Covid-19 cases may peak this month at 200 a day based on a model that takes into account vaccination rates, says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
The cabinet is considering today whether to reduce Covid-19 restrictions in Auckland and parts of Waikato. The decision follows a record number of 160 new cases reported on Saturday and 143 on Sunday.
Ardern said Morning report Along with this afternoon’s decision, she would share more information about Covid-19 modeling where cases can peak as a result of vaccination rates.
“While we tend to track what that model suggests, which tells us that the numbers can, as a result of vaccines and where we are, in November they can peak at possibly around 200 cases per day.
“While we are in that period, we have to wait a bit and see if that will be the case or not.”
Retail NZ CEO Greg Harford is urging the government to move to level 3, step 2, where retail can open subject to security measures, to alleviate the “enormous mental and financial damage” caused by the closure.
Auckland University Professor Emeritus of Medicine Des Gorman said easing restrictions was the only way to maintain public compliance. “If you leave Auckland where it is, I think you’re going to have an outbreak of civil disobedience,” he says.
But Covid-19 modeler Michael Plank warns that loosening the restrictions would accelerate the number of cases.
He said the vast majority of people were following the rules, and it would be better to keep the restrictions for a few more weeks than to have an increase in cases that put pressure on the healthcare system and possibly lead to a return to higher alert levels.
“We have schools coming back, our high school students came back last week, and the elementary schools are coming back in a couple of weeks – we really need to keep cases as low as possible to allow that to happen.”
The number of cases will flatten or fall, or vaccination rates will approach the 90 percent target, it would be necessary to relax restrictions, he said. Morning report.
“The cabinet will consider the cuts,” Ardern said. Morning report.
“They are still what we are using as we work on vaccination rates up to 90 percent because that’s when we switch to the new one. [traffic light] Marco and that’s when we have certainty for people, “Ardern said.
“Once we get to 90 percent, that’s when the certainty is. Between times, what we are considering are cuts and we will consider them today.”
Ardern dismissed criticism that he had not traveled to Auckland to see the pressures of the shutdown firsthand.
“There is not a time when I am not thinking about how I can safely bring Auckland back to life, not for a moment,” he said.
Ardern said he worked regularly with healthcare teams and business leaders in Auckland.
If she traveled there, it would remove her from Parliament for five days under Covid rules and affect her responsibility in the debating chamber and in front of the media, she said.
“I need to make sure I am executing the response and not doing anything that restricts my ability to continue leading the response.
“I don’t think you can really appreciate it without being there all the time. I don’t think a one-day visit gives me a sense of what everyone has been through.”
On National’s call for a commission of inquiry into Delta’s response, Ardern said it was not a reasonable request.
“Right now our response is the most important rather than an investigation into it.”
Ardern said the vaccination certificates will be ready in time to move to the new traffic light system, but there was also the ability to run a certificate system earlier, even if it wasn’t fully digitally enabled at first.
The next stage for Auckland and parts of Waikato, step 2, which allows retailers to open, does not require vaccine certificates.