COVID-19

With COVID cases still in the thousands, why are some so keen to ditch the things that kept New Zealand safe?

Guest Author Apr 04, 2022

Dougal Sutherland, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced New Zealand will remain at the red traffic light setting, but other public health mandates created to control COVID-19 will still be lifted, contributing to the sense that there’s light at the end of the tunnel after two years. But many New Zealanders … Read More

Brains are bad at big numbers, making it impossible to grasp what a million COVID-19 deaths really means

Guest Author Apr 04, 2022

Lindsey Hasak, Stanford University and Elizabeth Y. Toomarian, Stanford University As of April 2022, there have been nearly 1 million confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. For most people, visualizing what a million of anything looks like is an impossible task. The human brain just isn’t built to comprehend such large numbers. We are two neuroscientists who study the … Read More

No, catching Omicron is not ‘inevitable’ – here’s why we should all still avoid the virus

Guest Author Mar 09, 2022

David Welch, University of Auckland and Nigel French, Massey University Aotearoa New Zealand has entered new COVID territory, characterised by high vaccination rates but also the rapid spread of the Omicron variant and rising numbers of hospitalisations. As we approach the peak of this wave, some have suggested it would be better to drop remaining public health measures, … Read More

Air hygiene: how re-thinking air quality will help protect us from this and the next pandemic

Guest Author Feb 25, 2022

Ian David Longley, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Our complacency about indoor air contributed to our vulnerability to COVID-19, and we’ll continue to be vulnerable to COVID and other emerging threats until we re-think how we share our air. Humans are social; we need to be with each other. That’s what made us vulnerable. Our first defences against … Read More

School anxiety in the time of COVID: how parents and teachers can help kids cope

Guest Author Feb 10, 2022

Christine Grové, Monash University and Kelly-Ann Allen, Monash University   With COVID-related school closures and long periods of remote learning, many kids across Australia have not physically been at school for most of the past two years. Because of the time away, some children might get extremely upset about going back, some might try to avoid school, while others … Read More

5 ways to tackle ignorance about evidence during and after the COVID-19 pandemic

Guest Author Feb 09, 2022

John N. Lavis, McMaster University Some political leaders — the Jair Bolsonaros and Donald Trumps of the world — have given the public the impression that they’re at war with the scientific community. They’ve wilfully ignored evidence and trafficked in misinformation in ways that have led to botched pandemic responses and cost the lives of millions. But … Read More

An investment in clean indoor air would do more than help us fight COVID – it would help us concentrate, with lasting benefits

Guest Author Feb 09, 2022

Peter Martin, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University Sometimes the best things you can do are invisible. Such as fighting cholera by ensuring drinking water wasn’t contaminated by sewage, as happened in London in the 1840s. Or setting up an emissions trading scheme, which drove emissions down, despite former prime minister Tony Abbott attacking it … Read More

Critically understaffed and with Omicron looming, why isn’t NZ employing more of its foreign-trained doctors?

Guest Author Feb 08, 2022

Johanna Thomas-Maude, Massey University and Sharon McLennan, Massey University New Zealand’s critical shortage of specialist nurses made headlines again this week, but it’s not the country’s only pressing medical need. The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) has estimated almost 3,000 more GPs and specialist doctors, and 12,000 more nurses, are needed to match Australia’s per-capita staffing … Read More

New Zealand’s border quarantine has intercepted thousands of COVID cases, but is it time to retire the flawed system?

Guest Author Feb 03, 2022

Michael Plank, University of Canterbury; Audrey Lustig, Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research; Giorgia Vattiato, University of Canterbury, and Shaun Hendy, University of Auckland The controversy surrounding New Zealand journalist Charlotte Bellis, who has now accepted a place in border quarantine after initially seeking refuge in Afghanistan when her first application was declined, has highlighted confusion and concern over New … Read More

The most challenging phase of the Omicron outbreak is yet to come, but New Zealand may be better prepared than other countries

Guest Author Feb 02, 2022

Matthew Hobbs, University of Canterbury; Anna Howe, University of Auckland, and Lukas Marek, University of Canterbury Within a month of the first community exposure to Omicron in Aotearoa New Zealand, the variant has already become the dominant strain of COVID-19. We are yet to see the rapid and steep rise in new Omicron cases that has been predicted. This … Read More