Covid-19 expected to get worse and extend over months if not year

There are signs and warnings around the world that the spread of infections and deaths from the Covid-19, and restrictions on travel and impact on economies, are likely to get worse over months and it its likely to stretch through this year, if not beyond.

The virus is thought to have emerged in China last November, at it quickly escalated by January and took drastic actions in February to (apparently) limit the virus. Italy followed a similar pattern a month or two later, and is now in lockdown and in a dire situation. Spain appears to be following suit.

Drastic restrictions on international travel over the last week show that the expectations are for similar problems elsewhere. The US closed their borders to most of Europe and that looks like being extended. On Saturday New Zealand virtually closed our borders, Australia announced similar yesterday.

I have heard from someone involved in health in Australia that there are predictions they will be in full disaster mode in April, and plans are being put in place for the next 6-12 months.

This lines up with what is developing here. Travel restrictions will be reviewed early April, but some measures already extend well beyond that. Cruise ships are banned from coming her until “at least 30 June 2020”. Jacinda Ardern:

All of this points to one strategy which has guided our decision making – spread the cases, and flatten the curve.

That spread, if successful, will take months at least.

It is not realistic for New Zealand to have only a handful of cases.

The international evidence proves that is not realistic, and so we must plan and prepare for more cases.

But, the scale of how many cases we get and how fast we get them is something we should do as much as we can to slow. That is how we ensure health services are there for those who need them most.

In conclusion, we have two choices as a nation. One is to let COVID-19 roll on, and brace.

The second is to go hard on measures to keep it out, and stamp it out – not because we can stop a global pandemic from reaching us, but because it is in our power to slow it down.

I think we should expect this to stretch through this year.

‘Weeks and months’ was also mentioned by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison: Coronavirus quarantine enforced for all people entering Australia, lockdowns on the table

The Prime Minister says there are no plans at this stage for mass school closures, but concedes further disruptions to daily life will be announced in coming weeks and months.

“We’re going to have to get used to some more changes in the way we live our lives over the next six months or so,” he said.

“There will be further intrusions, there will be further restrictions on people’s movement and their behaviour.”

Similar from the US – Americans urged to hunker down more as coronavirus chaos spreads to airports

“I think Americans should be prepared that they are going to have to hunker down significantly more than we as a country are doing,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Fauci said he did not see domestic travel restrictions in the immediate future but warned, as he did last week, that the outbreak would get worse before it gets better.

With limited testing available, officials have recorded nearly 3,000 cases and 59 deaths in the United States.

The U.S. containment measures have so far been mild compared to the nationwide lockdowns imposed in Italy, France and Spain. The virus has infected more than 156,000 people in 142 countries, resulting in over, 5,800 deaths.

Similar warnings from around the world – Virus restrictions tighten, disrupting daily life, worship

New travel restrictions and border closures reverberated Sunday across Europe and beyond as daily life increasingly ground to a halt to try to keep people apart and slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Public worship was curtailed as Muslim authorities announced that the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City would be closed indefinitely, and the Vatican said next month’s Holy Week services would not be open to the public.

 In the Philippines, soldiers and police sealed off the densely populated capital of Manila from most domestic travelers, snarling traffic to check commuters for fever.

Spain awoke to the first day of a nationwide quarantine.

Nearby Morocco suspended all international flights. Turkey, meanwhile, set aside quarantine beds for more than 10,000 people returning from pilgrimages to Islam’s holy sites in Saudi Arabia.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced plans to limit movement nationwide shortly after Tyrol province followed Italy and Spain in barring people from leaving their homes except for essential errands or work.

So concerns and effects and drastic actions are escalating around the world.

“Flatten the curve” is now a common refrain. This means deliberately extending the effects of Covid-19, which means over months at least.

It is mostly likely to get worse here in New Zealand, restrictions are likely to increase, and this is going to be over months at least.

Life here and around the world is changing drastically in the short and medium term. It will affect all of us significantly (obviously to varying degrees), we just don’t know by how much and for how long.

Medical treatment breakthroughs and vaccines will help if the become available, but don’t expect a sudden miracle end to this.

There is already major disruption to sport and cultural events. Anzac Day gatherings are in serious doubt as that involves people in the highest risk age group. Holidays have been halted and plans for months are in serious doubt – I have planned and booked a trip to Australia in a few months, that looks like being a no go.

