So Aotearoa New Zealand finds itself in a situation where pretty well every other nation in the world has found itself repeatedly. We have now had four Covid waves. The first three were dealt with fairly quickly. This Delta wave is proving to be much more tricky.
In the case of Germany, which is one of the most advanced nations in the world and has some of the best health systems imaginable, they are now in their fifth wave. England is just finishing the effects of its fifth wave. On the scale of things Aotearoa’s first two waves were mere ripples.
National continues to claim that saliva antigen tests would have changed the result for us. How you may ask. By allowing an individual to purchase some testing kits, then muck up the result and it will be fine. And even if they conduct the test properly in every case they will stay home if the result is bad? I cannot believe how bizarre this claim is. The current problem is that Aucklanders have not been perfect in their respect of the border. Allowing everyone to self test and then trusting them to respect the result will not work. Believe me.
What is interesting is how the pandemic is rolling out compared to the Government’s modelling. Rowan Quinn at Radio New Zealand provided this graphic to show the Government’s modelling from late October. It predicted that today’s numbers would be 1,300 weekly infections, 74 in hospital and 15 in ICU. The actual figures yesterday were 1,253 new cases, 90 in hospital including four being assessed and 7 in ICU.
The modelling predicts a plateauing of new cases over the next two weeks.
The virus is clearly leaking out of Auckland. For those complaining about how difficult it was to get through the boarder the answer would appear to be not difficult enough. But the strict lockdown has played its part. Vaccination rates throughout the country have improved significantly although in poor and isolated areas not by enough.
And the vaccinations are clearly having an effect. We are not seeing the run away numbers that New South Wales experienced.
For those who still oppose vaccinations this sobering statistic from Health speaks volumes. Of 90 hospitalisations in Auckland the number of unvaccinated people were 50, partially vaccinated for less than 14 days were 9, partially vaccinated for more than 14 days were 10, fully vaccinated for less than 14 days were 2 and fully vaccinated were 9. The status of 5 were unknown. Given that Auckland is approaching 90% fully vaccinated status this is a stark reminder of the utility of vaccinations.
And for those who think that the local form of the vaccination mandate is extreme in Austria, where vaccination rates are lower than in New Zealand, unvaccinated individuals who are older than 12 are prohibited from leaving their homes except for basic activities such as working, grocery shopping, going for a walk or getting vaccinated.
The next couple of weeks could be tough. Hang in there everyone.
Update: from Rowan Quinn at Radio New Zealand this morning:
Latest modelling suggests Auckland’s Covid-19 outbreak is on track to reach a peak by the end of November – unless shopping gets in the way.
But there is a warning that some other pockets of the country may be in for a bumpy ride.
Te Punaha Matatini data modeller Shaun Hendy said case numbers were expected to get as high as 300 a day before tapering off in the current most likely scenario.
“That’s still a lot, but it’s better than some of the worse case scenarios where things don’t peak until December or January and then we see much worse case numbers,” he said.
But there was a strong caveat to the prediction.
It was still unclear what impact allowing shops to open at level 3.2 would have on case numbers – and whether that relaxation would cause people to break the rules more, Hendy said.
Under the more serious scenario, if the virus moved faster than vaccinations could take effect, cases could be at 1000 a day by Christmas.
But Hendy said vaccinations were going well in Auckland, and it was hoped the high rates might start to have an impact on daily cases numbers by the end of the month.
Fingers crossed …