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Lockdown 4 – do we stay or do we go?

Written By: - Date published: 8:37 am, April 15th, 2020 - 147 comments
Categories: health, jacinda ardern, Media, uncategorized - Tags: ,

Here in Aotearoa we are heading towards the pointy political fulcrum of decision making regarding Covid-19.  And it looks like there will be a pronounced public debate about what we should do.

Matthew Hooton gave it away. For a while he has been adulatory about Jacinda Ardern’s performance. Yesterday he reverted to type.

Within the space of a very short time he suggested that Ardern was too late to impose a level four lockdown and that things were too stringent and would damage the economy too much, and that she should loosen things up.

Yeah, not harsh enough and too harsh. That takes a lot of chutzpa to suggest this but Matthew has never lacked this quality.

Simon Bridges repeated the approach this morning criticising the testing and contact tracing system yet at the same time saying the Government should go to level 3 although he was rather vague about what

And the rest of the media artillery are being brought to bear. Yesterday was full of reckons about the economy demands that we loosen things up and tolerate more deaths. This is a new variant of the we had to destroy the environment to preserve the economy line.

A group of academics achieved some media cut through criticising the Government’s approach essentially on the basis that victims were going to die anyway. Interestingly they have this shiny new website. Incognito has looked at some of the details in this post.

Others are urging more caution. The last thing we want to be is on a roller coaster where continuous lock downs are required as infection rates spike,

And the comparison being made is that Australia is just like New Zealand in terms of its response but easier, and at least you can get a flat white.

How do the stats compare? Australia does have about 5 times New Zealand’s population and about 5 times the infection rate.

Until yesterday the respective death rates were way out of sync. Regrettably now not so much so.

But Australia’s hospitalisation rate is way higher. And per capita comparisons are not relevant. What is relevant is how the disease spreads once it is introduced. And Australia’s performance is much worse.

From Mark Daalder at Newsroom:

Epidemiologist Sir David Skegg told the Epidemic Response Select Committee on Tuesday he finds Australia “a bit of an enigma, actually, because it’s certainly true that their number of cases notified, on a population basis, is very similar to ours. But actually that measure is probably the least reliable because it depends so much on testing.”

“If you look at the harder endpoints in terms of the occurrence of the disease, they have a lot more deaths than we do. It’s difficult to make comparisons there because fortunately, we have a small number, and you get into a small number problem. But if you look at hospitalisations – I just looked yesterday – Australia has got 378 people in hospital with Covid-19. And we have 15.”

Even taking into account the population difference, Australia has five times as many hospitalised Covid-19 cases per capita as New Zealand does.

Skegg also said while Australia has imposed less stringent measures, it is planning to be there for six months. New Zealand, meanwhile, is attempting to eliminate the virus in New Zealand over the course of a matter of weeks through stricter but shorter-lived measures.

The one big difference is that New Zealand is talking about eradication, Australia not so much.

And as pointed out by the legendary Siousxie Wiles there are other examples. For instance comparing New Zealand’s performance to that of Sweden’s suggest that a more relaxed approach may not be optimal.

And New Zealand’s population density being much higher tends to destroy the comparison. From Daalder’s article in response to academic Simon Thornley’s positive analysis of Australia’s performance:

“Thornley’s argument, that Australia is a suitable match due to similar population densities, doesn’t quite add up. New Zealand’s population density is six times that of Australia and is much closer to that of Sweden, Norway or Finland.”

Daily new infection numbers are lower than the numbers of those who have recovered. I am hopeful that with a bit more time and a tweak on the curve eradication is possible.

And we are getting to the three week point. Infections to date reflect the less intense social distancing measures under levels 2 and 3. The full effect of the level 4 lockdown will not be known for another few days.

There will be a vigorous public debate about what decision Cabinet should make next Monday about the status of the lock down. For me if we have a reasonable chance of eradication I think we should go for it.

147 comments on “Lockdown 4 – do we stay or do we go?”

  1. Heather 1

    We are making good progress, I believe we should continue for another few weeks, to be sure. I saw a survey last evening, New Zealanders overwhelming in their desire to do it once in stage 4 and do it well.  They do not want to go back.

    The Government are doing an excellent job. They do not need dogs and puppies barking and yapping from the sideline. We need to work on this together and have confidence in the plan.

    • Enough is Enough 1.1

      I think people calling for us to stay in Level 4 misunderstand what Level 3 is. Lets revisit that

      "Level 3 Restrict

      Heightened risk that disease is not contained.

      Risk assessment

      • Community transmission occurring OR
      • Multiple clusters break out."

      That is where we currently are. So next Thursday we should without doubt be moving to Level 3.

      If we don't move to Level 3, then the levels created by the government have no meaning.


      • Enough is Enough 1.1.1

        And just to contrast that with the definition of Level 4

        "Level 4 Eliminate

        Likely that disease is not contained.

        Risk assessment

        • Sustained and intensive transmission
        • Widespread outbreaks."


        • lprent

          Umm – you're completely wrong. Actually more muddleheaded because you're apparently making up your own spin on what an outbreak is defined as.

          We still have widespread 'outbreaks' – they are the clusters. That is what the medical faternity will be looking at because it shows the funnelling of community spread.

          The number of largish outbreaks kept rising in the last two weeks. We are now out to 15 clusters, and still rising. That was 13 clusters before the weekend. A week or so ago it was something like 5. The clusters account for a very high proportion of all known cases. And as you can see from the next link, they are still adding known cases to them – indicating further uncontained spread.


          You'll note that we're still developing cases off these clusters. And when you look at the detail, the clusters are widespread.

          At this stage opening up the lockdown will likely cause further clusters to arise.

          • Enough is Enough

            I bet you a lazy tenner we are at level 3 by the end of ANZAC weekend

            • lprent

              When is ANZAC weekend? Can't be bothered looking it up. April some time?

              I suspect we may have an easing on the level 4 restrictions back to a '3.5' level on the 24th. Just another widening of essential industries.

              For me the essential missing information is threefold.

              1. We don't know how fast and well the full contract tracing is going. But it appears to be in the order of  4-5 days. That needs to improve dramatically if that is the case.
              2. The turn around time for viral tests appears to be between 2-5 days from taking the test to receiving the results – from what people has said in public. The is too long to prevent outbreaks.
              3. We don't have a viable antibody test available (and most worldwide appear to be not very effective), which limits the community spread assessments.

              The 'cost' of wider outbreaks in our dense urban environments will be too high. 

              This is a disease that appears to have evolved for high density populations and strong immune responses amongst bat colonies. It shows in its spread characteristics. 

              It doesn't matter how the concentration happens – meat packing plants in South Dakota or New York or a wedding in Bluff. The disease is good at embedding itself in populations and has a habit of accidental killing in its new host population – us.

              It also has some characteristics that are deeply worrying. The loss of taste and smell amongst its symptoms indicates it gets across the brain blood barrier causing brain inflammations as well as lung. Think polio as a bad example. And there has been reports that rapid reinfection does appear to be possible in recovered patients – that really really needs to be proven or disproven. We simply don’t know enough about this disease yet.

              • Enough is Enough

                Next weekend.

