COVID-19

What are the limits of dissent as NZ locks down, vaccinates and prepares to ‘open up’?

Guest Author Sep 01, 2021

Alexander Gillespie, University of Waikato   As New Zealand grapples to bring a Delta outbreak under control and to accelerate the vaccination rollout, social cohesion is vital for a successful elimination strategy. Political consensus on elimination has endured so far. Unlike the anti-mask and anti-vaccination movements elsewhere, most New Zealanders continue to back the prime minister’s decision to … Read More

South African health experts have identified a new lineage of SARS-CoV-2: what’s known so far

Guest Author Sep 01, 2021

Prof. Wolfgang Preiser, Stellenbosch University; Cathrine Scheepers, University of the Witwatersrand; Jinal Bhiman, National Institute for Communicable Diseases; Marietjie Venter, University of Pretoria; Penny Moore, University of the Witwatersrand, and Tulio de Oliveira, University of KwaZulu-Natal   As a team of South African researchers we have identified a new lineage of SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19. A lineage represents … Read More

Auckland is likely to remain in strict lockdown for several more weeks to stamp out NZ’s Delta outbreak

Guest Author Aug 26, 2021

Rachelle Binny, Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research; Michael Plank, University of Canterbury; Shaun Hendy, University of Auckland, and Siouxsie Wiles, University of Auckland As New Zealanders wait to hear if a nationwide level 4 lockdown continues beyond midnight on Friday, our latest modelling shows that the current Delta variant has spread much faster than last August’s outbreak, when around 90 … Read More

Unverified reports of vaccine side effects in VAERS aren’t the smoking guns portrayed by right-wing media outlets – they can offer insight into vaccine hesitancy

Guest Author Aug 26, 2021

Matt Motta, Oklahoma State University and Dominik Stecuła, Colorado State University   Chances are you may not be not familiar with the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, or VAERS. Co-managed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration, VAERS was established in 1990 to detect possible safety problems with vaccines. Unfortunately, the … Read More

What rights do NZ children and their parents have when giving consent to be vaccinated?

Guest Author Aug 25, 2021

Claire Breen, University of Waikato   With the government’s announcement last week that 12–to-15-year-olds can now receive the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19, New Zealand has joined a growing list of countries expanding their vaccination rollouts. A Ministry of Health survey in June found 58% of caregivers were likely to allow their 12–to-15-year-old children to be vaccinated, up … Read More

How will Delta evolve? Here’s what the theory tells us

Guest Author Aug 24, 2021

Hamish McCallum, Griffith University   The COVID-19 pandemic is a dramatic demonstration of evolution in action. Evolutionary theory explains much of what has already happened, predicts what will happen in the future and suggests which management strategies are likely to be the most effective. For instance, evolution explains why the Delta variant spreads faster than the original Wuhan strain. It … Read More

COVID cases are rising in highly vaccinated Israel. But it doesn’t mean Australia should give up and ‘live with’ the virus

Guest Author Aug 24, 2021

C Raina MacIntyre, UNSW   Israel has one of the highest COVID vaccination rates in the world, having fully vaccinated 78% of people 12 years and over. Many people are surprised at the country’s resurgence of COVID cases since restrictions were lifted in June. Israel’s vaccination rate is similar to Australia’s plan to start relaxing restrictions when 70% … Read More

Why rapid genome sequencing is key to finding out how long Delta has been in NZ, and how large this outbreak might be

Guest Author Aug 20, 2021

David Welch, University of Auckland; Jemma Geoghegan, and Nigel French, Massey University   We knew the Delta variant would eventually arrive in Aotearoa, but real-time sequencing, which produces full genomes from positive cases in less than 12 hours, will ensure the lockdown is as short and effective as possible. There are now 21 cases and we can expect more … Read More

New Zealanders haven’t been scanning in enough, and that contributed to the need for a full lockdown

Guest Author Aug 19, 2021

Andrew Chen, University of Auckland   Fast isolation of infected individuals is key to containing any outbreak of COVID-19, including the Delta variant, and contact tracing is a critical part of this process. Since the first case was confirmed on Tuesday, six more people have tested positive, including a fully vaccinated health worker at Auckland City Hospital and a … Read More

After its first suspected Delta variant community case, New Zealand goes into short, sharp nationwide lockdown

Guest Author Aug 18, 2021

Michael Plank, University of Canterbury   New Zealanders are back in their bubbles after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a three day alert level 4 lockdown for the entire country, and a seven day period for Auckland, following the confirmation of a community case — most likely infected with the Delta variant. This is the first community case since … Read More