonna 7.1.1

        Nope. We saw in the last Auckland lockdown (with Delta – before the more infectious Omicron arrived) that lockdowns no longer work as a strategy.

        There is a percentage of people (and it's a growing percentage) who quite simply will not follow them. Call it what you please: Civil disobedience or selfishness – it doesn't matter. As a solution they self-evidently don't work to eliminate Covid and it's dubious whether they significantly slow Omicron down. Good heavens – you only have to look at the draconian measures being taken in China to see they don't work.

        Those who want to (for personal or family reasons) – and who can afford to – restrict themselves to 'red' are already doing so, informally.

        The current popularity slide is to do with cost of living – try a lockdown, and watch the ratings plummet into the basement.

        • DS 7.1.1.1

          The Auckland lockdown was actually effective. It basically ensured that the only people left with the disease were the criminal gangs (had it not got into the gangs it would have been eliminated altogether). Alas, the Government folded like a wet paper bag before it had a chance to burn through the criminal muppets who were keeping the disease alive.

          (Nor did the Government seem particularly keen on using the stick against aforementioned criminal muppets).

          • RedLogix 7.1.1.1.1

            The Auckland lockdown was actually effective.

            Against what? As Belladonna correctly points out above, the new Omicron variants are far too infectious for lockdowns to work. BA.5 seems like it may be twice as infectious as measles and utterly impossible to stop by any conventional measure tried so far.

            Besides Auckland is but one tiny fragment of a global population. Unless you were prepared to completely shut down all travel in and out of NZ into the foreseeable future – COVID in one form or another was something we were always going to have to confront. It was just a matter of timing.

    • weka 7.2

      one thing that is within easy reach: support the Greens, who are advocating for mask and ventilation tech. This doesn't harm Labour, and it can be framed proactively as protection rather than repression.

      • BAW 7.2.1

        Problem with this is that it appears too little too late. By the time you buy the air cleaner and get it installed you are already in Spring!.

        Masks work right now – but it is too late people are done with Masks.

        • weka 7.2.1.1

          It's a comms issue,

          Covid isn't ending by spring, we need the retrofit now for the medium and long term future as well. Also, new builds. Once we stop pretending that it will be over soon, we can address those things. Supporting the Greens is part of the shift in understanding and acceptance needed to adapt.

    • BAW 7.3

      Agree Agree Agree – people are DONE with COVID.

      It is knowing when to hold them and knowing when to fold them.

      The team of 5 million say no thanks.

      • weka 7.3.1

        Covid isn't going away, it's getting worse again, and there's long covid. Sticking our heads in the sand won't change any of that.

      • Shanreagh 7.3.2

        The team of 5 million say no thanks.

        As if the team of 5 million have any say in this at all – meaning we have Covid, it is with us and we can threaten it like an old man threatening a cloud and say we are past it……but……….

        This is a sad response but one held by many for whom mask wearing and keeping ourselves safe as a long term strategy has some how morphed into something that is denying our rights. The only thing that mask wearing and other safety measure is denying is Covid getting a foothold in us and exposing us to the effects of the infection and any long term effects.

        Another instance of cutting our noses off to spite our faces, and toddler-like, stamping our feet and saying we're 'done' with Covid, with mask wearing etc and we are quite prepared to lie down and die so we don't have to wear a mask.

        Such a sad day…..but what can we do? We're in it for the the long haul. We've had two long world wars, both of which lasted longer than Covid and already many have given up.

        To be utterly frank, how did we get to be a nation of such self absorbed wallies?

        • theotherpat 7.3.2.1

          the sickness is the attitude of….you are taking away my freedoms!!!….you are curtailing my rights to everything….i am the center of the universe……the poison set in 20 years ago….social media and generations who cannot see any truths beyond a glass screen…protect yourself and those you care about is all you can do….egalitarian N.Z is practically extinct with this gross neo-lib bullshit thats been going on for far too long. Selfishness and Narcissism { selfishness, involving a sense of entitlement, a lack of empathy, and a need for admiration} are the rule it appears…..i sincerely hope that when it does turn into a bucket of chit that we do come out the other side with some of the kiwi/human values that have pushed aside in fact i think history will show that mostly when bad shit happens folks tend to try to make a better world for everyone….fingers crossed.

          • Shanreagh 7.3.2.1.1

            Yes, you are right. I am reading 'Too much Money' by Max Rashbrooke with its critiques of Rogernomics etc. It changed society and also the people within society. Often we think of political systems and economic theories as being outside of us but I think the legacy of Rogernomics is that selfishness and graspingness became normalised.

