Health and Medicine

Coronavirus update: spread outside China and a new name - Infectious Thoughts

Siouxsie Wiles Feb 16, 2020

With over 69,000 confirmed cases and 1,600 deaths, here’s your round-up of the latest coronavirus news. New disease and virus have now officially been named On the 11th February, the WHO Director General announced a new name for the disease: COVID-19 which is short for coronavirus disease 2019. The naming follows the WHO’s commitment not to call diseases after … Read More

Getting Through Together: Ethical Values for a Pandemic - Public Health Expert

Public Health Expert Feb 14, 2020

Ruth Cunningham, Charlotte Paul, Andrew Moore Public health responses to infectious diseases such as COVID-19 require us to draw on our common humanity and be explicit about our values. Recognising this will help us make good decisions in difficult situations so that, for example, the need to impose restrictive measures and to protect ourselves does not conflict with fairness, respect, … Read More

NZ Should Prepare for a Potentially Severe Global Coronavirus Pandemic - Public Health Expert

Public Health Expert Feb 10, 2020

Prof Nick Wilson, Prof Michael Baker In this blog we briefly summarise our assessment of the highly uncertain new coronavirus threat. Given its potential to become a severe and prolonged global pandemic, a precautionary response now means activating all components of our pandemic plan, with a particular focus on ‘keep it out’. NZ has many natural and institutional advantages in … Read More

Is 2019-nCov a pangolin coronavirus? - Code for life

Grant Jacobs Feb 08, 2020

Tonight’s news suggests the coronavirus outbreak may have originated from pangolins. Details are very sketchy, almost nothing at all beyond a claim of high similarity. My impression is this claim comes from a press release by South China Agricultural University. Initial discussion online suggests this is a more likely candidate for an intermediate host than previous speculations. It is also … Read More

A preventable measles epidemic: Lessons for reforming public health in NZ - Public Health Expert

Public Health Expert Feb 05, 2020

Prof Michael Baker, Prof Nick Wilson, Louise Delany, Prof Richard Edwards, Prof Philippa Howden-Chapman The current national measles epidemic in New Zealand is amongst the largest we have experienced in the last 40 years. It can be linked to the problems created by long-term erosion and fragmentation of national public health capacity. Fortunately, the present Health and Disability System Review … Read More

Coronavirus: travel restrictions now in place for New Zealand - Infectious Thoughts

Siouxsie Wiles Feb 02, 2020

With reports that several people in New Zealand have been tested for suspected coronavirus – they were all negative – and the WHO declaring the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, our government has just announced entry restrictions for foreign nationals arriving from or transiting through mainland China.   A Public Health Emergency of International Concern … Read More

Coronavirus update: drug trials and asymptomatic spread - Infectious Thoughts

Siouxsie Wiles Feb 02, 2020

Now officially a Public Health Emergency of International Concern here’s my second round-up of some of the week’s coronavirus-related news. Gilead announces they are working with Chinese to test their antiviral drug remdesivir On the 31st January, pharmaceutical company Gilead announced they are working with health authorities in China to establish a randomized, controlled trial to see if … Read More

The 2019-nCov coronavirus outbreak: all together now - Code for life

Grant Jacobs Feb 01, 2020

There’s so much being reported about the ‘Wuhan’ 2019-nCov coronavirus outbreak it’s confusing. Here’s an outline of some aspects of what scientists are looking at, some places to follow the story, and a few tips for reading the science. Yesterday Tedros Ghebreyesus, the Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) wrote, calling for a public health emergency – … Read More

A Public Health Emergency of International Concern – coronavirus update - Infectious Thoughts

Siouxsie Wiles Feb 01, 2020

With reports that someone in Auckland is being tested for the novel coronavirus, and the WHO declaring the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern here’s my first round-up of some of the week’s coronavirus-related news. New Zealand’s first case? Update 02/02/2020: Test came back negative. Also in the RNZ report is the information that so … Read More

The coronavirus outbreak: what is R0? - Code for life

Grant Jacobs Jan 29, 2020

There are a few misunderstandings about the coronavirus outbreak from Wuhan getting around. Below is a short explanation of one of them: what is R0, and what does it mean. Current estimates for R0 centre around the mid 2s—call it 2.5 or thereabouts—not the higher values some are scare-mongering online. In following posts I may explain other things—if … Read More