COVID-19

A year on from the arrival of COVID-19 in NZ: 5 lessons for 2021 and beyond

Guest Author Feb 26, 2021

Michael Baker, University of Otago; Amanda Kvalsvig, University of Otago, and Nick Wilson, University of Otago Exactly one year ago today (February 26) the first confirmed case of COVID-19 arrived in Aotearoa New Zealand. Identified only as “a person in their 60s recently returned from Iran”, the case marked the beginning of an extraordinary period in the life of … Read More

No internet, no vaccine: How lack of internet access has limited vaccine availability for racial and ethnic minorities

Guest Author Feb 17, 2021

Tamra Burns Loeb, University of California, Los Angeles; AJ Adkins-Jackson, Harvard University, and Arleen F. Brown, University of California, Los Angeles Racial and ethnic minority communities that lack internet access have been left behind in the race to get a COVID-19 vaccine. The average monthly cost of internet access, about US$70, can be out of reach for those … Read More

Would ‘COVID loans’ be a more affordable and sustainable way to support national economies?

Guest Author Feb 17, 2021

Richard Meade, Auckland University of Technology Faced with a COVID-19 pandemic of unknown severity and duration, governments around the world are looking for effective and sustainable ways to maintain economic confidence and employment. Even New Zealand, where lockdowns have been few and short-lived, is confronting the reality of repeated lockdowns, especially since the United Kingdom variant has now been … Read More

Why more contagious variants are emerging now, more than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic

Guest Author Feb 16, 2021

David Welch, University of Auckland; Jemma Geoghegan, University of Otago; Joep de Ligt, ESR, and Nigel French, Massey University New variants of SARS-CoV-2 have now evaded New Zealand’s border protections twice to spread into the community. In the most recent outbreak, which placed Auckland into an alert level 3 lockdown, there are three active community cases of the … Read More

10am brunch, 1pm Kmart: when the media pokes fun at someone’s lifestyle, it’s harder for the next person to get COVID tested

Guest Author Feb 15, 2021

Clare Southerton, UNSW and Marianne Clark, UNSW In countries like Australia where infection rates remain relatively low, contact tracing is a crucial defence in our fight against COVID-19. We’ve seen this recently in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth, and now we’re seeing it in Melbourne as Victorian health authorities battle to contain the Holiday Inn outbreak. Read More

Close contact test results will be crucial to whether Auckland’s level 3 lockdown is extended beyond three days

Guest Author Feb 15, 2021

Michael Plank, University of Canterbury; Shaun Hendy, University of Auckland, and Siouxsie Wiles, University of Auckland New Zealand’s latest community cases, the first to be infected with the more infectious B.1.1.7 variant of COVID-19, have a plausible link to the border through one person’s workplace at LSG Sky Chefs, a business that deals with laundry and catering from international … Read More

It’s still too soon for NZ to relax COVID-19 border restrictions for travellers from low-risk countries

Guest Author Feb 06, 2021

Michael Plank, University of Canterbury and Shaun Hendy, University of Auckland Relaxing border restrictions for travellers from low COVID-19 risk countries would increase the risk of community cases in New Zealand by around 25%, says an article published yesterday in the New Zealand Medical Journal. This might not sound like a big increase in risk, but it means breaches … Read More

NZ needs an evolving pandemic strategy if it’s to keep the public’s trust

Guest Author Feb 01, 2021

Bernard Walker, University of Canterbury Kiwis know what it’s like when life throws curveballs. We’ve had major quakes, floods, fires, an eruption, a terrorist attack and now a pandemic. In those situations, it’s the ability to collectively “get the smarts”, to devise clever, adaptable responses, that really makes a difference. But the challenge now is to keep doing the smart … Read More

The big barriers to global vaccination: patent rights, national self-interest and the wealth gap

Guest Author Jan 21, 2021

Ilan Noy, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington and Ami Neuberger, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology We will not be able to put the COVID-19 pandemic behind us until the world’s population is mostly immune through vaccination or previous exposure to the disease. A truly global vaccination campaign, however, would look very different from what we are … Read More

The cold supply chain can’t reach everywhere – that’s a big problem for equitable COVID-19 vaccination

Guest Author Jan 19, 2021

Timothy Ford, University of Massachusetts Lowell and Charles M. Schweik, University of Massachusetts Amherst To mitigate health inequities and promote social justice, coronavirus vaccines need to get to underserved populations and hard-to-reach communities. There are few places in the U.S. that are unreachable by road, but other factors – many rural hospitals can’t afford ultralow-temperature freezers or might … Read More