                We will find out in the next 48 hours exactly what level 3 looks like, but I think it is blindingly obvious from the respective risk assessments that it will be very similar to level 4.

                Some businesses will reopen, but for the majority of us we will still be at home.

                Anybody who thinks that a move to level 3 will mean they can pop down to the cafe to get a flatwhite, or catch up with the boys at the pub, is wrong.

              • weka

                "And there has been reports that rapid reinfection does appear to be possible in recovered patients"

                Are they thinking reinfection or relapse?

                  • Incognito

                    Whoever wrote that article in the NZH did a poor job and probably just copied it from Twitter 🙁

                    This article is a preprint and has not been certified by peer review [what does this mean?].

                    Here’s the link to the study: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.11.036855v1

                    Heating @ 60°C for one hour reduced the viral titer by more than 100,000-fold as did heating @ 56°C for 30 min. Heating @ 90°C for 15 min gave a reduction of greater than a million-fold (> 1,000,000).

                    The COVID-19 virus is an envelope RNA virus and contains no DNA (its genome is a strand of RNA); the envelope is made of lipids (fats), which is why washing with soap is (so) effective.

                    • Forget now

                      Preprint means edited and sent out to peer reviewers. A bit like "patent pending", where the process is in progress so no one else can claim the work, but not yet formalised. 


                      Also most academic journals have a set monthly or quarterly publication date. Rather than wait for that length of time before their work can inform the scientific discourse, researchers will often circulate preprint manuscripts online. 

                    • Incognito []

                      Sure, but neither “under review” (or “submitted”) nor “patent pending” means that it will actually get over the bar and meet the threshold for publication or patent award, respectively. In the NZH piece it was referred to as “a new peer-reviewed study published on Biorxiv”, which is bollocks, it even says so in the article to which I linked.

                      Many journals publish papers ASAP online (AKA e-publication) as soon as it has been approved by reviewers and editors. Indeed, it can take a long time before it gets to appear in a final volume/issue with page numbers; “accepted for publication” is the gold all authors are after 😉

                      In any case, I thought that study was pretty lightweight; it would have taken a couple of weeks, at most.

                    • Forget now []

                      Well that's how it was when I was doing post-grad. But that's more than a decade ago now I think of it. Things were going online and you hardly ever touched a physical copy of a journal even then.

                      Actually, my contempt for the entire academic journal scam was a large part of my reason for dropping out of research science. For supposedly clever people, scientists can be remarkably easily manipulated by people whose motives are dishonest. 

                    • Incognito []

                      I used the word “gold” but it is more like “blood”; publish or perish. It has been rotten for years but with the shift to online publishing things have got worse, much worse. Plus the eternal battle for survival in chasing funding for research. It is pitching scientist against scientist in a sudden-death competition for money that doesn’t keep up with ordinary inflation. It’ll be interesting to see whether the Government is going to put more or less money towards research after this pandemic and where the money will go. Epidemiologists and vaccinologists are already jostling vying for pole position.

                • SpaceMonkey

                  Reactivation was the word I saw used. But I think they're still working out whether it's reinfection or reactivation.

          • Incognito

            You'll note that we're still developing cases off these clusters. And when you look at the detail, the clusters are widespread.

            At this stage opening up the lockdown will likely cause further clusters to arise.

            That’s how I see it too.

            Containment of these clusters will be critical to easing the Alert Level. It might mean putting those cases in full quarantine for 14 days in a few centralised facilities. This will be very tough on those patients and their immediate families but no different from Kiwis arriving at our borders. The elderly patients are the most difficult ones in more than one way.

        • Andre

          In the context of a fast-evolving novel disease outbreak with new information coming thick and fast, do you really think it's a good idea to get hung up about the exact meanings of loosely and vaguely worded definitions drafted in haste a month ago?

          • Enough is Enough

            My point is people seem very concerned about moving to Level 3, without event turning their mind to what Level 3 is.

            People are saying ridiculous things like we need to have no new cases for a period of time before we move out of level 4.

    • woodart 1.2

      good post. if anything gov should be going to level five. thats where all sideline experts are used as test dummies for all and any possible vaccines, even ones dreamt up by the sideline experts friends. this level five will obviously be extremely successful in more ways than one would immediatley think, a possible successful vaccine could emerge out of this , if not, it will give the rest of us a good laugh.

  2. Treetop 2

    A revised up to date level 3 is what I need to see before deciding. Probably a level 3.5 I would be in favour of.

    If in doubt keep it as it is for another two weeks. The least cases, the least spread, the greater chance of having access to treatment. I do not think Covid-19 can be eliminated. Eliminating transmission is all that can be done.

    Contact tracing needs to have a quicker process. Also anyone re-entering the country makes me jittery as they are a potential Covid-19 case.

    • Forget now 2.1

      I think I suggested this somewhere yesterday on OM, but rather than go with level 3.5, we actually need to do the opposite and expand the system to level 5. We would remain unchanged on level 4, but there is an important psychological difference between being at an extreme of a continuum than a midpoint.


      We on TS tend towards the extremes in our views (and sometimes will state a position more extremely than we feel to see what others' response to that is). But most people are (almost by definition) not extremists.  While I personally will be maintaining level 4 patterns of behaviour regardless for some time, I can see why others might regress to the mean.

      • Treetop 2.1.1

        I to want to maintain a level 4 pattern for the good of the community and that me personally staying at level 4 is what is best for my health.


        I want a bigger bubble to include seeing my grandchildren, they are the best medicine, but can be a transmission risk once back at school. I also need to go shopping for a lot of winter clothing. Remaining at a strict level 4, I am unable to do it long term.

        • Forget now

          Winter clothing (and bedding) plus heating is becoming a real issue down south. I am lucky in having the space to store clothes season to season, but for those who only own a couple of changes of clothes that's got to becoming a real issue. Also kids grow so fast that year old clothes are often unusable anyway.


          But if the Warehouse (who tried it on before) were to be added to the list of Essential businesses, then that would make maintaining level 4 lockdown more sustainable. Though of course, the Warehouse is too expensive for a lot of people who get their clothes at op-shops.

          • Treetop

            I live in a cold part of the country at night.  I need proper wool in all outer clothing, hats, gloves and socks. The op shops is where I get the best stuff.

            All bedding has to have wool as well.


          • weka

            Haven't looked to see how widespread this is, but some online sellers are offering freight free. I'd rather see our online shopping systems streamlined and strengthened, and perhaps 'essential' expanded, rather than opening stores.

            The opshop one is a really hard one to solve though. Making non repayable WINZ grants available would help, but WINZ probably can't manage that logistically. Maybe a lump sum cash payment to CSC holders?


    • Ad 2.2

      Yes we have  been in preparation for a Level 3+ for some weeks now, and have been getting good advice from MoH and our DHB's throughout.

      We are ready to get back to it next week.

      I think going for a lower level of disease is possible, but not eradication. We could wait for a vaccine to go through the whole population, and have the most outstanding border controls, but there will be hybrids of this virus that will re-emerge.

      What we're going to need is some redundant capacity in our hospitals: there will be another one. It will be at least as bad. We need some sterile wards with oxygen capacity that won't be sued for a few years – and then we do.

      • Treetop 2.2.1

        People are staying away from ED and GP clinics and medical labs. Covid -19 testing is being done from cars and in tents.