          • pat 7.3.2.1.2

            Those reforms turbo-charged the existing attitudes…the question is how many desire the outcomes of the reforms?….as time goes by I'd suggest less and less, because as with all competitive societies eventually all goods gravitate to the most powerfull.

            Now that we are witnessing such, we will also witness the blowback…sadly (as Kalecki noted) it will not necessarily be a better world.

          • Just Saying 7.3.2.1.3

            It's really dangerous to cast pejorative assumptions upon those who disagree with you. It's even more dangerous to take it further and write a whole story about their reasons, and all without listening to their 'why'.

            The world is so polarised already. There is no chance to break the impasse if we all don't look at ourselves and gain an understanding of our own feelings and motives, but instead listen only to those who agree and project negative intent onto those who don't.

            • Shanreagh 7.3.2.1.3.1

              I am a bit perplexed by your comments JS.

              Are we not able to reflect on the worst that seems to be coming out/has come out the reasons why there is such a 'blowback' about items that are here to help society and not hinder it eg masks etc.

              No pejorative comments were made just discussion on the political regimes such as neo-lib/Rogernomics that has intense individualism at its core.

              Who are the ones disagreeing?

              • Just Saying

                The perjoratives I was referring to are from theotherPat, below.

                A very close family member died during the first lockdown. They died alone. We were ''locked'' out.

                I supported that initial lockdown and I still do.

                Even after NZ opened up we weren't able to have a funeral for a long time because of a series of accidents and disasters amongst surviving family. One was a hair's breath away from being fatal. It was however maiming.

                There is already evidence that lock-down measures that shut people away from each other for extended periods caused a greater number of non-covid deaths than the number of covid deaths they prevented. More such research will continue to come out.

                I can't say all the family catastrophes were related to this lonely death and complicated bereavement but I can speak to the way we were adversely affected beyond the ordinary processes of bereavement, and that the anti-depressant manufacturers made a did well out of our family as a result. I can cite a funeral celebrant saying that lockdown-delayed services were pure hell because of the effects on families. This is just one story. There are many more.

                And no matter what we do we can’t stop covid. Even China will abandon its measures eventually because sadly, they don’t work. We do, however need to make a concerted effort to care for and protect those who are vulnerable – without putting them or (anyone else) into extended solitary confinement.

                This issue is not anything like the selfish versus the noble.

                The perjoratives that I was responding to:

                the sickness is the attitude of….you are taking away my freedoms!!!….you are curtailing my rights to everything….i am the center of the universe……the poison set in 20 years ago….social media and generations who cannot see any truths beyond a glass screen…protect yourself and those you care about is all you can do….egalitarian N.Z is practically extinct with this gross neo-lib bullshit thats been going on for far too long. Selfishness and Narcissism { selfishness, involving a sense of entitlement, a lack of empathy, and a need for admiration} are the rule it appears…..i sincerely hope that when it does turn into a bucket of chit that we do come out the other side with some of the kiwi/human values that have pushed aside in fact i think history will show that mostly when bad shit happens folks tend to try to make a better world for everyone….fingers crossed.

                • Sacha

                  There is already evidence that lock-down measures that shut people away from each other for extended periods caused a greater number of non-covid deaths than the number of covid deaths they prevented.

                  Links? Sounds interesting.

                • Shanreagh

                  I don't think these are pejoratives but a frank assessment of the damage that Rogernomics/neolib outlooks has done and which make it correspondingly harder to motivate for the common good long term.

                  Many commentators, and I mentioned Max Rashbrooke, believe that egalitarian NZ, that was not as egalitarian was we might have believed, was given the final heave-ho during the time of the Neo-lib reforms. Hence also my comment about the World Wars.

                  One just has to read the poor hard-done by squawks from some about having to wear masks.

                  This mask wearing. social distancing part is easy compared with the hardships that many families (including yours by the sounds) had to face during the tough lockdowns needed to stop Covid in its tracks.

                  It is many many times simpler than many families had to face through two World Wars and one Depression. My grandmother had 5 of her sons overseas in WW2 & 4 returned, one remained in NZ and the oldest had been killed in France in the last months of WW1.

