Public Health Expert

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

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