Public Health Expert

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

The need for a robust scientific definition for the elimination of COVID-19 from New Zealand

Public Health Expert May 05, 2020

Prof Michael Baker, Prof Nick Wilson, Prof Shaun Hendy, Prof David Skegg New Zealand is making good progress towards its elimination goal for COVID-19 at the country-level. In this blog we present the case for a scientific definition of elimination to help guide our national COVID-19 response. The definition must be objectively verifiable, with appropriate levels of testing … Read More

What we would like to see on the Ministry of Health’s website to better inform progress on COVID-19 elimination

Public Health Expert May 03, 2020

Gordon Purdie, Nick Wilson, Michael G Baker In this blog we analyse data from the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 website and display a key graph that we think should be routinely on that website. We also detail a potentially more useful way to categorise case data so that the public and research community can better track progress on the … Read More

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Why NZ should consider adopting “mass masking” as an additional step to speed elimination of the Covid-19 pandemic

Public Health Expert Apr 22, 2020

Dr Ling Chan, Dr Sophie Febery Widespread public mask use is common in some Asian countries as a control measure in the current Covid-19 pandemic. There is some suggestive laboratory and epidemiological evidence of benefit for such mask use. Since the costs of mass masking are relatively low and there are no apparent substantial down-sides, it should be given … Read More

Why eliminating Covid-19 is critical: Since more waves of infection, hospitalisations and deaths are inevitable for other countries until a vaccine arrives

Public Health Expert Apr 19, 2020

Prof Rod Jackson (Epidemiologist, Auckland University) There are really only three ways that a population can beat Covid-19. 1. Eliminate the virus and keep infected people out (the approach NZ is taking) 2. Allow a sufficient proportion of the population to get infected and become immune to re-infection so there are no longer enough non-immune people to allow the virus … Read More

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We need rapid progress on digital solutions to help eliminate COVID-19 from New Zealand

Public Health Expert Apr 15, 2020

Dr Tim Chambers, Prof Nick Wilson, Prof Michael Baker In this blog, we discuss some of the emerging technologies New Zealand could adopt to support the country’s COVID-19 elimination strategy. We argue for the prioritisation of technologies to assist with contact tracing, border controls, early diagnosis and surveillance. These technologies present major benefits for the collective effort against COVID-19 … Read More

COVID-19 and Māori health – when equity is more than a word

Public Health Expert Apr 14, 2020

Dr Paula King,1 Dr Donna Cormack,2,1 Dr Melissa McLeod,3 Associate Professor Ricci Harris,1 Dr Jason Gurney,3 (1Te Rōpū Rangahau Hauora a Eru Pōmare, University of Otago; 2Te Kupenga Hauora Māori, The University of Auckland; 3Department of Public Health, University of Otago). As Māori academics, researchers and health professionals, we are extremely concerned about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our … Read More

Testing for COVID-19 in NZ to Achieve the Elimination Goal

Public Health Expert Apr 06, 2020

Nick Wilson,1 Ayesha Verrall,1,2 Len Cook,3 Alistair Gray,3 Amanda Kvalsvig,1 Michael Baker,1 (1epidemiologists, 2infectious disease physician, 3statisticians) In this blog, we raise ideas for how New Zealand might optimise testing to both identify cases in the community as part of the COVID-19 elimination strategy, and to confirm when the virus has been completely eliminated from the country. These are … Read More