Schools, polytechnics and universities are already contingency planning for shutting down. If schools shut that will have a major impact on parents and their employment.

Here in New Zealand we are heading towards winter, often referred to as ‘flu season’. We should be prepared for being restricted to home if we get any signs of a cold or flu, whether we have Covid-19 or not – the rule is likely to be self-isolation first, find out what it is later.

This means that many of us are likely to be confined to home for at least 14 days over the coming months.

This is a all very big deal over and it will be over a significant period of time. the words of the year look likely to be virus and lockdown.


Ministry of Health:

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43 Comments

  1. Reply
    • David

       /  16th March 2020

      Make no difference unless the government force banks to drop their break fees.
      The banks artificially raise floating rates and push people into fixed ones
      Arseholes need a good serve

      Reply
  2. Reply
  3. Germany tries to stop US from luring away firm seeking coronavirus vaccine

    Germany’s Health Ministry confirmed a report in newspaper Welt am Sonntag, which said President Donald Trump had offered funds to lure the company CureVac to the United States, and the German government was making counter-offers to tempt it to stay.

    “The German government is very interested in ensuring that vaccines and active substances against the new coronavirus are also developed in Germany and Europe,” the newspaper quoted a Health Ministry official as saying.

    “In this regard, the government is in intensive exchange with the company CureVac.”

    Contacted by Reuters, a spokeswoman for the German Health Ministry said: “We confirm the report in the Welt am Sonntag.”

    Welt am Sonntag quoted an unidentified German government source as saying Trump was trying to secure the scientists’ work exclusively, and would do anything to get a vaccine for the United States, “but only for the United States.”

    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/15/coronavirus-germany-tries-to-stop-us-luring-away-firm-seeking-vaccine.html

    Reply
    • Trump was trying to secure the scientists’ work exclusively, and would do anything to get a vaccine for the United States, “but only for the United States.”

      This needs highlighting.

      Reply
    • Welt am Sonntag quoted an unidentified German government source as saying Trump was trying to secure the scientists’ work exclusively, and would do anything to get vaccine for the United States, “but only for the United States”.

      Contacted by Reuters, a spokeswoman for the German Health Ministry said: “We confirm the report in the Walt am Sonntag.”

      Reply
      • via Reuters:

        Berlin is trying to stop Washington from persuading a German company seeking a coronavirus vaccine to move its research to the U.S., prompting German politicians to insist no country should have a monopoly on any future vaccine.

        A German Health Ministry spokeswoman, confirming a quote in the newspaper, said: “The German government is very interested in ensuring that vaccines and active substances against the new coronavirus are also developed in Germany and Europe.”

        https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-germany-usa/germany-tries-to-stop-us-from-luring-away-firm-seeking-coronavirus-vaccine-idUSKBN2120IV

        Interestingly, Jared’s brother Joshua Kushner’s company Oscar announced this on Friday; “Oscar, a tech-driven health insurance company, launched the first testing center locator for COVID-19 in the U.S., featuring more than 100 centers today. It is accessible to the general public…”

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  16th March 2020

          There are three university teams trialling vaccines in the UK. The biggest vaccine manufacturer is Indian.

          Reply
  4. Reply
    • Corky

       /  16th March 2020

      Sensible people. However, you can’t eat guns. These people aren’t preppers. They are folk who thought the world as we know it would last forever. Now they are in panic mode.

      Reply
      • Corky

         /  16th March 2020

        I might add …lucky people. Worst case scenario will have Kiwis relying on baseball bats and
        knives. Unfortunately they are no match against a feral with a gun wanting your food and supplies…and maybe your daughter and wife.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  16th March 2020

          Certainly not your wife …
          Like all the other guns in US they end up being used within the family or suicide rather than some mythical intruder.
          Once again the old stranger danger falsehood is being spread with a new angle …your rolls toilet paper are safe.

          Reply
          • Corky

             /  16th March 2020

            ”Certainly not your wife …”

            I don’t have a wife. And why not someones wife? Are they off limits in your world?🤔

            As for the rest of your post, you could have saved some finger tapping time by reading this in my comments -”Worst case scenario.”

            As for the rest of your post..it’s your usual ill informed bs.

            Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  16th March 2020

            Duker, some years ago I heard how many people were shot in the US by family members by mistake for intruders; teenagers sneaking in late and so on. That was from an American.

            The odds against ‘ferals’ with guns breaking in and demanding the dunny rolls and tins of baked beans as well as raping the women in the house here are enormous, I imagine. Possible but highly improbable.

            Reply
  5. NOEL

     /  16th March 2020

    One chocolate 🐟 says August /September.

    Reply
  6. Gezza

     /  16th March 2020

    RNZ played a phone interview with a chap who was just intending only a 3 day visit to the North Island, booked to then travel on to Australia. Said he went right through the health, customs, & immigration process & couldn’t get an answer to his question whether the travel restrictions meant he was now required to self-isolate in NZ for 14 days.

    Eventually he got to the Air NZ counter where after consultations with NZ & Aussie Customs he was told he was ok to fly on to Australia in 3 days time.

    Staggers me that nobody could answer that question. Surely that’s going to be a common situation?

    Reply
  7. ChiCom Heckler

     /  16th March 2020

    “The virus is thought to have emerged in China”.

    Really? Thought?

    Reply
  8. david in aus

     /  16th March 2020

    I think it is important that people take considered decisions. In NZ, it is very early stages and not an epidemic yet. There is no need to shut down schools. However, closing borders is not unreasonable.

    It is possible that ill-considered policies made in a knee-jerk fashion may kill more people than the virus itself.

    Economic depression will be the real killer of people if it takes hold.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  16th March 2020

      Yes. You even knows that the 2017-18 US Influenza ‘season’ killed 60,000 people, no one cares about that and that was only 2 yrs ago

      Reply
      • David in Aus

         /  16th March 2020

        People comparing this to seasonal influenza are ignorant and dangerous. This will kill 1 in 5 people over 80 years old, one in 10 over 70 years old; hospitalize 1 in 10 people infected, intensive care for 1 in 20. Seasonal influenza would be lucky to hospital 1 in 1000 people infected.

        Complacency has been the most dangerous factor thus far.

        This is like the Spanish flu of 1918. Instead of predominantly rural populations and agriculture-based economies then, we are now mostly industrialized, indebted, and the most interdependent in world history. Where does NZ get most of its manufactured products? We import it.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  16th March 2020

          So the 2017-18 flu season that killed 60,000 in US alone and maybe 250,000 plus worldwide means it cant be compared ?
          Dont be silly. Even if it kills 75,000 in US its comparable … I have a feeling it will be less , but still comparable ..

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  16th March 2020

            People are ignoring the fact that our own flu death rate is about 500. But we don’t see the hysteria every flu season and the 500 fatalities don’t even make the news.

            I see little point in closing schools when it seems that children are virtually immune to the virus.

            Reply
            • Duker

               /  16th March 2020

              Basically fear of unknown kicks in …child saints…plague cities …is a Messiah due next?

          • david in aus

             /  16th March 2020

            If Covid 19 is left alone to run its course like influenza. If 60% of Americans are infected and assuming 1-3% mortality rate there will 2 to 6 million dead compared to your 60,000.

            That is a real apple to apple comparison.

            Reply
  9. Duker

     /  16th March 2020

    The reason for my ‘optimism’, their is maths that says so

    The Gompertz Curve as fitted to South Korea CV-19 deaths to predict to final rate which is around the 100 level, could be higher or lower but not massively so

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  16th March 2020

      That depends on the total infections being completely controlled which is highly unlikely. If it spreads to the whole population then you are talking 0.8% or half a million deaths.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  16th March 2020

        Not it’s not. Gompertz curve shows south Korea deaths leveling off -not clear on graph- around 100 deaths. The graph has an S shape and is fitted to actual data not a computer simulation
        Yet people who don’t follow how epidemics work still think they know better..this isn’t the middle ages

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  16th March 2020

          Rubbish. It is based on the current scenario of tight control in South Korea and China and depends on permanent prevention of incoming infection.

          Reply
          • Duker

             /  17th March 2020

            Curve shape differs from country to country but result is the same a levelling off after steep climb
            Chinas is steeper than South Koreas…. but its enable predictions to be made for each country rather than uninformed speculation

            Reply
  10. Alan Wilkinson

     /  16th March 2020

    Clearly the only way out of this for NZ is mass vaccination which looks to be a full year away.

