We shouldn’t aim to let infections run wild. We should aim to ensure most Australians never encounter the virus at all, or if they do, to not be infected by it.
Until vaccination rates in the country’s most vulnerable groups are much higher, elimination remains the best way to avoid repeating the mistakes of history.
Some people think there’s a choice of living more freely and not having the virus spread uncontrollably and causing widespread illness and deaths. But there isn’t, until enough of us are vaccinated.
The challenges of containing inevitable outbreaks once borders reopen should not be underestimated. That’s why elimination remains the guiding principle and mass vaccination the imperative.
We should move rapidly to reduce fear, improve vaccination rates, improve treatments and reduce complications as we do with other diseases we can’t eliminate or fully protect against.
Our modelling shows the elimination strategy, including early, sharp lockdowns, remains Australia’s best policy.
The rapid increase in the number of infections is the most obvious reason why new variants of the virus have been emerging recently. Case numbers doubled in just two months at the end of 2020.
New Zealand’s most pressing challenge is to bring the current COVID-19 outbreak under control, but it also time to make more strategic improvements to prevent future border control failures.
Genomic sequencing of positive COVID-19 samples could help New Zealand pinpoint the source of its new community outbreak. But it only works if all samples are sequenced – and right now, they’re not.
We believe New Zealand can eliminate COVID-19 again. But it could do more to speed up that process with mandatory masks and tighter controls on high-risk venues, including bars, gyms and churches.
New Zealand has confirmed a new community outbreak of COVID-19 and the country returns to pandemic restrictions, with Auckland under alert level 3 conditions.
Border restrictions and quarantine have kept COVID-19 out of New Zealand, but new modelling shows contact tracing and quick isolation would control an outbreak, without the need for another lockdown.
New Zealand is one of a small number of countries that have managed to eliminate community transmission of COVID-19. It’s now reached a 100-day milestone with no new cases in the community.
Suppression tactics aren’t appropriate for dangerous diseases – and in the long term prove just as expensive.
Our new modelling shows the risk of an infectious person slipping through New Zealand’s border undetected is very low — likely to happen only once over the next 18 months.
Two new cases of COVID-19 have been announced in New Zealand, after 23 consecutive days with no new cases. But that doesn’t mean that the country’s elimination efforts have failed.
There’s now a 95% chance COVID-19 has been eliminated in NZ, according to our modelling. But as NZ prepares to remove limits on large gatherings, it increases the risk of a very large new outbreak.