        Elective surgery and hospital out patient appointments have been put on hold during the level 4 lockdown.

        Is it just me or do other people feel that there are places which they will avoid going to, to prevent being exposed to Covid-19?



        • Carolyn_Nth

          Yes.  But it's a toss up some times.  With my throat issue, likely strep throat, I first was happy with a phone consultation.  The prescribed antibiotics didn't cure m throat. I then asked for an in person consultation at my GP's because, I felt a hswab would be necessary.  

          More importantly the alternative may be hospitalisation.  I was told that in the past when antibiotics didn't seem to be working to clear strep throat. I would rather go to my GP than hospital.

          Many people are avoiding GP etc when they may be endangering their health by staying away.

          The GP who did the face-to-face consultation was in full PPE, and I was assessed and swabbed outside the building in a screened off area int he car park.

          Phone and video consultations cost as much as an in person one.

        • Ed1

          It's a side issue from the overall direction of the post, but I had heard that private hospitals were going to undertake some elective surgery to deal with the most urgent cases in the waiting lists – presumably that has not been possible in Level 4 . . .


        • weka

          I would trust going to a medical centre way more than going to a supermarket.

      • Gabby 2.2.2

        Why would you think that? Quarantine for all arrivals and all infectees.

        • Treetop

          Maybe I am being too cautious. The majority of cases are from people re entering the country and from known contacts.

  3. Forget now 3

    Were we ever even at level 2? My recollection is that we started at level 3 on Monday the 23rd of March, then went straight to level 4 on Wednesday the 25th. You have to admit that there is a very ad hoc feel to the process, and certainly no pre-pandemic drills to prepare the population ahead of time. An invisible enemy is hard for many to visualise.


    People naturally want to know why we should continue the pain of physical distancing, and after years of Key's mob's lies are understandably unlikely to believe any politician. Plus exponential growth curves are a bit counterintuitive to those who have always got by on their common sense (or unthinking prejudice – depending on your perspective). Political commentators seem more important to us than the general population.


    To counter the anti-lockdown voices, maybe what is needed is a bunch of celebraties  and sportspeople to endorse it on social media (maybe TV too, but that's pretty irrelevant these days – though maybe not to everyone)? Their public personas would be unlikely to endure being perceived to be leading others to their deaths, so they would have incentive. 

    • Ardern announced going to level 2 on Saturday 21 March – "New Zealand has been moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2".


      Then we moved to level 3 on Monday 23 March "That’s why Cabinet met today and agreed that, effective immediately, we will move to Alert Level 3 nationwide."

      Then "After 48 hours, the time required to ensure essential services are in place, we will move to Level 4."

      This was adjusted to take effect at 11:59 pm on Wednesday 25 March.



      • Forget now 3.1.1

        Ta for that PG. Though the difference between going straight to level 4 and spending a couple of days each on the levels 2&3 is unlikely to obscure the infection rates much as the OP suggested.


        11:59PM on the 25th really is the $9.99 of timings. I'd say ten dollars, so that's really level 4 starting on Thursday the 26th!

    • observer 3.2

      " People naturally want to know why we should continue the pain of physical distancing"

      They need to know that physical distancing is here to stay. Regardless of level 4, 3 or 2.

      I don't think that message has got through.

      • Forget now 3.2.1

        Okay "…pain of extreme physical distancing" then. I personally am quite keen to spend time with my lover in a way that is quite the opposite of physical distancing! Texting on the phone isn't really quite the same as cuddling up together. Such visits would be allowed under the lower level restrictions.


        Also, the; grandchildren craving, that Treetop mentions above would be possible to sate.  In fact any general whanau maintenance should be possible – families don't just hang together by themselves! It takes a lot of work behind the scenes to juggle all the conflict and history. As my kuia used to say; "a family is like a garden;  sometimes it has to be fed and watered, other times it has to be pruned".


        Humans are social animals (storytelling apes I think Pratchett put it), removing them from society does bad things to their heads. That's why solitary confinement is nowadays regarded as torture – what comes out of the box may not be the same as who you put in it!

    • Grantoc 3.3

      Forget Now

      Are you really suggesting that 'a bunch of celebraties and sports people' endorse the lockdown?

      Speaking for myself and for those around me, that will be as motivating as having a bucket of cold sick poured over me. It would have no credibility.

      I think the authorities tried this earlier, with a bunch of celebraties prancing around doing I'm not sure what, but I notice it's been dropped (or at least I haven't seen even evidence of it recently).

      The only other piece that I saw in relation to this idea and which looks like it might be repeated is Hillary Barry on tvnz doing what seemed to me to be a sychophantic propaganda piece for the government a week or so back. God forbid I think she has something similar lined up for later this week.

      • Forget now 3.3.1



        I assume you are same then, so will be respond to reason.



        • weka

          Fn, if you delete the blank spaces in your comment before you post, including the space at the bottom of the text box, the white space won't turn up on the front end.

          (haven't forgotten about the email).

          • Forget now

            Thanks Weka – I was thinking maybe a timeline of Pandemic preparedness preparation in NZ from the SARS-COV-1 Pandemic of 2002 to present day might be a useful reference tool for the site? The problem is making a diagram to accompany it; I was thinking a bar graph done in Open Office spreadsheet. Though it's been a while since I have used that.


            I was typing the above 3.3.1 in a supermarket queue and pushed send when before I lost my chance at the door. So not much finesse there. Supposed to read:


            "I assume you are sane then, so able to respond to reason [rather than manipulative appeals to ingroup identity validation]."


            Sane not same – Autocorrect!

          • The Al1en

            The double spacing is also unnecessary. 

            • Forget now

              I guess no one else does it as much, but not always unnecessary. But yes, probably irritating for others to scroll past.

              I am not so used to typing anything but texts on my phone, so easily fall back on old habits. At least I am not using emojis! I should probably use the laptop more, but I do like to pace around while brimming with the energies that compel me to comment.

  4. Cinny 4

    Standing in line at the supermarket yesterday I heard people full of praise for the PM.

    As for moving out of lock down, I'm going to listen to the PM and the professionals, they know what they are doing.

    In the end it's a choice between money and death.  And lets face it some prefer money over everything, those are the voices I won't listen to, such as the likes of simon etc.

    • Enough is Enough 4.1

      The Burger King workers are some of those who right now prefer money….

      • Tiger Mountain 4.1.1

        BK parent company is Blackstone Group, a US private equity firm. It is not cash poor, it likely sees chances for “shareholder value opportunities” elsewhere.

        The international food industry is riddled with these vampiric outfits that get into leveraged buyouts, suck out as much capital as they can, and move on, leaving the franchise holders and workers to cope–or not–with the resulting wreckage.

        • Enough is Enough


          Its not the rich who will suffer through a prolonged lockdown. Its the workers that they fire to protect their wealth.

          • lprent

            They are also the people who suffer the worst effects of any disease outbreaks as well. Have you factored that into your thinking?

  5. Observer Tokoroa 5

    Mr Hooton's Hatchet

    Mathew,  having partially praised a statement or two from normal persons, always returns slovenly to the national college of misleading slugs –

    Given any topic, he ends up nestling into Paula's sweet face, and Simons incoherent stutters.

