Health and Medicine

How to strengthen the post-isolation Covid rules - Infectious Thoughts

Siouxsie Wiles Sep 21, 2020

Over the weekend, the Ministry of Health reported a case of Covid-19 in Auckland that is not related to the current Auckland cluster. Before we start to panic, here’s how I think the case happened and how we can strengthen our current border controls. The new Covid-19 case is someone who returned to New Zealand from India on August 27. Read More

How the PCR test works and why it’s such a critical weapon against Covid-19 - Infectious Thoughts

Siouxsie Wiles Sep 21, 2020

I’ve been asked by several people in recent days whether there is any truth to a video about the Covid-19 PCR test that is currently doing the rounds on social media. I’m not linking to it, because it is chock full of false information; the fewer people who see it the better. It is by a medical doctor who talks … Read More

Euthanasia referendum: How to cut through the emotions - Guest Work

Guest Author Sep 18, 2020

Jacqui Maguire, registered clinical psychologist This podcast episode highlights how difficult it is to have effective conversations about euthanasia due to how polarised people’s views are. I’m a clinical psychologist, with a passion for science communication. In early 2020 I founded the podcast Mind Brew, with an aim to make psychological research accessible for New Zealanders to foster … Read More

The 2019 measles epidemic in Samoa - Tuhia ki te rangi

Guest Author Sep 14, 2020

Gabrielle Po-Ching In November 1918, the cargo and passenger ship Talune travelled to Apia, Samoa from Auckland, carrying a number of passengers who had pneumonic influenza. From these passengers stemmed the biggest pandemic Samoa had ever seen. With around 8,500 deaths, over 20% of the country’s population at the time had been wiped out. Just over a century later, … Read More

Shifting all Isolation/Quarantine Facilities to a Single Air Force Base: The Need for a Critical Analysis - Public Health Expert

Public Health Expert Sep 14, 2020

Prof Nick Wilson*, Prof Michael Baker In this blog the arguments for and against shifting all COVID-19 related isolation/quarantine facilities to a single air force base at Ōhakea are considered. The main advantage would be a reduction in the risk of border control failures, which can potentially involve outbreaks in NZ’s largest cities with large health and economic … Read More

Five things we know about COVID-19, and five we don’t - COVID-19

Robert Hickson Sep 11, 2020

Five things we’ve learnt 1. We know where the virus ultimately came from We know that the virus originally came from bats, and most probably a species of horseshoe bat in South East Asia. However, the spike protein in SARS-CoV-2, which allows the virus to attach to cells and infect them, is more different than those from horseshoe bat … Read More

Pressing the pause button after an adverse event happens to a vaccine trial participant - Diplomatic Immunity

Helen Petousis Harris Sep 09, 2020

Today AstraZeneca pushed the pause button on its late-stage trials of a COVID-19 vaccine. A clinical trial participant has experienced a serious health event and an investigation is underway to determine the cause. What does it mean? A cautious approach – trials can halt to assess safety data With over 200 COVID-19 vaccines now under development … Read More

Is Euthanasia a health priority for New Zealand at present? - Public Health Expert

Public Health Expert Sep 09, 2020

Dr Ben Gray* This blog discusses what will be needed to operationalise the End of Life Choice Act in the event that it is approved at referendum. It argues that this will take significant resources. Judging by the experience in Oregon it is likely that this may only benefit a small number of older educated white people. The health … Read More

Tax policy as a key health determinant: Reform for the Covid-19 reset - Public Health Expert

Public Health Expert Sep 07, 2020

Louise Delany,* Assoc Prof George Thomson Tax provides revenue for the collective societal services that are critical for the prevention and management of Covid-19. Tax is the way we all share our resources in contributing to a healthy, decent and just society. Tax reform options should be included in pre-election party proposals. More importantly, we need to continue to talk … Read More

Research shows Māori are more likely to die from COVID-19 than other New Zealanders - COVID-19

Guest Author Sep 04, 2020

Michael Plank, University of Canterbury; Andrew Sporle; Kate Hannah; Melissa McLeod, University of Otago, and Nicholas Steyn The risk of dying from COVID-19 is at least 50% higher for Māori than New Zealanders from European backgrounds, according to our study published today. Māori and Pacific populations are historically at greater risk of hospitalisation and death from pandemics. During the … Read More