                  Readers will be aware of my long stated view that coat tailing on the Covid virus was another called the Moaning Minnie virus. This flew about causing grumpiness and almost non-stop moaning especially about measures that were designed to protect our population. I am only half joking when I mention this virus. I was and remain appalled at the moan, moan, moan about masks, about anything connected with well being and covid.

                  No cure but this song from Fred Dagg sometimes helps

                • Anne

                  There is already evidence that lock-down measures that shut people away from each other for extended periods caused a greater number of non-covid deaths than the number of covid deaths they prevented.

                  Thousands of lives were saved due to lockdowns and mandates during 2020/21 when the entire world was so vulnerable to the new virus. Of course there were plenty of deaths due to other causes. There always is. You're not thinking straight.

                  • Shanreagh

                    I share your skepticism Anne. Sounds about as relevant as the moaners who said childrens' lives would be forever blighted by having had to wear masks or see people in masks (?). When compared with the alternative of death if we had not locked own or masked up it is hard to accept that these sans mask/sans lockdown views have or had very much going for them either then at the time or now.

                    I think there have been posts on here about whether or not there is/was excess mortality throughout the Covid period.

                    It is significant that who ever raised this 'plucked out of thin air thought' has not been able to come back with a reference to a study/ies

                    People/the human race is supremely adaptable. People can get over or through all sorts of adversity.

                    • Anne

                      "People can get over or through all sorts of adversity."

                      Of course they can. Many people have experienced serious adversity in their lives but time is a healer and always will be. Those who cannot recover for whatever reason will need professional help and I concede that is currently difficult for some to access. Hopefully that can be remedied in the near future.

  8. Drowsy M. Kram 8

    Actively trying to avoid infection (let alone reinfection) with any variant of COVID-19.

    Why does COVID-19 cause ongoing health problems?

    Organ damage could play a role. People who had severe illness with COVID-19 might experience organ damage affecting the heart, kidneys, skin and brain. Inflammation and problems with the immune system can also happen. It isn't clear how long these effects might last. The effects also could lead to the development of new conditions, such as diabetes or a heart or nervous system condition.

    The experience of having severe COVID-19 might be another factor. People with severe symptoms of COVID-19 often need to be treated in a hospital intensive care unit. This can result in extreme weakness and post-traumatic stress disorder, a mental health condition triggered by a terrifying event.

    The time for general restrictions to protect public health may have passed (for current variants), but I'll continue to wear a good mask in all indoor public places. Also physical distancing where/when possible, and washing/sanitising hands. It’s 'personal responsibility common sense', and if, despite precautions, I test positive then self-isolation here I come.

    Second booster first thing yesterday morning (took Dad in too). Slightly sore to the touch around the injection site; came on about 10 hours after vaccination, but it's fading now, just like the previous three, and the flu jab eight weeks ago – the inconvenience was almost unbearable.

    Unite against
    COVID-19
    https://covid19.govt.nz/

    • joe90 8.1

      It's almost like people need to be reminded that Covid is an airborne viral disease whose most recent iteration is reported as being as contagious as measles and evades vaccines and any infection-acquired immunity.

      And that unless we pull our fucking fingers out we could well be setting ourselves up to endure mutation after mutation and wave after wave with no end in sight.

      • joe90 8.1.1

        Why we should prioritise the safety of the vulnerable.

      • joe90 8.1.2

        Read it, have a cry and mask up.

        Facing a new, grim reality

        So here is the uncomfortable reality the authorities don’t want to talk about but to which every citizen must pay attention.

        The pandemic is not over, and it will not likely end for years. It spreads through the air in aerosols like a viral smoke, in distances greater than two metres. The disease (a thrombotic fever) is not mild. Just one infection can destabilize your immune system and age it by 10 years. The risk of long COVID increases with each infection. Reinfections harm the immune system and increase hospitalizations and death even among the vaccinated. (Just watch the data coming out of England and Quebec now.)

        Meanwhile, the virus is now evolving at a rate faster than vaccine development (three waves this year alone). And the effectiveness of current vaccines are now waning. Mother Nature offers no guarantee that virus will evolve to a benign or endemic state this year or the next. Meanwhile human behaviour has increased biological risk instead of dampening it.

        In real terms “living with the virus” means living with a normalization of death, reinfections, long COVID, disruption and exhausted health-care workers. People would never vote for a deteriorating quality of life and risk, but that’s where public policy is now taking us.

        […]

        As one critic recently noted on Twitter, the world has divided into two groups of people: “Those who already realize that SARS-CoV-2 causes neurological, vascular and immune system damage… and that damage from reinfections is cumulative. 2) Those who are about to find out.”

