Saturday, December 4

Covid-19 lockdown ‘will stop virus in its tracks’, but number of cases could rise for another week – modeller


Covid-19 modeler Michael Plank says the level 4 lockdown will “stop the virus in its tracks” and while case numbers may continue to rise over the next week, he is hopeful the numbers will start to decline. thereafter.

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Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced 11 new community cases of Covid-19 in the Auckland region this afternoon, bringing the total number of New Zealand cases to 21.

Twelve of the cases are all part of the same Auckland group, while eight are still being investigated, he said.

Michael Plank from the Department of Mathematics at the University of Canterbury said that it now appears that the virus has been spreading undetected in the community for a couple of weeks and during this time it has been spreading rapidly without any control measures.

He said the model suggests that around 100 people were likely infected during that time.

“One of the few good news is that last week’s sewage tests in Auckland have all been negative, but because there is a small time lag between someone getting infected and spreading the virus in the sewage system I think that rules out having a big outbreak with several hundred, but we could still be looking at around 100 infected people so far. “

This afternoon it was announced that three tests of wastewater collected in Auckland on Monday this week returned positive results: one in Rosedale and one collected in the West and East stations.

Plank said that the fact that there have been a number of young people who have a large number of contacts that have tested positive, as well as the number of places of interest could increase the number of people infected to more than 100.

He said the Auckland lockdown is likely to last more than seven days.

However, epidemiologist Michael Baker said that Covid-19 may not have been spreading in New Zealand as soon as it was initially suggested and that it was a very preventative approach to those earlier sights.

“It may have been that one of the cases had some symptoms of maybe a cold or some other illness that goes back a bit further and that the real focus is really on more from August 10 onwards,” Baker said.

Plank said they are still trying to establish how many people were infected before the virus was known to be spreading.

“So we are putting together a kind of puzzle to get an idea of ​​the size of the outbreak, so we should expect the numbers of cases to increase in the coming days as contact tracing and test results come in.”

Plank said that a large number of cases will not necessarily indicate how fast Covid-19 is spreading, but rather an indication of how large the outbreak is.

He said the lockdown “will stop the virus in its tracks.”

“We know that Alert Level 4, the heavy restrictions that we have, everyone sticking to its bubble, will drastically reduce transmission, but of course we don’t expect to see that in case numbers for another week.”

Plank said the number of cases can be expected to increase over the next week, but after that, hopefully the effects of the lockdown will become apparent to reduce the number of cases.

He said the fact that New Zealand was locked in so quickly provides the best possible opportunity to overcome the outbreak.

“It gives our contact trackers the time they need to get the job done because once you get up to 600 cases a day like the ones you are seeing in Sydney, it becomes impossible for the contact tracing system to actually do its job of effective way”.

Keeping New Zealand’s Covid-19 numbers low and its contact tracing system in place gives the country every chance to eventually eliminate the virus, he said.

This is an official COVID-19 ALERT.

All New Zealand You are now at Covid-19 Alert Level 4.

The alert level will be reviewed after 3 days for all areas EXCEPT Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula, which will likely remain at level 4 for an initial period of 7 days.

A community case of Covid-19 has been identified.

Stay at home whenever possible and follow level 4 alert guidelines. This will stop the spread of COVID-19 and SAVE LIVES.

All are asked to:

Wear a mask and keep a distance of 2 meters from others when you leave your house.

If you are sick, call your doctor or Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice on getting tested.

Keep scanning QR codes every time you leave your home.

Practice good hygiene: wash your hands often.

Services that include supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics and gas stations will remain open at alert level 4. Face covers are mandatory for all people, both employees and customers, in companies and services that operate at alert level 4 that involve contact with the client.

For more information on Alert Level 4, go to [the government website www.covid19.govt.nz]

***

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Kia Kaha – Stay strong


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