    Michael Reddell excoriates Orr and Reserve Bank incompetence:
    https://croakingcassandra.com/2020/03/16/games-up/
    As well as the Government’s responsibility for appointing and managing them:
    https://croakingcassandra.com/2020/03/16/pretty-dreadful/
    And proposes some radical solutions:
    https://croakingcassandra.com/2020/03/16/a-radical-macro-framework-for-the-next-year-or-two/

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  16th March 2020

      Redell is not taking a very balanced view.
      He maintains Orr should have acted much earlier.

      The reality is the low interest rate/elastic money regime is doomed anyway.
      It has managed to delay the inevitable correction that recession/depression brings…i.e the purging of inefficiencies and the misallocation of finance.

      The whole financial fundamentals of neo liberal/Greenspan economics are fatally flawed and the consequences will be …severe.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  16th March 2020

        What’s that about being inside the tent peeing out, instead of outside peeing in. Just another has been who was passed over

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  16th March 2020

          What’s that saying about playing the ball rather than the man?

          Note that the Fed has taken the actions Orr has not.

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  17th March 2020

            what actions would they be then?

            Reply
            • Duker

               /  17th March 2020

              Keeping Wall st a-float … ?
              Not much point pumping billions into big companies who then just lay off or send on unpaid leave heaps of employees.

              In UK some have said about Richard Branson and his Virgin airlines …you have to pay taxes in good times to be getting help in bad times

  11. Gerrit

     /  16th March 2020

    Asking for a friend. If you have a head cold, blocked sinuses, a bit of a sore throat and running a mild temperature, but it is no worse than any other cold you have had over the last 65 years.

    Would you

    a) self isolate in case it is the coronavirus
    b) go to the doctor, which due to the absence of any immediate test for the dreaded virus, will automatically put you into isolation “just to be sure”.
    c) soldier on and treat it with lemon juice, honey and whisky like all other colds you have had.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  16th March 2020

      Soldier on & treat it like any other cold. Not enough symptoms there to make me think it was Covid-19. If in doubt I’d ring the Healthline.

      I’d forget about going to the doctor. Group Message a couple of weeks ago from my Medical Centre:

      “If you think you have the coronavirus please phone Healthline (for free) on 08003585453 (or +6493585453 for International Sims) Please do not come to the Medical Centre, thank you. For more information https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus

      I wouldn’t go out in public with a cold though. You’d quite likely get abused or even attacked by somebody freaking out at the first sign of a sneeze, cough or sniffle.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  16th March 2020

        Healthline hasn’t been answering. Overloaded hopelessly.

        Reply
  12. Interesting question. I’m not going to give advice on it, but I’m sure there will be a variety of answers for people on situations like this.

    It will be difficult for many to diagnose what are common symptoms for a variety of ailments.

    And when uncertain and faced with 14 days isolation I’m sure some will convince themselves it must be something else.

    Others could be tempted by a couple of weeks off for a sniffle or minor cough.

    Reply
  13. Alan Wilkinson

     /  16th March 2020

    Reusable shopping bags – the best way to spread viruses around the supermarket:
    https://www.city-journal.org/banning-single-use-plastic-bags-covid-19

    Unless you are like me and have simply abandoned physical grocery shopping as it is now so inconvenient and moved to online ordering with home delivery.

    Reply
  14. duperez

     /  16th March 2020

    Pandumbic

    Reply
  15. Conspiratoor

     /  18th March 2020

    If these numbers are accurate it seems the recovery rate is remarkable given treatment. I understand the drive to flatten the curve but it does make you wonder whether the world has overreacted somewhat

    Reply
    • On the other hand, what might now be happening if the reactions had been much less? I don’t think China, South Korea, Italy or Spain would have been happy for a much wider spread and many more deaths.

      Even after a drastic countrywide lockdown Italy’s coronavirus death toll surges past 2,500

      Italy reported 345 new coronavirus deaths in the country over the last 24 hours taking its total death toll to 2,503 – an increase of 16 percent.

      The total number of cases in Italy rose to 31,506 from a previous 27,980, up 12.6 percent

      Globally, the virus has infected almost 185,000 people and killed more than 7,500, according to the WHO.

      https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/03/urges-world-test-test-test-covid-19-live-updates-200316234425373.html

      Reply

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