        Or as José Saramago might have put it, “the only thing more terrifying than blindness is being the only one who can see.”

        To avoid the prospect of an accelerating pandemic and its related anarchy requires flexibility, steady collective action and courageous leadership. And by that I do not mean lockdowns but strategic actions aimed at stopping or reducing transmission of the virus. Reducing transmission is the only way to slow down viral evolution.

        There is no mystery to this approach. It means free N95 masks for the entire population and appropriate masks for children. It means installing proper ventilation and filtration (HEPA filters) in schools and workplaces, along with CO2 monitors. It means paid sick leave for the infected. It means transparent data collection and reporting so people can gauge the ever-changing risk in public spaces. And it means communicating the truth about this pandemic, which is by definition an evolving and novel emergency that requires our full attention.

        https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2022/07/04/Get-Ready-Forever-Plague/

        • RedLogix 8.1.2.1

          As I was saying two years ago, getting out of this event will prove a lot harder than getting in. Fundamentally COVID is a disease of living indoors, both ventilation and sunshine play a critical role in this pandemic, but we allowed ourselves to be seduced by the promise of lockdowns, vaccines and masks to solve the whole problem without considering the wider context. Well all they have done is delay the inevitable – perhaps even made it worse.

          And I still want to know what the CCP knows that they are not telling the rest of us.

        • Shanreagh 8.1.2.2

          Yeah/nah.

          'Been there done that got the old mask in the drawer to prove it'

          ' I always wear my mask under my nose when I do wear it or under my chin'.

          'But really it is much easier to forget it altogether…..

          ' or to let it fly away'

          'oops blue on the side of the road'

          /sarc or

          An ode to a guttered mask

          (Apols to Keats)

          sad

      • weka 8.1.3

        And that unless we pull our fucking fingers out we could well be setting ourselves up to endure mutation after mutation and wave after wave with no end in sight.

        Few willing to have that conversation yet, but if we have another five years of this and 20% of the population ends up not being able to work or being reduced in capacity for work, what then? This shit we should be planning for (and integrating into climate/eco action because there are significant intersections in mitigation and adaptation)

        • weka 8.1.3.1

          just seen your forever plague comment, so some people are talking about it, good.

  9. " Internationally our performance still stands out. Our death rate is now lower than Taiwan’s but higher than Japan’s. And it is significantly below that of other countries as shown in the above chart "

    Timely post Mickey.

    Yes and despite my recent criticism of the PM I can not fault her commitment and that of her colleagues in managing what would have been a serious loss of life had the Nasty Natz been in government.

    Covid is still an exitensentail threat which has not abated.

    Our complacency is the biggest danger and Kiwi's are winners when it come to that.

    • joe90 9.1

      A management meeting. People who should know better had traveled from across the region to meet maskless behind closed windows and doors in a purportedly well air conditioned room. But no co2 monitoring. Idiots.

  10. Muttonbird 10

    The problem New Zealand has is that high levels of protective measures early in the pandemic has resulted in a lot of vulnerable people, older and/or immunocompromised, being, y'know, still alive.

    Yay, right?

    When many other countries were either caught short, couldn't cope, or simply didn't care in 2020 and 2021, they left so many exposed that the bodies did indeed pile high. Those people are no longer around to bother the statistics that currently bedevil us.

    Here in New Zealand we have the 'problem' of still having to protect the many vulnerable people we didn't throw under the bus earlier.

    We've seen Covid deaths grow from 50 in January to over 1500 today, a 30 fold increase in just six months! That's what happens when you let it rip.

    • Belladonna 10.1

      The figures aren't quite that bad – the 1534 total is people who died (from any cause) within 28 days of getting Covid. It includes quite a hefty chunk of people who did not die from Covid, as well as a chunk of people who had a serious underlying health condition, and Covid tipped them over the edge (just as 'flu does just about every winter)

      From the Government website:

      Of the 703 deaths that have been officially coded as due to COVID-19, 18 occurred more than 28 days after testing positive. In addition, COVID-19 has been coded as contributing to 375 deaths. Of the deaths that occurred within 28 days, 320 have been ruled as not related to COVID-19 and 168 deaths are yet to be classified.

      https://www.health.govt.nz/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-data-and-statistics/covid-19-case-demographics#deaths

      Again, remembering that we had virtually zero flu deaths in 2020/21 – and many people who otherwise would have died, have survived another couple of years – but, of course, are still highly vulnerable to a respiratory infection (Covid or 'flu)

      NZ had 836 people die of 'flu in 2019, and around 3,000 from 'Diseases of the respiratory system' every year (can't be more specific over what that includes, since the stats don't give a useful definition or breakdown).

      https://minhealthnz.shinyapps.io/mortality-web-tool/

      Individual deaths can be a tragedy to the family – but Covid deaths aren't wildly outside the usual norms for NZ.

