With the easing of the lockdown for the rest of New Zealand, Auckland became the front line.

By Michael Planck and Sean Handy. Conversation


Analysis – The number of new cases in the New Zealand Delta outbreak is now on the decline and we have a good chance of eliminating it, until tomorrow lockdown restrictions will be eased in most parts of the country.

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After an increase in the number of cases during the weekend of August 28-29, the Ministry of Health only reported. 20 new cases for three consecutive days., Most of whom were already isolated during their infectious period.

This downward trend indicates that there are Alert Level 4 restrictions and contact tracking is working, bringing the Delta variant’s effective reproductive number down to 1.

Our Latest estimates Suggest that the R number is approximately 0. 0.4, which is very close to the observed value. Spread March-April 2020.The last time the whole country was under the worst lockdown.

We know that Delta is twice as contagious as the original wild species, but Level 4 lockdown measures have so far proved to be just as effective.

This may come as a surprise, given that two Australian states, New South Wales and Victoria, have failed to control the spread of the delta. The number R in New South Wales has been consistently above 1 for more than two months, leading to a record number of infections and The health system is under a lot of pressure..

New Zealand can still end the current epidemic, but with the Delta variety, nothing is guaranteed and we cannot be satisfied.

Additional reservations.

From Wednesday, restrictions will be eased for New Zealanders living outside of Auckland. The new “Delta Alert Level 2” includes some additional safety measures, including mandatory use of masks and keeping records, a distance of two meters in most public places, and a limit of 50 people inside and 100 people outside. ۔

Some people will be disappointed with the ongoing sanctions as there are no existing cases in many parts of the country. But it is important to remember that we cannot completely seal Auckland from the rest of New Zealand.

Essential workers still need to travel, and supermarkets have to move goods across the country to keep stock. Regular Examination of essential workers The need to exceed the threshold has been introduced to reduce the risk. But there is no water tight limit and just because most areas have been cleared of cobwebs does not guarantee that no case will come up.

Additional restrictions will reduce the risk of outbreaks such as lockdown triggers. This is the key to avoiding another explosive epidemic in different parts of the country, which could send us all back into one square.

Even with additional restrictions, Alert Level 2 is unlikely to prevent an outbreak, so it is a calculated risk. We need a higher rate of community testing in all areas. Combined with extensive wastewater testing, this will help us to pick up any cases that come out of Auckland before they have a chance to spread too far.

How long will Auckland have to wait?

If the virus finds its way into important workplaces, it can cause re-emergence and significantly prolong the epidemic. Both New South Wales and Victoria feel their delta epidemic is under control, just to see if the number of cases grows again as a virus. Spread to essential workers..

The best way to prevent this is to take down the case numbers as soon as possible. This means that everyone is trying to deny any chance of the virus spreading. In other words, Aucklanders will need to stick to their bubbles.

On the current trend, case numbers could be in single digits next week. If all new cases are close contacts that have been isolated during their infectious period, Auckland could safely go to Alert Level 3.

However, it is also possible that the epidemic may have a long tail. Every time Delta enters a new home, it rapidly affects everyone in the bubble. This could lead to a significant number of new cases and outbreaks. Again, denying any chance of finding new bubbles to infect the virus is the best way to get rid of it quickly.

Switching to low alert levels is a dangerous time. It only takes one case to ignite an uncontrollable transmission chain. Better a poor horse than no horse at all. Better a poor horse than no horse at all. Better a poor horse than no horse at all.

If we continue to do what we are doing, we have the best chance of ending this epidemic. This is our best strategy because it will reduce the impact on health and give us a chance to live in relative freedom while completing the vaccine rollout.

As experience in Australia shows, we need to fix that first. We can’t get another chance with Delta.

* Michael Planck is Professor of Applied Mathematics at Canterbury University and Sean Handy is Professor of Physics at Auckland University.

Disclosure Statement

Michael Planck is affiliated with the University of Canterbury and is funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and Te Pūnaha Matatini, New Zealand’s Center for Research Excellence in Complex Systems.

Sean Handy is affiliated with the University of Auckland and has received funding for complex systems from the Ministry of Commerce, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and Te Pūnaha Matatini, New Zealand’s Center for Research Excellence.


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