    You see, Hooton slashes the normal people of New Zealand. And sniffs around the not very able Politicians in corrupt National.  The same people that built only one house in nine (9) years.

    The same people that let loose the savage scavaging ratbag landlords.

    Hooton has achieved Zilch. He gets very aggressive at times. Very Virulent. Unsteady

    He plays the same silly game over and over.

    • tc 5.1

      Little Matty Huckster sings for his super as always. Doesn't bother him his rantings come across as disingenuous as he's not that good as an actor.

      A great time for the humane approach to be taken over the bottom line dollar approach that national and their media poodles were always going to demand sooner or later.

    • aj 5.2

      Kathryn Ryan stepped in to seperate Mills and Hooten just when it was getting interesting yesterday. Pity. She should have just let Mills go at him.

      • tc 5.2.1

        Hooten's overstepped many times and she mostly lets him go but funny when he's about to be owned in steps mummy Ryan.

        yet another ineffective RNZ host not letting the shillsters burn their fingers playing with fire.

    • ianmac 5.3

      Hooton recently declared that if the Level Four was lifted but then reinstalled it would be catastrophic for the economy. So now he is advocating "…things were too stringent and would damage the economy too much, and that she should loosen things up."

      Are the risks from loosening up greater or lesser for a return to Level 4?

    • patricia 5.4

      Yes,  Observer Tokoroa,  I have heard Mathew Hooten in hysterics at the idea of a possible Labour led Government.  It was on Kathryn Ryan's show.  She remonstrated with him quite sharply.  That was ahead of the last election,  so his behaviour is not new.

  6. AB 6

    The right's attack lines are becoming clear:

    • "Australia got it right". i.e. Jacinda is just another left-wing authoritarian, nanny-statist, and don't forget Helen Clarke (sic) and the light bulbs. 
    • "put John Key in charge of the recovery". i.e. National are superior economic managers 

    The transparency  of it would be  laughable if there weren't so many supportive media mouthpieces repeating these  lines. 

    More seriously, Australia's 5x hospitalisation rate is strange: 

    • Are they hospitalising people who are less sick? Seems unlikely – I'd imagine clinical protocols were similar in both places.
    • Is the affected demographic in Australia older than here? Again seems unlikely, in both cases the primary vector was returning travellers who tend to be younger, except for cruise ships.
    • Are they under-counting their total number of cases? Seems the most likely explanation at the moment. That would mean that Australia is sitting on a slow-burning disaster with potential for second and subsequent waves of infection. Also it would mean that eradication is now impossible there, while it remains a possibility here

    A cautious move to a reasonably tight level 3 after Anzac weekend is probably what should happen – unless something totally unforseen occurs with the numbers.

    • Koff 6.1

      I think the higher hospitalisation rate in Oz is related to the much higher percentage of infected cruise ship passenegers that Australia had – 600 of the Ruby Princesss cruise ship that docked in Sydney mistakenly eventually proved positive. The fiasco in the two Burnie hospitals in NW Tassie are also (probably) related to a docking by the Ruby Princess. Most, if not all, cruise ship passengers are in the older and more vulnerable group and older Aussies like going on cruise ships ….pehaps not any more! Incidentally, I would have called the isolation procesures here in most Aussie states somewhere betwen 3 and 4, not relaxed at all.

    • lprent 6.2

      Looking at this disease I suspect that eradication is unlikely.

      But setting up the systems to control it is possible. However we are clearly not up to scratch on the contact tracing yet.

      • AB 6.2.1

        I fear you are right. It does seem to be extremely infectious and the contact tracing of new clusters has to be exceptionally quick off the mark, comprehensive and accurate. Plus we will need to retain physical distancing for a long time.

    • New Zealand is slightly more urbanised than Oz which tends to mean more Covid cases. See:


      Australia is massively bigger and has many far flung non-tourist/traveller communities that are unlikely to have been much affected much by Covid. Again this helps their virus figures versus ours.

  7. dv 7

    This is a marathon, not a sprint.

    If we go out of 4 too early we might loose all the good work done so far.

    • Enough is Enough 7.1

      What is wrong with moving to Level 3? That is where we currently are.

      "Level 3 Restrict

      Heightened risk that disease is not contained.

      Risk assessment

      • Community transmission occurring OR
      • Multiple clusters break out."
    • patricia 7.2

      dv, @ 7 Totally agree and this is Jacinda's current stance as well.

  8. Sanctuary 8

    I would like someone to ask Simon Thornley who is paying Blackland PR to run the campaign against the lockdown.

    If it is, just to speculate, his employers at the University of Auckland (who we know were strongly opposed to closing the borders because of the revenue loss and whose management culture is now a neoliberal outlier) then a public institution attempting to subvert government policy via hidden funding of a PR camapign in the middle of a pandemic is surely a major scandal.

    • Tiger Mountain 8.1

      Agree. In a for profit education setting, academics with contrarian positions presumably do not just widely appear mid Pandemic because they had nothing better to do. There are controls over what University of Auckland staff can say publicly–so Mr Thornley is supported by ‘someone’ when making his rather heartless contributions.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 8.2

      " I would like someone to ask Simon Thornley who is paying Blackland PR to run the campaign against the lockdown. "

      That is very interesting – how do you know this is happening?

      I see Blackland PR appears dodgy to me – driving the interests of their corporate sponsors at the expense of society and the environment.


      • Sanctuary 8.2.1

        Blackland won't be cheap. It has taken the Thornley is clearly the chosen useful idiot for  someone or group to run a disinformation campaign to get the lockdown lifted. The most likely funders are right wing business interests who see the COVID-19 lockdown as an infringement on their unfettered right to make money.

        The people who have engaged Blackland are clearly to gutless to attack the government directly, so this is their chosen path – the usual assortment of useful idiots, astroturfing and PR. 


        The correct government response is to use state security organs to find out who is funding this, and  leak the names. Let the public see where peoples loyalties lie.

        • Forget now

          Okay Sanctuary, I get that Blackland's interference in the country's Pandemic response is despicable. However, suggesting using state security to spy out and dox their backers is tantamount to inciting public lynchings.


          If state security has to be involved (conceding for sale of argument, not agreeing here). Then they must follow legal procedure to the letter. Backing a propaganda campaign against the national interest for one's own selfish reasons during a state of emergency has to be some kind of crime. If you go with the "War on COVID" rhetoric, then that crime is treason.

    • Agreed Sanctuary, when I read the following this morning I thought spin spin spin. 



    • patricia 8.4

      Sanctuary @ 8,  That definitely should be investigated.  

    • Incognito 8.5

      Ok, this is definitely one from the WTF category.

      The six founding academics come from different “public institutions”. To “speculate” that even one of those institutions might be backing this initiative financially or otherwise is one only a nutjob conspiracy theorist could dream up.

      When academics go out in public with their personal opinions, they usually put in/up a disclaimer that these are not their employer’s views. Academics have the freedom and duty to express themselves as long as they do not put their employer in disrepute.

      The NZ Unis were not happy (!) about losing revenue and they were among the first to suffer from the ban on visitors from China. Are you suggesting that they are still “strongly opposed to closing the borders because of the revenue loss”?