      • Anne 10.1.1

        It includes quite a hefty chunk of people who did not die from Covid, as well as a chunk of people who had a serious underlying health condition, and Covid tipped them over the edge…

        Yes, but Covid therefore contributed to their deaths so I guess that is why they are included. Some may have died anyway but others not.

        … Covid deaths aren't wildly outside the usual norms for NZ.

        If you are referring to the overall death rate from Covid, I would say the reason for that is because of the measures taken by this government to keep the death rate low. Had those measures not been in place (or it was left too late) then the rate would have been a great deal higher.

        • Belladonna 10.1.1.1

          No. I'm referring to the death rate from Covid compared to other causes.

          I agree that, without treatment, Covid rates and deaths would be much higher – just as would deaths from other causes.

      • Sacha 10.1.2

        Covid deaths aren't wildly outside the usual norms for NZ.

        If we are currently losing 10 a day, people can compare that with these official stats for themselves: https://figure.nz/chart/xfyh7HZYcWqcJ1n6

  11. Julian Richards 11

    Here we go again…

    -Wear a mask

    -Wash hands

    -Social distance

    -Get tested

    The three most basic steps. Amazing.

    • BAW 11.1

      If people would only follow basic health measures like

      • Eat well,
      • Stop smoking
      • Excersise
      • Medidtate

      They would live longer and happier lives. Every doctor has been asking people to do this for years.

      But people don't, and won't.

      Simply put right now if you are high risk your onwy choice is to go into a personal level 4 lock down.

  12. SPC 12

    The new reality since the omicron variant – re-infection is not prevented by vaccination or infection.

    Which takes us back to where this began (awaiting an omicron variant vaccine).

    But now we are all applying the Swedish model mark 2 (live with it, but have variations in managing the speed of spread – general rule greenlight summer, orange light autumn and spring and redlight winter peaks).

    However with growing awareness that beyond the long covid risk to some, infection ages the immune system and latest versions of omicron result in more hospitalisations (back to being a lung threat) we are in circumstance where there is growing awareness of this being a no way out scenario.

    Public health policy is going to have to focus on personal health – Vitamin D levels. zinc intake etc and building ventilation and the indoor mask mandate. And medicine to anti-viral treatments.

    Managing this in winter might involve rolling lockdowns (across society sector by sector).

    • weka 12.1

      there is growing awareness of this being a no way out scenario.

      I hope there is growing awareness. We're in a holding pattern at the moment, and we need to be thinking about the next five years and beyond.

    • Blade 12.2

      My Iwi (government funded) Covid 19 Isolation Kit has two bottles of Go Health Vitamin D and Zinc capsules. It seems even Iwi understand the importance of these nutrients, yet many doctors are still ignorant of this simple step anyone can take to boost their immune system.

      One other very important thing two doctors have told me: just because you are no longer testing positive for Covid after the symptoms have gone, doesn't mean you are out of danger. They have found many of their patients have dangerously low levels of oxygen in their blood. That could be fatal for some people.

      They suggest buying a cheap oximeter and getting to the doctor promptly if your oxy/sats dip below 95% for extended periods of time.

      As for the government. It's quite simple. If we go back to red, many will not comply. The government will definitely be gone at the next election with that scenario.

      https://www.chemistwarehouse.co.nz/buy/115983/anz-pulse-oximeter

  13. Sacha 13

    Infectious as.

  14. SPC 14

    If this is going to be around awhile and periodic rolling lockdowns (to slow spread, sector by sector in turn) we should be developing online education (year 1 to 13).

    The best teachers used to teach lessons – for each year and all subjects (starting in areas where we lack specialist teachers – maths, science, Maori) on line. This available for screening in teched up classrooms (big screen) with on-site teachers acting as support tutors) as well as for student devices (used when sick, or during lockdowns, or to learn in advance of the class level).

    This would help those (daytime) working to support family remain in education.

  15. Joe90 15

    While we're doing doom, gloom, and reinfection.

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