Saturday, November 27

The number of Covid-19 cases could soon exceed 100 per day: expert

Auckland’s daily Covid-19 case numbers could triple by the end of the month, says data modeling expert Shaun Hendy.

Auckland’s number of daily Covid-19 cases could triple by the end of the month.

Central Auckland on Wednesday August 25, 2021 on the eighth day of a Covid-19 lockdown.

Photo: RNZ / John Edens

There were 56 cases in the city yesterday, the highest since Sept. 1, with three in Waikato and one in the Bay of Plenty.

But there was also hope, as vaccination rates with the first dose reached 86 percent.

Professor Shaun Hendy, a Covid-19 modeler, said that as cases tend to rise, the outbreak is at a critical point.

“We may be able to finish in the triple digits, so that’s something the government should be considering and should be developing a plan for what happens … because that will put real pressure on the healthcare system in Auckland,” said. said.

Numbers like that could require a drop to alert level 4 as a circuit breaker, he said.

And another worrying number emerged: There were still around 400 case contacts that health authorities had not yet contacted to verify that they know how to isolate and get tested.

Shaun Hendy at his kitchen table, where he is modeling Covid-19 in NZ

Shaun Hendy says Auckland might have to go back to level 4 if the numbers hit three digits.
Photo: Supplied

The change to alert level 3 meant contact trackers couldn’t keep up with cases as quickly as they needed to, and was illustrated by cases where there are no known links reaching hospitals or due to testing surveillance, Hendy said.

Some of those mysterious cases had cropped up in the Bay of Plenty, Waikato, and Northland.

Epidemiologist Nick Wilson and his team were calling on the government to tighten the border around Auckland.

Only those doing the most essential jobs should be allowed out and should stop for 15 minutes at the border for a rapid antigen test, he said.

“It seems that some people are crossing that border for quite flimsy reasons and documentation,” he said.

Meanwhile, authorities could keep Tier 3 parts of the country isolated from the rest, literally by using concrete blocks and containers on some roads, perhaps on the Central Plateau, he said.

Keeping Covid out of the rest of the country could also help Auckland, by building support if the city’s health resources were overwhelmed.

New Zealand should look to Australia, where cases were booming in two states but well controlled in others, especially Tasmania.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said New Zealand already had some of the toughest restrictions in the world and would continue to work hard to stop the spread.

“The number of cases serves as a reminder of how complicated Delta is,” he said.

The cabinet will decide today what to do with the restrictions.

Hipkins said they would take into account the most up-to-date case numbers, as well as unrelated cases. Yesterday it was 19.

Critically, it would also decide whether Auckland schools could reopen.

Professor Hendy said it was too early.

While it was possible to open them safely if proper precautions were taken, now was not the time, with the bud finely balanced, he said.

The Covid numbers for the weekend weren’t all doom and gloom.

86% of Auckland residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine, while 61% are fully vaccinated.

More than 10,000 crucial first doses were administered on Fridays and Saturdays, and more than 50,000 second doses.

GP Siro Fuata’i assisted in a weekend event targeting Samoans in Manurewa that reached 1,300 people.

Many of those who got vaccinated were young and he was seeing the momentum build as many saw their friends and family get vaccinated.

“The whole process has picked up pretty quickly and I think next week we’ll probably see a lot more of this. I’m looking forward to seeing the numbers go further north, and everyone who gets vaccinated would be great,” he said. said.

Hendy said the impact of the vaccines should be seen in the case numbers before the end of the month, because the vaccine was slow to take effect.

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