      It may have escaped your attention that ‘Plan B’ includes restricted border entry for the near-future to reduce the risk of imported infection. So, how is this going to help the Unis with their projected financial losses?

      You seem to have Uni management in your crosshairs, but do you think the academic colleagues of those six academics are all fully supportive of ‘Plan B’? Maybe they are not – Dr Wiles certainly isn’t nor is Professor Shaun Hendy as far as I can tell – and maybe they’re concerned on how their personal and professional integrity is being dragged through the mud because of and by nutjobs like you who see a “major scandal” that involves their employers. Mind you, it would be truly shocking if any of your speculation were true.

      • Sanctuary 8.5.1

        "…by nutjobs like you…"

        Let me guess, you are in a closed Whatsapp group with Iain McNicol and Emilie Oldknow?

  9. Reality 9

    Simon Bridges was very rude and obnoxious towards Dr Ashley Bloomfield at yesterday’s inquisition meeting. He surely could question, not berate as he did.  He was like the schoolyard bully.


    • Sanctuary 9.1

      I remarked to my wife that Bridges can't win a PR trick, of all the ten second clips to show on the news it just had to be him berating the most popular civil servant in the land.

    • tc 9.2

      Yup and the schoolyard bully will find a grown up electorate goes to the polls with that and his other self centred non social distancing behaviours.

      He really can't stop digging can he.

    • mary_a 9.3

      Reality @ (9) … Yes, I've also noticed Simon Bridges bullying behaviour towards Dr Ashley Bloomfield. It's disgraceful. What he needs to remember is that Dr Bloomfield is a Doctor, a medical professional, Director of our Ministry of Health. He is not a politician. Just re enforces Bridges' ignorance and weak need to be seen as coming across as all important, waving the big stick!

      As far as I'm concerned, Dr Bloomfield at present is performing extremely well, keeping us informed how CV19 is tracking. I see he has taken a 20% pay cut, along with other public service CEOs, including the judiciary, PM and Cabinet ministers through until October.

  10. observer 10

    I'm less worried about level 4 or 3, much more concerned that people don't seem to know what it means for our daily lives. This is understandable, since we hardly experienced level 3 on the way up, but it needs a massive education campaign.

    At level 3 we won't be going to the local cafe. And even at level 2 we can predict months of complaints like this …

    "I went to the cafe and they made me sign in with contact details! Said they needed it for tracing! It's bureaucracy gone mad!"

    "I went to the cafe and they wouldn't let me in! Said it was for physical distancing, more space between tables. Ridiculous!"

    "I went to the cafe and had to wait outside while a group finished their lunch very slowly! Somebody said they were in the same bubble, so they could be together, but I was on my own, only wanted a flat white, it's not fair!"

    And so on, ad nauseam.

    Everything has changed. And when the government loosens the restrictions, the responsibility shifts to US.

    I don't think we're ready. Easier to blame Jacinda.

    • Enough is Enough 10.1

      I agree Observer.

      People staying we need to stay in Level 4, don't understand that Level 3 doesn't mean we return to normality.

      Level 3 is essentially where we are in terms of the risk assessment. There will still be major restrictions on how we live our lives.

    • Treetop 10.2

      Do not underestimate the psychological components of social distancing pertaining to Covid-19.

      All one can do is to adjust and find a substitute. I expect coffee machines have been flying out the warehouses and the muffin recipes have been accessed. 

      Me and US will get there.

    • patricia 10.3

      Business that doesn't meet these needs won't survive.  Surely the Cafe will pose senarios and tease out responses ..Like a "Take away window for the quick coffee with out door  tables,  the long lunch happening inside?"   Evolve change or die?
      Jacinda “Think how your business may operate to meet Health and Safety issues”.

    • theotherpat 10.4

      agree…far too many dickwads out there….too many me me me at any cost folks.

  11. pat 11

    We stay until we either eradicate covid or it becomes clear we cannot…and we use the time  and space to plan (on a national level and personal level) how we are going to adapt to the new normal….any economic plan is going to require massive gov support and direction so business cannot operate separate of that in any case. With our economy driven by migration (permanent and tourism) and property inflation in the past decades  there is a unrecoverable drop in demand in the medium term.

    Unlock the economy now and after a very brief spending splurge the lack of confidence will simply accelerate the retrenching already evident and will feed itself….and the banks wont hang around waiting for things to get worse as they are now….it will be a race to see who can lose the least.

    And then theres the health system and the loss of lives to consider

  12. barry 12

    While we are still getting new cases associated with clusters and other "community" infections we can't lower our guard.  last week there were cases associated with Silver Fern farms & Edendale in Southland, both workplaces operating as essential businesses.  the more we have operating, the more flat whites being sold, the more opportunities for continued transmission.

    The best outcome for NZ is to stay in level 4 as long as it takes to be comfortable that we have eliminated the virus, and then scale down reasonably quickly.  We can't have international travel, and need to be vigilant around the trade routes, but we wills till be the envy of the world.

    • Enough is Enough 12.1

      So what you are advocating is we stay in level 4 until it is safe to move to level 1?

      Why even have level 2 and 3 if that is the case?

      • barry 12.1.1

        No, I think we go to level 3 for a short time until we are sure we can stamp on outbreaks.  We don't want a lot of travel, or unrestricted hospitality.  No stag dos or big weddings for a while.

        We could have regional differences if we control travel.  There are a lot more possibilities than those implied by 4 levels.


        • Enough is Enough

          I agree. We need to move to Level 3 next week, or at the end of ANZAC weekend at the very latest.

  13. Wayne 13

    I reckon next week we will go to Level 3, maybe modified. As we have seen, Level 4 has been modified over the last three weeks. A slightly wider range of business have opened.

    Level 3 would probably apply for 2 or 3 weeks, then it will go to Level 2. Which could be sustained for months.

    I think if the govt stays with level 4, there will be a lot more breaches. People will travel a bit more, they will see family, whether they are allowed to or not. At some point the enforcement problems will become too great.

    Going for literal elimination is going to be too hard. Waiting till there are literally no new cases before going out of Level 4, is (in my view) asking too much of people.

    • The Al1en 13.1

      So government should bow to public disorder. Cool, hope that's still the position if the nats get back in 9 years time.

    • Ad 13.2


      Our team is ready to get back to work, and with good advice from Ministries we have the plan to do so. 

      Our funders are pretty keen to get back to it. 

    • Treetop 13.3


      When the country goes to level 3, I expect level 3 to be in place for at least a month – 6 weeks.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 13.4

      " Going for literal elimination is going to be too hard. "

      Compared to which alternative? Recurring lockdowns? Just letting it go?

      The problem with your position is you haven't identified the better alternative – in all probability it doesn't exist.


    • Chris 13.5

      Staying in level 4 might be too much to ask of you and those of your ilk, but not for most people who understand what's at stake and who properly appreciate the long game.  In any case, going for literal elimination (whatever literal elimination means – isn’t that the same as elimination?) doesn't mean staying in level 4.

      • Forget now 13.5.1

        "Literal elimination" (the eradication of every single SARS-COV-2 viral cell from the territory of NZ) is admittedly not achievable with the accuracy of RNA tests (especially given their preponderance of false negatives). However that is something of a red herring as that is not the aim of the level 4 protocols. The terminology is a little confusing, but you'd think someone with such experience in Research, Science & Innovation, would not ignorantly conflate the two.


