Two weeks since lockdown began – Expert Reaction

The Ministry of Health has announced 75 new Covid cases in New Zealand, a rise on the previous two days.

All but one of the cases are in Auckland, while one infected person is in Wellington. This person has no symptoms, and their positive Covid-19 result came from their Day 12 test – after earlier testing negative three times. 32 infected people are now in hospital, with 8 of those in intensive care, including 3 on ventilation.

The SMC asked experts to comment.

Professor Michael Plank, Te Pūnaha Matatini and University of Canterbury, comments:

“Today’s new case number has jumped back up to 75 but it is expected that numbers will bounce around from day to day. What matters is the trend and it looks like we are seeing the beginnings of a downward trend, but it is still early days.

“Around three quarters of yesterday’s cases were not in the community whilst infectious. This is good news as it means the majority of new cases are not at risk of spreading the virus to other bubbles. It will now be important to see the number of cases in the community whilst infectious coming down over time. This will be a key indicator that the outbreak is coming under control.

“Around 7% of the cases in this outbreak to date have needed hospital treatment and a substantial portion of these are in younger age groups. This is partly thanks to the vaccine protecting people in older age groups where vaccine coverage is higher. But it reinforces how dangerous the Delta variant of COVID-19 is. Recent evidence from England shows that Delta has around double the risk of hospitalisation compared to older variants. This shows how important it is to pull out all the stops to control this outbreak.

“The signs so far are promising that our efforts are succeeding, but there is still a long way to go and we all need to keep up the good work.”

Conflict of interest statement: I am partly funded by MBIE for research on mathematical modelling of COVID-19.