COVID-19

Masking the outbreak: despite New Zealand’s growing COVID-19 cases, there are more ways to get back to elimination faster

Guest Author Aug 14, 2020

Nick Wilson, University of Otago; Amanda Kvalsvig, University of Otago, and Michael Baker, University of Otago As New Zealand enters its third day at heightened alert levels to contain a community outbreak of COVID-19, we expect it should only be a temporary setback. Four cases with no direct links to border or quarantine facilities were confirmed late on Tuesday. Read More

Why New Zealand needs to focus on genome sequencing to trace the source of its new COVID-19 outbreak

Guest Author Aug 14, 2020

David Welch Genetic surveillance — a technology that uses the genetic fingerprint of a virus to track its spread — is part of the public health response to New Zealand’s new COVID-19 community outbreak and could help pinpoint its source. There are now 17 cases of community transmission, all in Auckland, and health officials are treating the group as a … Read More

100 days without COVID-19: how New Zealand got rid of a virus that keeps spreading across the world

Guest Author Aug 07, 2020

Michael Baker, University of Otago; Amanda Kvalsvig, University of Otago, and Nick Wilson, University of Otago On Sunday, New Zealand will mark 100 days without community transmission of COVID-19. From the first known case imported into New Zealand on February 26 to the last case of community transmission detected on May 1, elimination took 65 days. New Zealand relied on … Read More

Should a COVID-19 vaccine be compulsory — and what would this mean for anti-vaxxers?

Guest Author Aug 07, 2020

Claire Breen, University of Waikato With COVID-19 vaccine developers reporting promising results, it is probable we will one day face a major public health question: can the government compel New Zealanders to be vaccinated? Just as inevitably, some people will refuse a vaccine. As we have seen overseas with debates over the wearing of masks, and more generally with … Read More

I’ve been talking to conspiracy theorists for 20 years – here are my six rules of engagement

Guest Author Jul 24, 2020

Jovan Byford, The Open University With prospects of a COVID-19 vaccine looking up, attention is also turning to the problem of anti-vax ideas. According to a recent survey, one in six Britons would refuse a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available. Although vaccine hesitancy is a complex problem with multiple causes, the number of conspiracy theories circulating … Read More

Coronavirus lockdown reduced seismic activity around the world – new study

Guest Author Jul 24, 2020

Paula Koelemeijer, Royal Holloway and Stephen Hicks, Imperial College London Seismic activity doesn’t just come from earthquakes, volcanoes and landslides. Everyday human activity also gives rise to vibrations that travel through the ground as seismic waves, something we call “anthropogenic noise”. When pandemic lockdown measures brought daily life to a standstill, it didn’t just change life at the surface and … Read More

There is no legal right to free quarantine — but there is a fair way to set the price

Guest Author Jul 22, 2020

Alexander Gillespie, University of Waikato Welcome home – now here’s your invoice. The debate over whether New Zealand should charge arriving Kiwis for quarantine has divided opinion, but one thing is clear: citizens and permanent residents have the right to return home. However, like many other liberties, this right can be subject to reasonable limits, especially during times of global … Read More

Immunity to COVID-19 may not last. This threatens a vaccine and herd immunity

Guest Author Jul 17, 2020

Nigel McMillan, Griffith University How is the world going to go back to the days when we could grab a coffee, see a movie, or attend a concert or footy game with anyone? Opinion suggests there are two options: an effective vaccine, or herd immunity via at least 60-80% of people becoming infected. Either one of these options requires that … Read More