        Okay – ten minutes to find the link to article (last week?) that spells this out. I will try not to get distracted before the editing window closes.

        • Incognito

          I’m not getting what you’re saying. There are basically two ways a virus particle ‘dies’ (i.e. becomes non-viable and loses its potential to infect a host): 1) environmentally, or 2) immunologically [sp?]. There is only one way for a virus particle to multiply: to successfully infect a host. If you can break the cycle somewhere then theoretically you can eliminate the virus.

          • Forget now

            I was comparing the literal elimination of the virus from the country (unlikely, if even possible without a vaccine) versus the elimination strategy behind the level 4 protocols. That is; elimination from the population rather than any particular individual. I note others here have used the term; eradication, rather than "literal elimination", which is less ambiguous.

            • Incognito

              Sorry, but now I feel even more lost but maybe it’s because I’m tired. Tomorrow is another day.

      • Wayne 13.5.2

        Don’t be silly. Do you really think it is National voters who are the ones breaking the rules? 
        From from what I see the breaches are mostly by younger people, which is entirely predictable. That will increase as time goes on. 
        In any event the govt seems to be planning to go to Level 3 next week.

        • Forget you

          Wayne – do you not have any "ilk" who are not National voters? That seems a pity to have such a restricted social circle.


          But anyway, I can't find the link I was looking for, and have run out of editing time. Got distracted reading this:



        • Chris

          If a decision was made to stay in level 4 there'd be no enforcement problems.  The govt has so far kept enforcement at a low level and it's been successful.  If problems arose enforcement measures would increase.  If the decision was made to stay in level 4 the govt would simply enforce it.  Your straw man use of so-called enforcement problems is unnecessary (although I suppose it does avoid accusations of putting the economy before the health of citizens, so I grant you that).  If you think the current health risks mean opening businesses and getting back to work is safe then why don't you just say that?

        • RedBaronCV

          What about all the bach owners sneaking into the holiday homes or driving their cars towards them and getting turned back. Likely to all be National voters.

          Stop dissing young people – they are having to suffer under the right wing landlords (not all fortunately) – plus jobs losses and they will be ones with few resources.

        • Tricledrown

          Wayne bowties cribbies motorhome holiday maker's more likely to be National supporters .They a are the main culprits

          • Chris

            Wayne's real message is about valuing the economy over people's health, which is to a greater or lesser extent pretty similar to the approaches taken, certainly initially, by the likes of the UK, US and Australia.   But he knows it's not cool to be open about that now so he has to find something else to use as a reason for relaxing the lock down levels.  Today he's attempted to use perceived enforcement difficulties.  We could run a book on what tomorrow's might be.

            • Enough is Enough

              "..valuing the economy over people's health…"

              Peoples health is dependent on the state of the economy

              • Grantoc

                I agree.

                Its not either health or the economy; its both more or less equally. They are mutually dependant. Kill the economy and there are no resources for health. Kill the people and there are no human resources to drive the economy.

                Our strategy need to be based on supporting the health sector as well as allowing the economy to revitalise.

                • bill

                  Hmm. Revitalise the economy and the (presumably) currently stalled global warming kicks right back into gear and climate change will… kill the people and there are will be no human resources to drive the an economy.

                  Capitalism has been put in a coma. We need to pin a big  DNR notice on it and organise/manage ourselves and our world differently.

                  • Enough is Enough

                    Economy does not mean global warming.

                    An economy will always exist, whether that be capitalism, socialism, communism, feudalism, or whatever.


                    • bill

                      An economy will always exist, whether that be capitalism, socialism, communism, feudalism, or whatever.

                      Yup. That's why I substituted the word "an" for "the"…to indicate a range of possibilities beyond current rules of production and distribution 😉

                      But on your first point, the current economy runs on fossil and is therefor the cause of global warming. So, if we "allow the economy to revitalise" we'll get further global warming on top of what we already have, and inevitably, billions of people will suffer, even as "the economy" simultaneously craters beneath the global warming it has caused.

    • observer 13.6

      The politics of it (which is inevitable) is that there will always be something new to push for, always some pressure to allow something else.

      The government – and public – need to hold their nerve, and if we move to level 3, it should be a month at the outset. We've already seen that when it's currently four weeks then idiots start saying "can we leave early?" after only two.

      Retail outlets with one-to-one contact can function, but all gatherings are off for a long time yet. Every day somebody will be in the news saying "let me open my club / church / cinema … ". They need to understand that will not be happening.

    • Andre 13.7

      On what grounds do you think elimination is too hard? If it's based on anything more than your reckons, want to share your reasons and/or a link?

      How much marginal extra pain do think is involved in staying in lockdown one or two or three more weeks? Seems to me we've already taken the massive hit economically, extensions now are only small incremental hits. Whereas the blow from a second lockdown would be huge.

      If you were given an assessment from experts like Drs Hendy and Bloomfield et al that sounded something like 'we assess the chances of elimination vs a second lockdown if we end the lockdown now are around 50:50, if we extend for another week the chance of a second lockdown drops to 10%, extend two weeks it drops to 1%', what would you choose?

      I don't doubt there will be more breaches if level 4 lockdown is extended. But will those extra breaches be worse for spreading disease than going down in alert levels?

      edit: I’m not privy to the info the experts have, nor have I access to the modelling tools they have. Nevertheless, my math skills are reasonably good, and it looks to me like the risk/reward balance points strongly towards maintaining lockdown until the risk of another outbreak is very very low.

      • pat 13.7.1

        well argued….its not a case of ending level 4 in a week or keeping it indefinitely rather as the Gov/MoH have said all along they need the data and testing to inform their decision…that data and testing may take some more weeks but I would suggest not months.

      • patricia 13.7.2

        Andre @ 13.7 Yes I agree with your take on this.  I have suffered a life changing virus, Polio,  and erradication was always the goal.

        We possibly have people like "Typhoid Mary",  a carrier who killed many by transmission,  though she did not get ill.

        We possibly have carriers who are transmitting this.  We are learning more each day from international and local medical expertise and lived experience.  Time is a tool if well used.

        Poor decisions at this juncture may lose our growing advantage. 

        We need to work together and not "white ant"  our progress or take part in dubious comparisons.

        When asked a huge number agreed we were doing well.

        The Economic pressures will be a growing consideration,  however we have to plan for and create good lives in the new normal,  and a quick cup of coffee might not figure highly on the list.   
        More like delayed medical and surgical procedures, house building & construction start-ups,  road repairs,  bridge building,  culling and planting for DOC, support for Horticulture and Farming as well as retail "open air "markets,  retail wearing gloves and masks, truck coffees,  mobile testing stations,  and a whole new experienced based holiday /NZ local tourism push with no or half priced entry for rate payers.  All will base their practice around avoiding transmission of covid-19.   That will be our new future,  definitely not our old "normal"  Some businesses will not be able to change and cope.  Others will thrive.

