Saturday, November 27

The lockdown should affect Covid-19 numbers by the end of the week – Modeller

A Covid-19 modeler expects the national lockdown to have an impact on new case numbers by the end of the week.

The queue at the St Lukes Covid-19 Test Center on 8/20/2021.

A queue at the St Lukes Covid-19 testing center.
Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi

Dr Michael Plank from the University of Canterbury said Morning report The 21 new cases reported yesterday were expected, increasing the overall Covid-19 community cases to 72.

There were 20 more cases in Auckland and one case in Wellington announced by the Ministry of Health, all linked to the existing group.

The number of attractions continues to rise, with six schools and several gyms and supermarkets on the expanding list of the Ministry of Health.

The Samoa Church of God in Auckland is of particular concern to health officials and has been linked to three cases in Wellington.

Plank expected the new case numbers to stay the same through the beginning of the week as more close contacts are tested, unless there are significant super spreader developments.

“I think it’s going more or less as we would have expected,” he said.

“We will probably see cases bounce back, that 20-a-day mark for a few days still, although it could increase if we see significant overspread from those large locations of interest as test results come in.”

Plank expected the numbers to start showing signs of waning towards the end of the week, suggesting that the lockdown was having an effect.

“I think it will be in the second half of this week. We know that it takes at least a week due to the incubation period of the virus, so it will probably be Thursday or Friday before we start to see the sign of that.” the lockdown comes in the case numbers and then hopefully it starts to reduce those daily case numbers. “

Canterbury University Professor Michael Plank

Professor Michael Plank.
Photo: Supplied.

Plank said it was encouraging to see that no other groups of cases were identified, but cautioned that that did not mean there were no other groups in the community.

“It is definitely good news that the vast majority of reported cases have been linked to the same group and that is a sign that our contact tracing system is doing a very good job of tracing people,” he said.

“We are not completely out of the woods yet in terms of another group existing because people could still be in the incubation period and may not show up for testing for a few more days.

Although the incubation period for the Delta variant may be short, he said there was a wide range of variability in its incubation period, so it was still possible that people were incubating the virus or a week or more.

The fact that no cases were detected at Coromandel was also fortunate, Plank said.

The index case, a 58-year-old man from Devonport, had visited several locations in Coromandel before being diagnosed with the virus.

“It’s definitely a good sign and it’s possible that luckily they didn’t affect anyone while they were there, or they just weren’t in the proper time window relative to their infectious period. Obviously, it’s important to continue testing there.”

An extension of the alert level 4 national lockdown is highly likely today, followed by extension decisions every week, he said. The government will announce its decision on an extension of the blockade at 4 pm today.

“It certainly needs to be extended and it’s likely to be at least one more week,” Plank said.

“I think it makes sense to go week by week at this stage because a lot of things can change in one week and then in another week we can get a clearer idea of ​​how that lockdown is starting to take effect. One week seems like a reasonable time frame for Auckland.

He was wary of the idea of ​​regional closures, given the ease with which the Delta variant can spread and the ineffective nature of regional closures in Australia. Although regional blockades were inevitable, he added.

“At some point we are likely to see different parts of New Zealand at different levels of alert, but we need to be cautious. We know there are around 150 identified contacts outside of Auckland and Waikato and they are just the ones we know about.”

“Like I said, people could still be in the incubation period. At some point we will see this, but we have to be cautious and we have seen in New South Wales how easily the virus can spread to regional areas. It has a big outbreak. in a major urban center. “

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