Public Health Expert

COVID-19 in Aotearoa: what does public health do now?

Public Health Expert Oct 18, 2021

Dr Belinda Loring, Dr Ruth Cunningham, Dr Polly Atatoa Carr* Public health activities have collectively made an incredible contribution to minimising the impact of COVID-19 in Aotearoa. But the work for public health is not over. As the situation in Auckland heralds a transition point in our approach to the pandemic, the challenge now is to be bold and clear … Read More

Urgent measures needed to allow the safe re-opening of Auckland schools

Public Health Expert Oct 11, 2021

Dr Rachel Webb, Dr Jin Russell, Dr Pip Anderson, Dr Emma Best, Dr Alison Leversha and Dr Subha Rajanaidu* In this blog we describe the range of urgent measures that are needed to facilitate a safe return to schools in Auckland and other regions of the country where there is ongoing community transmission of COVID-19. These include very high vaccination … Read More

The Need for an Updated Strategic Approach to Covid-19 Control in Aotearoa NZ

Public Health Expert Oct 09, 2021

Prof Nick Wilson, Dr Jennifer Summers, Prof Michael Baker* The NZ Government appears to have drifted into an unclear strategic approach to Covid-19 control. In this blog we outline one potential way forward: a regional strategic approach that considers “regional suppression” and “regional elimination”. To maximise the success of this strategy, NZ would need to ensure tighter internal borders. Fortunately, … Read More

Using Rapid Antigen Tests to Improve COVID-19 Control in Aotearoa NZ

Public Health Expert Oct 07, 2021

Figure 1: Rapid Antigen Test kit given out freely from the NHS in the UK Dr Jennifer Summers, Assoc Prof James Ussher, Assoc Prof Nikki Moreland, Dr Leah Grout, Prof Nick Wilson, Prof Michael Baker* Most COVID-19 testing aims to identify infected people. To date, Aotearoa NZ has relied almost exclusively on Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests (NAATs) for this purpose. Read More

Five actions to support New Zealand’s Covid-19 response, with a focus on Auckland

Public Health Expert Oct 03, 2021

Prof Michael Baker, Prof Sue Crengle, Assoc Prof Collin Tukuitonga, Sarah Helm, Dr Amanda Kvalsvig, Prof Nick Wilson* Regardless of whether Auckland returns to Covid-19 elimination or transitions to a suppression approach, there are critical actions that can be taken to strengthen pandemic control measures, including: (1) Enhancing Covid-19 control in groups who experience deprivation and marginalisation; this is key … Read More

In May 2022 the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020 expires: what then?

Public Health Expert Sep 30, 2021

Louise Delany* The COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020 (‘Covid Act’) expires on 13 May 2022. A further time-limited legal framework will be needed to support Covid policy. A new Bill will require public submissions and thorough consideration by a parliamentary select committee. The Government should begin discussions now with relevant groups, so that the new Bill is ready for … Read More

Making the Most of Masks

Public Health Expert Sep 17, 2021

Dr Nitasha Rimar, Dr Lucy Telfar Barnard, Dr Amanda Kvalsvig, Lesley Gray, Prof Michael Baker  Masks and vaccination have a central role in minimising the health and economic impact of COVID-19, regardless of the long-term strategy we use against the pandemic. These interventions depend on both good performance and high population coverage.  Here we update evidence on mask effectiveness and … Read More

Lessons learned from a remote blood pressure lowering trial in Aotearoa

Public Health Expert Sep 16, 2021

Helen Eyles, Jacqui Grey, Elaine Umali, Cliona Ni Mhurchu Technologies such as smartphone apps, Wi-Fi-enabled data collection devices, and web-based data management systems offer the opportunity to deliver and assess the impact of clinical trials remotely, something which researchers are becoming increasingly drawn to.  However, there are drawbacks, and even experienced teams will encounter challenges.  In this blog we share … Read More

Intensifying Covid-19 Control Measures: 5 Measures for Faster Elimination and 5 Measures to Prevent Future outbreaks

Public Health Expert Sep 16, 2021

Prof Nick Wilson, Dr Julie Bennett, Dr Leah Grout, Dr Jin Russell, Dr Jennifer Summers, Prof Michael Baker   Despite some good progress, the persisting Covid-19 outbreak in Auckland still poses risks to health, social wellbeing and the economy. There is a need for accelerated efforts to ensure more rapid elimination of community transmission. In this blog we look at … Read More

Improving ventilation in schools: a key protection against Covid-19 outbreaks and an enduring legacy for healthier learning

Public Health Expert Sep 10, 2021

Dr Amanda Kvalsvig, Dr Julie Bennett, Dr Jin Russell, Dr Jennifer Summers, Dr Leah Grout, Prof Michael Baker, and Prof Nick Wilson* As much of the country moves down Alert Levels, children are returning to in-person learning with little or no protection against the potential spread of Covid-19 infection in schools. It is therefore critical that ventilation is improved in … Read More