Public Health Expert

COVID-19 and the law in Aotearoa NZ

Public Health Expert Jul 06, 2020

Louise Delany (public health lawyer) Health and emergency laws have played a critical role in this country’s successful elimination of community transmission of the COVID-19 pandemic. This blog details key aspects of the legislation and comments on issues around testing, payments by incoming travellers for quarantine costs, and mask use. The implementation of law relating to COVID-19 has meant that … Read More

Kiwi public health doc reporting back from Victoria (Australia): “Do quarantine well!”

Public Health Expert Jul 03, 2020

A bit like a letter home. I have now been full-time at the University of Melbourne since 2019. Before that, I was 20 years at the University of Otago, Wellington. Indeed, I set up this very Public Health Expert Blog with Nick Wilson ten years ago. Now I am your Australian correspondent.   Life as an epidemiologist and public health … Read More

Eliminate the pandemic virus causing COVID-19 or risk an animal reservoir

Public Health Expert Jul 01, 2020

Prof John Potter* Elimination has been an effective strategy for New Zealand in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic virus (SARS-CoV-2). Most other countries have not pursued this goal and are ignoring the opportunity even now. SARS-CoV-2 is not manageable by the influenza playbook; its longer incubation period makes tracing and isolation more practicable and puts elimination within reach. There … Read More

Pandemic terminology: getting it right matters for effective risk communication and management

Public Health Expert Jun 30, 2020

Prof Nick Wilson, Dr Amanda Kvalsvig, Prof Michael Baker Compared with other OECD countries NZ is a stand-out success story by ending community transmission of COVID-19. While there have been some well-publicised recent deficiencies (eg, quarantine organisation), there has still been no evidence of community transmission for many weeks. Nevertheless, further improvements in NZ’s response are possible and in this … Read More

Preventing Outbreaks of COVID-19 in NZ Associated with Air Travel from Australia: New Modelling Study of Alternatives to Quarantine

Public Health Expert Jun 17, 2020

Prof Nick Wilson, Prof Michael Baker, Prof Martin Eichner (*author details) In this new study, we estimated the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks associated with air travel from Australia (with a low prevalence of COVID-19 infection) to NZ. We found that the combined use of exit and entry screening, two PCR tests (on days 3 and 12 in NZ), mask … Read More

After the new law for smokefree cars for Kiwi kids, what next?

Public Health Expert Jun 04, 2020

George Thomson, Nick Wilson, Richard Edwards This blog discusses the passing of the Smoke-free Environments (Prohibiting Smoking in Motor Vehicles Carrying Children) Amendment Act last week. We briefly review some lessons from this legislation’s long journey and explore future smokefree possibilities in Aotearoa / New Zealand.   A law providing smokefree cars for children is a matter for … Read More

Monitoring and Forecasting the COVID-19 Pandemic in New Zealand Including the Successful Impact of the Lockdown

Public Health Expert May 22, 2020

Dr Jaijus Pallippadan-Johny1, Dr John McDermott2, Rodney Jones1 and Michael Duddin1 (1 Wigram Capital Advisors, Auckland; 2Motu Economic and Policy Research, Wellington) In this blog, we introduce our modelling approach to estimating the transmissibility of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic. We demonstrate the usefulness of the Wallinga model for the calculation of the effective reproduction number … Read More

Why a “mouth and nose” lockdown with masks might help avoid a “full body” lockdown at home

Public Health Expert May 20, 2020

Prof Nick Wilson, Dr Sophie Febery, Dr Ling Chan, Dr Jennifer Summers, Prof Michael Baker The concepts of an Alert Level system, household “bubbles”, and social event size limits are all valuable pandemic control measures. Nevertheless, better “source control” of COVID-19 at various Alert Levels by requiring masks in public indoor spaces could reduce the risk of outbreaks (should there … Read More

The Strong Case for Mask Requirements in Public Transportation and Border Control Settings in NZ’s Current COVID-19 Pandemic Context

Public Health Expert May 11, 2020

Prof Nick Wilson, Dr Sophie Febery, Dr Ling Chan, Dr Amanda Kvalsvig, Prof Michael Baker In this blog we identify six likely benefits from requiring fabric mask use in public transportation and border control settings in the “peri-elimination” context that New Zealand is currently in. Given these likely benefits and the relatively low costs (especially if the Government provides free … Read More