Latest cases as weekly deaths drop since July peak

Dr Andrew Old, Deputy Director-General and Head of the Public Health Agency, holds a media briefing to provide an update on the COVID-19 response and winter health

The figures show that during the recent Omicron outbreak, weekly deaths from Covid-19 fell after peaking in July.

The latest figures from the Ministry of Health show that in the week to August 14, 77 people were reported to have died from the virus. This compares with 105 the previous week.

That number peaked at 142 in the week ended July 31.

Covid modelling expert Michael Plank said daily reported Covid deaths averaged around 10, a figure he hoped would drop to single digits within the next month.

“The number of deaths is starting to decline now. Obviously, cases have been falling for a while, and deaths do lag, so they peak after the decline in cases, but now it looks like they’re starting to decline,” Plank said.

The figures come ahead of the Ministry of Health releasing its latest Covid-19 figures shortly after 1pm today.

Nine deaths from Covid were reported yesterday, four from the Auckland region, two from Waikato, one from Canterbury and two from the south.

1 in their 50s, 3 in their 60s, 2 in their 70s, 2 in their 80s, and 1 in their 90s.

Five are women and four are men.

A total of 1824 deaths have now been confirmed attributable to Covid-19 (either as an underlying cause of death or as a contributing factor).

The number of people battling the virus in hospitals continued to fall, with a weekly average of 472 yesterday and 570 the previous Monday.

There are 432 hospitalized cases, of which 9 are in intensive care.

Community numbers are also the lowest since the country’s first wave of Omicron began in February.

Yesterday, there were 2,706 new infections. The seven-day rolling average of cases continued to fall – 3655 yesterday, compared to 4230 the previous Monday.

Dr Dion O’Neale, Covid-19 Modeling Aotearoa, also said our community case numbers – the lowest since the country’s first Omicron wave began in February – needed to be looked at under reporting.

O’Neill said the current daily case count was below 5,000 “below our expectations”.

The true number of infections in our community will almost certainly be higher – the numbers reported by the Ministry of Health may account for 40% to 65% of cases – and underreporting appears to be a clear factor in the exceptionally low number of cases on some days.

“But after those two peaks, we’ve also had a lot less susceptible people — and now there are fewer infections left.”

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