        Think that  previously  the hairdresser,  the dentist, the physiotherapist,  the cashier,  just to name a few,  worked well within the 2m distancing.  How will that change our lives?  Open homes?   Weddings Funerals Birthdays ? Sports crowds?  The list is endless….  that is the difference in a pandemic.  it overwhelms systems and strains our ability to cope.  We are creatures of patterns and habit.  This is testing our fortitude and our ability to think laterally and come up with inventive solutions.  The best of these would be a vaccine of course,  not though an immediate answer. 

        As Jacinda says "We are all in this together"

  14. Treetop 14

    Covid-19 has a lot of the pitfalls seen in the transmission of sexually transmitted infections/diseases.

    Asking people to abstain from being sexually active is too hard for some and easier for others.

  15. RedBaronCV 15

    Personally I'd rather extend by another  fortnight and look again.

    In Korea one  early patient infected another 1031 people. It could happen again here. and put the whole lock down to waste. The gap we had day wise between 5 cases and 100 cases was fairly short. We also still have some cases (around 100?) where the source of the infection is unknown

    Going in and out of level 3 & 4 would be a lot more damaging than sitting it out for slightly longer. If people aren't confident they won't go  out so there will be no consumers no matter what the right wing businesses think.

      I was looking at some off the modelling done just after lockdown but under some scenario's ( prompt contact tracing ) we had 100% of simulations showing elimination at around 120 days. but the really interesting thing tracing the curve was that we had achieved in 21 days what the prediction was for 60 days.

    I'd expect the  right wing to use data based science to back up any argument that they are putting forward re shifting levels – not the "we are not making money and need to kill a few employees to do so" doesn't really cut it.

    Probably they want to get back so they can keep the 3  month subsidy but fire the workers they find they won't need.

  16. joe90 16

    2022, folks.



    It is urgent to understand the future of severe acute respiratory syndrome–coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission. We used estimates of seasonality, immunity, and cross-immunity for betacoronaviruses OC43 and HKU1 from time series data from the USA to inform a model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission. We projected that recurrent wintertime outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 will probably occur after the initial, most severe pandemic wave. Absent other interventions, a key metric for the success of social distancing is whether critical care capacities are exceeded. To avoid this, prolonged or intermittent social distancing may be necessary into 2022. Additional interventions, including expanded critical care capacity and an effective therapeutic, would improve the success of intermittent distancing and hasten the acquisition of herd immunity. Longitudinal serological studies are urgently needed to determine the extent and duration of immunity to SARS-CoV-2. Even in the event of apparent elimination, SARS-CoV-2 surveillance should be maintained since a resurgence in contagion could be possible as late as 2024.



    • joe90 16.1

      Oh joy.

      Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, who served as special advisor for health policy to the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget during the Obama administration, told on a recent New York Times panel that “restarting the economy has to be done in stages… Larger gatherings — conferences, concerts, sporting events — … I think those things will be the last to return. Realistically we’re talking fall 2021 at the earliest.”


  17. Observer Tokoroa 17

    Auckland's Last Card

    Auckland University does not have a single Faculty of truly outstanding claim.

    Modelling Covid 19 within Auckland, using Math alone, might be a struggle. It may not lead to any eradication of this most recent Virus Attack.

    Only absolute perfect tracking of the Virus progress and regress is going to save lives and lead us to such things as – keeping arms lengths away –  and similar simple straight forward solutions.

    Having Simon Bridges telling us that Jacinda should give him all the money in the New Zealand Nation – so he can get his mates back to the Casino – is pathetic beyond madness.

    Simon Bridges is being told by his Casino wealthy Businessmen that he must get rid of Jacinda. 

    And Simon will do whatever his filthy mates – (whether they are Professors or Bullshitters)- tell him to do. Simon has been told to wreck us. By Wrecking Jacinda Ardern.

    Our Great Prime Minister.



    • Incognito 17.1

      Your snipe at Auckland Uni is irrelevant.

      You set up two unrealistic extremes: “using Math alone” and “absolute perfect tracking of the Virus progress and regress”. In reality, the two go hand-in-hand and inform each other through feedback. In a nutshell, that’s how science works.

  18. RedBaronCV 18


    This sort of story doesn't  really make one inclined to believe in our "so called business leaders' having any  idea about anything.

    Absolutely clueless by the sound of it – he wants the government to get his 20 filipino workers back from overseas. Doesn't say if they are on work permits but looks liek they are. He may have to hire locally

    • Sabine 18.1

      well he can't hire locally if the population continues to be locked up until the eradication of this illness. 

      So i do agree with you, many of our so called business leaders and their enablers in parliament have no fucking idea.

      • RedBaronCV 18.1.1

        I figured that part of his preparation could be interviewing some locals so that after lockdown he could be ready to go.

        Not expecting a government to throw money at his teeny problem that he should be able to solve himself – not much of a manager.

        • Sabine

          i understand what you are saying. 

          But whom would he interview? 

          As i said, it would be nice for the government to actually start talking about the end of phase 4 into something that would allow people to plan. 

          The easiest way for this guy is to buy himself some expendables from the Philipines to work here, so we can continue hover in phase 4 and prevent us from dying and live forever.

          Once leads to the other. I would opt for the government to do more then just a read down of the daily set of statistics and becomes somewhat more future focused. 

          Because someone will need to pick our crop, unless like in the states we are just gonna plough our unpicked corp back into the dirt for some other year when we are happy to leave our homes again. 

          • RedBaronCV

            He could put an ad on trademe or seek or contact agencies work in that field, ask his existing workforce for recommendations and then interview over the phone and send documents out to be signed. Hiring using all remote tools was not unusual even pre covid

  19. Sabine 19

    Is the government prepared to keep people locked up for up to three years in order to 'eradicate' this illness? 

    Is the government prepared to dedicate a group of people to be considered so non essential that they are the only ones allowed to work in order to produce food, water,  energy for the locked up population? 

    Is that group going to be decided via a lottery? Are we going to clap for them ever night at seven? 

    And is the govenrment prepared to send boxes of booze, prozac and weed to households in order to medicate the locked up essential non working population enough to life forever in their four walls until they die. Cause as far as I know, life does have a hundered percent fatality rate. 

    Frankly i am tired of this. Can the Goverment – ruling class and opposition class – please pull your well payed heads out of the cabbage soup and start coming up with solutions that are workable for those that are not well payed suits in parliament. 

    • RedBaronCV 19.1

      We could do with a good post re the modeling being used but as far as I can see 3 years is not in the picture at all .

      Up to 120 days is where I've seen some historic modelling to give zero community transmission but as I mentioned above based on some I have seen we seem to be well over halfway to that already. The government needs to address the range of outcomes and I suspect it will do so soon.

      There is now a measure that allows for a refund of prov tax paid for the 2020 year  so that any losses this year effectively be set off backwards- can you take advantage of that ? It may help a little.
      Is your lease an ADLS one – they have some clauses about pandemics apparently. Is there some small business advisory in your area that could help?

      • Sabine 19.1.1

        the Spanish flue was three years from first outbreak to third wave. 

        Ebola is still here with us. 

        the standard bog flu is still here with us

        a bit of history on the death and length of different outbreaks of plagues here 


        so three years to a vaccine is not far fetched. As for eradication, that only works if the whole world does it,  and if the rest of the world is good with containment and rolling lock downs for new outbreaks than the only way we can reach eradication is be hermetically sealing the country and daily testing of the population  – as there would always be a risk of the virus come in say via sea birds? 

