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New Zealand surpasses 1 million Covid-19 cases since pandemic began



New Zealand has recorded more than one million cases of Covid-19 since the pandemic began, the Ministry of Health says.

It comes as the ministry reports another 9173 new cases and 14 deaths today.

This time last year, the total of cases reported in New Zealand was 2288, the ministry said.

“New Zealanders’ collective response to Covid-19 helped us to keep our case numbers low, especially in that first year when the virus was rampant internationally,” it said.

In its latest update today, the ministry said 385 people were in hospital with the virus – compared with 368 people in its previous update yesterday. There were 13 people in ICU.

The seven-day rolling average of community case numbers is 7927 – last Tuesday it was 7943. Total number of publicly reported deaths with Covid-19 is now 876 and the seven-day rolling average is 14.

“Of the people whose deaths we are reporting today; one person was from Northland, two from Auckland, one from Waikato, one from MidCentral, one from Hawke’s Bay, one from the Wellington region; six from Canterbury and one from Southern,” the ministry said.

“Six were in their 70s; three in their 80s and five were aged over 90. Nine were women and five were men.”

Yesterday another two cases of the BA-5 variant of Omicron had been identified in the country – both people arrived from overseas.

Read an explainer about the Omicron BA-5 variant

There were 6407 new cases of Covid-19 in the community.

The ministry reported a slight decrease in the seven-day rolling average of cases from last week, from 7553 to 7479.

Another two people had died in the previous 24 hours.




Covid-19 update: 8544 new cases, 39 further deaths linked to virus



There were 8544 new cases of Covid-19 reported in Aotearoa in the week to midnight on Sunday, and a further 39 deaths attributed to the virus.

The total number of deaths attributed to the virus in New Zealand is now 3077.

In addition, there were 246 cases in hospital at midnight on Sunday with six in intensive care.

The seven-day rolling average of cases was 1217.

Last week, 9883 new Covid-19 cases were reported and a further 37 deaths were attributed to the virus.

Source: RNZ

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Dr Jonathan Howard: why US doctors spread Covid disinformation



An American doctor believes more than 800,000 Americans would be alive today, if the US had taken New Zealand’s Covid approach.

Jonathan Howard, who is the chief of neurology at Bellevue Hospital in New York, said he was angry that influential health professionals minimised the seriousness of the virus.

“We want them infected,” was the call of then presidential science adviser Paul Alexander.

It’s also the title of Howard’s new book, which tells the story of how some medical and public health professionals came to become anti-vaccine and pro herd immunity.

He told Kim Hill on Saturday Morning there was a deluge of mis-information from prominent US doctors, some of whom wanted to actually spread the virus.

“Famous doctors from our top universities went on television and told people that Covid was just going away, that it was just the flu, that young people under the age of 65 have essentially no risk,” he said.

“And not only were there not attempts to limit the virus, these were loud influential voices who wanted to spread it.

“You can read quotes from our former Covid advisor, Donald Trump’s former Covid advisor, celebrating rising cases, saying this is a good thing when cases rise, which is shocking and astonishing.”

While Howard said there were obvious differences between the two countries, many lives could have been saved if the US had taken a similar approach to New Zealand.

“If we had limited infections until we had vaccinated the vast majority of our population, we would have potentially had hundreds of thousands of people still alive today, there’s no question about that.”

However, our zero-Covid strategy wasn’t without its critics, with Stanford professor Jay Bhattacharya writing that it had “cost New Zealand dearly”.

“I think that the fact that most of your grandparents are still alive means that zero Covid did not cost you dearly,” Howard said in response.

“I don’t discount that, there were real costs of the lockdowns, I don’t know anyone who argues otherwise and I want to be very clear that I was protected from those costs, meaning I am very fortunate to be employed, I worked throughout the pandemic, I was never lonely, I don’t have my own business.”

But Howard said he didn’t think that the alternative – letting the virus spread freely – would have yielded a better outcome.

He said that when forklifts were needed to move bodies into giant refrigerated trucks in New York, it was fantasy to imagine the city could have operated as normal during the pandemic.

“You talk about deferred healthcare – every single healthcare worker was working with Covid patients, our hospitals were overflowing,” he said.

“So when I hear people lament they missed cancer screenings, who would have done those screenings? Would elderly patients have left their house to go to crowded waiting rooms to get a mammogram for example? I don’t think so.

“I think that the fantasy is that things could have just been normal if only if it hadn’t been for overly cautious politicians.”

By comparison, New Zealand did well, Howard said.

“I look at the numbers, I look at your death rate with great jealousy.” he said.

“And I think for long periods of time your economy was more open than ours was because we had to keep locking down, just because there were overwhelming outbreaks of the virus.”

Howard said the fact many older New Zealanders were still alive compared with the US statistics, showed the success of this country’s Covid strategy.

Source  RNZ

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Covid-19 case numbers: 11,739 new cases, 58 further deaths



There were 11,739 new cases of Covid-19 reported in Aotearoa in the week to midnight on Sunday, and a further 58 deaths attributed to the virus.

The total number of deaths from the disease is now 2850.

In addition, there were 247 cases in hospital at midnight Sunday, with six in intensive care.

The seven-day rolling average of cases was 1672.

Last week 12,277 new cases were reported and a further 30 deaths attributed to the virus.


Source RNZ

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