A new analysis shows how New Zealand’s pandemic response has made it one of the lowest excess mortality rates in the world.Photo/Michael Craig
New Zealand has 3140 new community cases of Covid-19 and 17 virus-related deaths today.
373 people have been hospitalized with the virus, six of them in intensive care.
The reported fatalities today are 5 from Auckland, 3 from Waikato, 2 from Bay of Plenty, 2 from Hawke’s Bay, 1 from Whanganui, 2 from Nelson Marlborough and 1 from Canterbury, 1 from the south.
2 were in their 60s, 6 were in their 70s, 6 were in their 80s, and 3 were over 90.
Seven were women and ten were men.
Today’s rolling average is 3,303 cases, compared to last week’s average of 3,975 cases.
In terms of hospitalizations, the weekly average today is 436, compared to 541 last Wednesday.
A total of 1845 deaths in New Zealand have been confirmed attributable to Covid-19.
The weekly rolling average of increases in total deaths is 7.
Of the 3,140 new cases today, 147 have recently travelled abroad.
The locations of today’s hospitalized cases are Northland (6), Waitematā (52), Counties Manukau (25), Auckland (54), Waikato (62), Bay of Plenty (16), Lakes (11), Hawke’s Bay (17), MidCentral (20), Whanganui (2), Taranaki (10), Wairarapa (8), Capital & Coast (14), Hutt Valley (18), Nelson Marlborough (7), Canterbury (40), West Coast (1), South Canterbury (three) and Southland (seven).
The latest figures come after a new analysis shows how New Zealand’s pandemic response has made it one of the lowest excess mortality rates in the world – with thousands of extra deaths even in elimination countries such as Taiwan and Australia. published under the circumstances.
But the University of Otago public health expert who handles the data said the government could do more to keep New Zealanders safe as the coronavirus zero era dawned.
in the comments Post todayresearchers Dr. Jennifer Summers, Prof. Nick Wilson, Dr. Lucy Telfar Barnard, Dr. Julie Bennett, Dr. Amanda Kvalsvig and Prof. Michael Baker compared our mortality rate with five other high-income jurisdictions in the Asia-Pacific region.
They were Australia, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan, which used a mix of elimination and “suppression” to reduce infection rates before being overwhelmed by Omicron.
Like New Zealand, all of these jurisdictions use these tough tactics to vaccinate as many people as possible.
While Singapore emerged from elimination last July, South Korea continued to use controls such as isolation, quarantine, contact tracing and physical distancing, and managed to avoid a full lockdown.
While Japan has never effectively pursued elimination, it did impose lockdowns, as well as school closures and other generally adhered to public health measures.
As here, Omicron’s arrival eventually saw the reopening of borders, the relaxation of health measures, and the quarantine requirements of two other countries to which New Zealand was repeatedly compared: Australia and Taiwan.
While we’ve recorded 1.72 million cases — the actual number of infections may be over 3 million — and more than 1,700 virus-related deaths, the researchers found relatively low mortality rates in other jurisdictions.
South Korea experienced its biggest wave of the year, reaching about 7,814 cases per million population in mid-March.
That compares with 4,213 per million in Australia, which surged in January, and 4,294 per million in New Zealand at the peak of the first Omicron outbreak.
When the researchers looked at deaths, they found that South Korea and Taiwan had the highest death tolls, with rolling seven-day averages of seven and eight per million in late March and early June, respectively.
Japan and Singapore have seen smaller death rate spikes throughout the pandemic, but smaller spikes in Australia and New Zealand, which have just recorded their deadliest week for Covid-19.
In terms of cumulative Covid-19 deaths, Australia and South Korea reported the highest totals at 516 and 504 per million respectively.
But the researchers highlighted that reports of deaths and cases varied across countries — Japan and Taiwan, for example, had lower cumulative testing rates than New Zealand, Australia and South Korea.
A possibly cleaner measure of comparison is “Excess Mortality” – Or the difference between the number of people who have died from any cause and the number expected throughout the pandemic.
This allowed them to see the impact of closing borders and suppressing transmission: it also temporarily suppressed influenza on both sides of the Tasman, significantly reducing winter mortality in 2020 and 2021.
It also gives us a glimpse of what Omicron Hospital might mean for healthcare for other diseases.
While they found that Omicron’s excess mortality patterns fluctuated widely, only New Zealand had maintained a lower mortality rate as of last month.
New Zealand’s death toll per million was negative 215 throughout the pandemic, which equates to about 1103 fewer deaths than if the Covid-19 crisis never happened.
If we had experienced a similar excess death rate per capita in other jurisdictions, the country could have increased by 1856 (Japan) or 2127 (Taiwan), 2577 (Australia), 3798 (Singapore) or 5167 (South Korea) ).
Notably, only nine jurisdictions on Earth have recorded negative cumulative excess mortality during the pandemic, with New Zealand being the largest.
However, they point out that the continuing death toll from Omicron is tapering off the magnitude of this reduction — Baker has previously pointed out that the virus has become one of the leading causes of our deaths.
“New Zealand used elimination strategies to keep death rates low in the early stages of the pandemic, allowing time to develop and deliver a vaccine before Covid-19 spreads widely,” the experts said.
“However, there are still areas where pandemic response and management can be significantly improved to reduce the ongoing burden of morbidity and mortality and protect health workers and health systems.”
New Zealand now needs to choose a strategy to minimise Covid-19 infections – especially given the long-standing long-term Covid risk.
They see greater potential for the use of masks in schools, universities, indoor facilities and healthcare settings — while reviewing regulations in well-ventilated spaces like shopping malls.
Finally, they would like to see the government stress that people must stay home when they are sick, citing research showing that some people with Covid-19 may remain contagious after a week.
They said the updated advice could include an “appropriate period of isolation” followed by the use of rapid antigen tests to detect releases, and the wearing of advanced face masks by day 10.
This needs to be backed up by sick leave provisions, free rapid antigen tests and advice on how to reduce the risk of infecting others in the family.
“Omicron has dramatically changed the pandemic landscape and requires periodic reassessment of optimal response strategies,” they concluded.
“As Aotearoa New Zealand moves through the next phase of the pandemic, the New Zealand government should seek other jurisdictions and strengthen public health measures to minimise the immediate and long-term impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.”