Things appear to be on the improve. In Auckland the five day rolling average of new infections has dropped from 178 on November 16 to 105 yesterday, a number not seen since late October. 97% of Auckland Health Board residents have now had at least one dose. 90% of our Pacific brothers and sisters have now had at least one shot. The work of Labour MPs and elected representatives and activists throughout Auckland is clearly working. Every weekend on social media I see the likes of Efeso Collins and Jo Bartley and all of Labour’s Maungakiekie and South Auckland local board representatives doing the hard mahi organising and promoting and turning up and helping. All strength to them.
Maori vaccination rates are still of concern. In Auckland DHB 90% have had a first dose but of concern in Manukau it is only 84%. Elsewhere throughout the country it is not so good, with Northland and Whanganui having the lowest rates at 80%. The twin problems of poverty and isolation clearly hurt.
The hospital system is holding up. Farmgeek’s expert data presentation suggests that the hospitalisation rates and the rate of those in ICU are stable if not declining.
The risk will be that Auckland’s reopening will cause the infection rate to spike. I am sure that the powers that be will be looking at the results from the end of this week with trepidation.
National’s claim that Auckland should be in a green setting is totally irresponsible. Imagine being this irrespondible just for political advantage.
From the Herald:
Speaking at Auckland bar The Fox, the new Opposition leader welcomed Auckland’s freedoms – but questioned why the city was in the red setting, as vaccination rates were so high.
“Why is Auckland in red light? That is designed for when the country has an overwhelmed healthcare system and the Prime Minister says it is fine. And we have some of the highest vaccination rates of any city on planet Earth.”
Luxon said the sector was “ready for Auckland to go straight to green”.
All year National has been describing the vaccine roll out as a shambles. Luxon should tell Bishop that Auckland has some of the highest vaccination rates of any city in the world.
It may be that Auckland will drop to Orange in a week or so which requires there to be transmission of Covid with pressure on the health system. But right now, with the effects of the loosening up not being fully understood, it would be completely irresponsible for the Government to change.
If it does change National will claim they pressured the Government into opening up. If it does not then National will portray Labour as being some sort of Christmas Grinch, intending on spoiling everyone’s fun. An overwhelmed health system and lots and lots of deaths are not of concern to them.
And with the emergence of the Omicron variant there is added need to be careful. Its spreading super ability and its potential ability to avoid the effects of existing vaccines is of concern. Its potentially lesser health threats are cause for possible optimism, especially if it beomes the dominant strain. But now is not the time to take risks with our health system on a new variant whose qualities are not understood.
There is a sense of grumpiness in the community at large. Hopefully as things loosen up and presuming infection rates continue to decline people will again relax. But time will tell. And for me I am happy for the Government to continue to be very careful with a virus that in every western country except New Zealand has caused scores of deaths and severe disruption to their health systems.