      • RedBaronCV 19.1.2

        I think that we are looking short term  towards an NZ bubble but yes a longer wait for vaccine.

    • Carolyn_Nth 19.2

      The government is not going for total eradication.  They are going for elimination (as a problem), which can mean keeping new cases to a low level – ie manageable. And that requires on-going fast "surveillance" testing (checking to see if there a communities with outbreaks) and fast contact tracing.  We are not at that level of testing and tracing yet.

  20. Treetop 20

    Managing children being absent from daycare, preschool or school is going to be tricky. Pre the lockdown, letters were sent to parents/caregivers that any cold symptoms children were to stay away from school.  Juggling even one child can affect a parent/caregivers job when too many days are taken off work to care for a child.  Parents and caregivers get sick to.

    Due to the risk for the over 70 age bracket (even the age 60 age bracket) and people with a compromised immune system, it is going to be much harder for working parents and caregivers to find care for children when children are unable to attend school.

    Being a parent/caregiver has become a challenge and support when required is needed.

    • Sabine 20.1


      we just go back to the good ole days of women being the unpaid care givers who depend on a 'breadwinner' for their daily meal. 

      Tamaki and the christian rights rejoice. Finally god has shown the way back to Kinder Kueche Kirche. 

  21. Tricledrown 21

    Matthew Hooton is saying we will have to sacrifice people to keep the economy open saying no other country is trying to eradicate. This is what's called inoculating voters making extreme claims to make Simple Soimon look moderate.a 30 second search many countries are trying to eradicate.or even open their economies before eradication.So far the evidence shows those who have lax lockdowns have had further uncontrollable outbreaks except Australia who have a more comprehensive healthcare system and very high instant fines for those breaking social distancing.While Hooton and his business backers are ok with a higher death toll especially amongst the elderly it's a sacrifice they reckon is OK.

    Doctors and nurses will be next on the list who National and Hooton are prepared to have them die in much higher numbers.

    • Sabine 21.1

      Doctors and nurses will be next on the list who National and Hooton are prepared to have them die in much higher numbers.


      doctors and nurses have always died in the name of health care. And they are currently already dying the world over. As do supermarket workers, pickers and packers at Amazon warehouses and fullfillment centres, workers in slaughter houses and so on and  so forth. 

      I don't read Matthew Hooton, never saw a reason to do so, but to believe that people did not die before Covid 19 is just getting tiresome. 

      What needs to be discussed is how to go about keeping an economy alive to procure food, water, electricity – just to keep physical survival an option – , to provide health care for all and not just Covid 19 patiens – as people do get ill and die of other illnesses too and some might even need to see a dentist or need a hip replacement  or cancer treatment (even young people can you imagine), and to keep infrastructure alive and working, and hey maybe build a few new hospitials, and train some people to provide daily Covid 19 tests anywhere anytime and so on and so on. 

      So yes, we need to discuss this. Pretending we don't have to is huge heep of horsemanure with no one to dig it in and plant some veggies. 

  22. Ad 22

    That  link didn't seem to work. 

    Could you find a stable link that has the model in it?

  23. Grantoc 23


    You state in your opinion piece that the government is seeking to 'eradicate' Covid-19. I'm not sure that this right. I understood that they seeking to 'eliminate' Covid-19.

    There is a significant difference between eradication and elimination. I understand that, technically, eradication means that every last Covid- 19 virus in NZ is killed off and removed, and there are literally no more. In other words a 100% success rate in removing the virus.

    Elimination recognises the impracticality of achieving a 100% destroy rate. It refers to getting rid of most of the Covid-19 virus's out there to more or less the same level that a proven vaccination would do. That is around a 90% success rate.

    If we are going for complete eradication, we'll never come out of lockdown. If we are going  for a 90% elimination, we'll be out of lockdown and managing the on going situation effectively.

  24. Forget now 24

    Somewhere in the slew of comments above, I suggested that a 5 level lockdown system would at least make people feel better about being stuck on level 4. In retrospect, to avoid confusion it might be better to use a ten point system (or A-J? Alpha to Kappa? Greek letters do seem more sciencey somehow).


    Thus we could go to Level Eta (G) containment protocols and have a do-over on the rollout of the lockdown restrictions. Which have always felt a bit ill-defined and made up on the fly. 


    Importantly, this would allow the public to feel they have been listened to. And address lingering issues that politicians do not wish to be seen to back-down on (petty but also important). But not jeopardize those aspects of current level 4 lockdown that have actually proved important in the elimination task.

  25. bill 25

    How many asymptomatic people are there? How many people have only had minor symptoms? In other words, how many people are infected and where are they?

    We don't know.

    And the reason we don't know is simply because we haven't tested enough people to determine where the virus is.

    So, unless and until we have widespread testing, we stay locked-down.

    Further to that, there are increasing reports of people apparently becoming reinfected, which suggests that testing isn't up to the mark, or that immunity is very short lived, or that there has been mutation and immunity is is present for one mutation, but not the other.

    If Level 3 is on the cards, then it will be interesting to hear exactly what Level 3 is. Maybe Level 4 should stay for now and 'cops' persuaded to police in a gradually more lax fashion so that we gradually wind up in a level 3 situation.


  26. observer 26

    A very detailed explanation of Level 3 at the press conference today. (It's clear that we'll be going there at the end of the four weeks, even if it's not official yet).

    I suppose we're going to hear a lot of "oh, there's confusion" over the coming days, which in most cases simply means "I haven't bothered to look it up".

  27. theotherpat 27

    go another week and then reappraise the situation….last thing we want is all the good work and sacrifices be for nought and then we get a heavy 2nd wave.

  28. georgecom 28

    the word I use to consider things is "reasonable".

    Making reasonable efforts to stop the spread of the virus in the community. Making reasonable efforts to avoid covid deaths, making reasonable efforts to minimise deaths. Making reasonable efforts to minimise numbers of covid cases in hospital. I am ok with that, what we have done to date is I believe reasonable.

    Avoiding deaths at all costs, for example, is not reasonable and I wouldn't be particularly supportive of it. The brutal fact is that many/most people at risk of Covid19 are also as risk from a number of other things, they could die from a range of things. Reasonable efforts to buffer them from the virus, yes, that is fair. At all costs, no.

    • Andre 28.1

      It's not just about protecting people that are on the verge of carking it from something else anyway. Death rates among middle-aged and older people with no pre-existing conditions are high enough to justify quite a vigorous response.

      There's an increasing number of reports of survivors that were previously completely free of medical problems and disabilities still suffering major impairments that may turn into significant long-term disabilities.

      Then, even for those OK with the idea of culling "useless eaters" and unfazed by the death and disability potential among the able-bodied, the length of incapacitation and suffering among those with symptoms and the subsequent loss of productivity might be of serious concern.

  29. Stick with level 4 until winter arrives and lets see what that brings because, it did go nuts in the northern hemisphere didnt it?

    The poor and the most vunerable will get hit the hardest as usual. 

    The numbers are retrospective and somewhat belatedly cough'd up.

    A reminder of what happened to Maori in 1918 and can happen again.

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