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Auckland can’t afford to wait at level 4 for high vaccination rates – immunologist

Although widespread vaccination is the only long-term way to prevent CoV 19, a well-known immunologist says that immunization should not be the only factor in ending the rate reduction strategy.

Central Auckland on the afternoon of August 27.

Central Auckland on the afternoon of August 27.
Image: RNZ / Robert Smith

Professor Graham Lee Gross, director of the Malagan Institute of Medical Research and program director of the Vaccine Alliance, says the social and economic pressures and the extent to which people can cope with sanctions should also determine when to end them.

“It’s just an incident that crossed the border and saw catastrophe, a month of lockdowns, a billion dollar week that is not sustainable in the long run and all the pressures that people are under … family issues, school , Catastrophe for the economy and additional health issues.

“People are not getting their colonoscopy, their skin melanoma, heart check-ups, these are all really important health issues.”

Le Gross says reaching 85-90 percent of the population’s vaccination rate will be an important step towards opening up the country.

“It would be great because the first goal was to make all the weak people safe and then we go to the little ones.

“I think then we can be reassured that we can somehow deal with this virus in our community because you have realized that this Delta virus is good, we are not much aware of it. “

If the epidemic cannot be contained, Le Gross says the health system must now be in a position to deal with the consequences.

“Although we are talking about the collapse of hospital systems, I am sure they will be working on the infectious critical care units of the nursing system and the handling of such and such things. He had a year, so hopefully he’ll be in place. “

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Professor Graham Lee Gross.
Image: Provided

He says Auckland Alert cannot afford to stay at Level 4 unless 85-90% of the population is vaccinated.

“I think that’s where the economic, other health problems and social pressures really start to come into play. I am able to withstand the great effects of this virus.

“I’m not throwing out the elimination yet … the virus.”

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff, meanwhile, believes lowering the alert level this week seems increasingly unlikely. Mysterious cases of the virus were found at Middlemore Hospital..

But if the warning level is coming down, not on the card, there is a new conflict of local business confidence.

Phil Goff says City Hall will look to the central government for help as the country’s largest city has the longest lockdown ever.

“I think we need to stay on this path. We have just sacrificed four weeks and we will not raise the level of warning if there is still a risk that covid infection can spread in the community but every day. Over the first four weeks, there has been increasing pressure on people and businesses with level 4 warnings.

“Business is there where the pace of economic recovery is better than we expected from the previous lockdown, unemployment was lower, we got good economic growth but you can’t stop business and people work without real economic cost,” he said. Can’t stop We are gathering a lot of things that the government may need to consider. “

Phil Goff spoke to the media after the cabinet's decision to extend the Level 3 lockdown in Auckland.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff.
Image: RNZ / Dan Cook

Goff says some Auckland business owners are calling for government aid payments to be raised to Alert Level 2.

“There are a lot of things that are really helpful right now, such as the payment of maintenance assistance and the wage subsidy. There’s been some discussion around the business community in Auckland that Can be paid weekly instead.

“I think the government is under pressure from everyone, they don’t have endless funds, but I think it’s appropriate that any part of the country is helped by a high level of burden.”

Goff says the lockdown is hurting the pockets of extremely vulnerable people, with demand for food bank parcels being 260-270% higher than the first lockdown.

“These are the most vulnerable communities that are finding it the hardest. You know the families who were only working for normal wages but when those wages go down because of the business they work for. He can’t work, he loses his ability. To live below the level of sustenance. “

Goff says the biggest challenge for Auckland now is around vaccinations.

“74% of the population has either had their first vaccination or booked for vaccination but now what do we do to reach these difficult and vaccine-reluctant communities so that we can reach the level we need?” ۔ “

Goff says health officials have been vaccinating about 25,000 people a day for the past three days.

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Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson.
Image: RNZ / Samuel Realstone

Ahead of today’s cabinet meeting to decide on any changes to the lockdown level, Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson says the number of cases is now just one factor in determining the status of the epidemic.

“It’s interesting with Delta that the total number of cases is really just a factor now because we know that with Delta that once it happens at home it affects a much larger number of people in the house, you There may be a lot of case numbers that could be related to one or two people’s homes. “

“What we are seeing are these so-called mysterious cases, cases that come to light that are not immediately linked to an existing case. Everything that happens every day is done to analyze these cases. “People are being interviewed. And a link has been found for a large number of them and so we have to continue this process.”

Robertson says the latest health ministry information on these mysterious cases will affect the government’s alert level decision.

“We have teased them. [mystery cases] Probably up to the three sub-clusters where this is happening at the moment so we will take a look at the advice received from the Ministry of Health today to the extent that they feel that mysterious matters are under control and this will be a factor in our decision making. I. “

Meanwhile, other parts of the country could potentially lower the alert level further, while Auckland is at level 4.

“It’s not impossible, but it’s something we have to look at very carefully and I think it’s for people outside of Auckland, especially for those living on the South Island, to even find themselves in Level 2. It’s been a frustrating long time

“It’s not about the South Island and do we think there’s an issue, it’s about the fact that we have an epidemic in Auckland that we haven’t fully controlled yet and the threat. Which can spread beyond that limit.

“If it spreads in a level 1 environment, it’s much harder to handle if it spreads in a level 2 environment where we get more restrictions here and there.”

Regarding the dangers of the virus spreading outside Auckland, Robertson says The couple traveled from Auckland to Wanaka in violation of lockdown rules. Put all New Zealanders in danger.

“[It’s] Possibly dangerous but more irresponsible and selfish than anything from my point of view.

“We are working really hard to have a limit that will help protect New Zealand as a whole, but if someone is going to make an excuse for something important and then go on vacation that is putting everyone at risk.”

Robertson acknowledged that the pair were an exception to the “widespread” Aucklanders based on lockdown laws.

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