New Zealand doing comparatively well with Covid-19

There is a lot of debate in New Zealand over whether our relatively stringent ‘lockdown’ restrictions are justified or not. There is no way of being sure what our situation would be if we had not clamped down on people movements and business so drastically.

We have to be careful comparing with other countries because of unique conditions and different timing of the virus in different places.

But at this early stage it looks like we have been relatively successful at curbing the spread of the virus, and in particular keeping deaths down (to just one).

Currently we have 1,039 cases (to 9 am Sunday), with 15 people in hospital and 3 in intensive care.

The rate of increase in cases seems to have flattened off despite much more testing.

While cases numbers are difficult to compare we have tested 36,000 people here with a middling rate of 7,509 per million.

Australia has about 5 times our population, about 5 times confirmed cases, nearly twice our testing rate,  but a much higher death rate currently 33.  Australia has less stringent restrictions than us with more businesses still operating.

But there could be other factors.  Ten deaths in Australia are from the Ruby Princess cruise ship that ended up in Sydney. That had been in Napier, and if people had had to disembark there it could have been a major problem here instead on in Australia. Perhaps our earlier ban on cruise ships helped us but not Sydney.

Switzerland has nearly twice our population, 21,000 cases and 715 deaths with a very high 16,256 tests per million. But they border Northern Italy so will have been impacted from the huge outbreak, and they also border badly affected France.

Sweden is separated from Europe, just. They have about twice our population and have had far lighter restrictions. They have tested about half as much as us but have 6,830 cases and 400 deaths.

Scotland is also separated from Europe (just) and a slightly larger population than us. They have recorded 3,345 cases and  218 deaths. Their test statistics are part of the UK which are  low at a third ours.

Ireland has a bit bigger population (6.5 million), nearly five time the cases (about 5,000), a similar test rate and 158 deaths.

Hawaii has a population of about 1.4 million. As of 4 April they had  352 cases (in proportion to ours)  and 4 deaths which is not much different.

From this it looks like comparatively New Zealand is doing ok with Covid-19, so far. But we have a long way to go.

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26 Comments

  1. Reply
  2. Each country is having to make tough decisions without being sure what the outcomes (and number of deaths) will be.

    Sweden’s government is drawing up new legislation to allow it to take “extraordinary steps” to combat Covid-19, local media have reported, amid concern that its relatively soft approach may be leading to a higher death rate than in other Nordic countries.

    Denmark and Norway are among the many countries to have imposed tough lockdowns, closing borders and shutting schools and non-essential stores, and Finland has isolated its main urban area around Helsinki. But Swedes are still able to shop, go to restaurants, get haircuts and send children under 16 to class.

    On Sunday Sweden reported a total of 401 deaths so far from Covid-19, up 8% from Saturday and greater than the totals of its three Nordic neighbours combined. Sweden’s toll per million inhabitants is 37, compared with 28 in Denmark, 12 in Norway and 4.5 in Finland.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/05/sweden-prepares-to-tighten-coronavirus-measures-as-death-toll-climbs

    Countries that started with more relaxed restrictions have generally tightened them up as things have deteriorated.

    UK is one example – so far today they have 621 deaths, second to the US and more than Italy, Spain and France.

    Reply
    • David

       /  6th April 2020

      Swedes are very much in favour of their approach, it may turn out to have worked very well for them.
      They self isolate as a way of life, they trust their government, they dont live like Italians or the Spanish and they dont have the density of NY or London. They trust folk at risk to self isolate rather than locking the whole place down. Also apparently quite a percentage of the victims are in the immigrant communities who are shut off from normal Swedish society, the Somalis have been hit quite hard unfortunately for obvious reasons.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  6th April 2020

        It’s probable that this sort of disease is new to the Somalis so they won’t have the same resistance.

        37 per million is a tiny %.

        Reply
  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  6th April 2020

    I don’t know that we are doing well. The model I fitted doesn’t show the lockdown as being very effective and in fact if I let the variable search run unconstrained it shows the lockdown as counter-productive at present but that may just reflect stepped up testing. With optimistic estimates for fatality rates the outcome predicted is still pretty grim:

    https://yournz.org/2020/04/06/ardern-urges-businesses-to-think-what-next-but-doesnt-say-what-or-when/#comment-405460

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  6th April 2020

      IMO we need a lot more intelligent focus on safety and a lot less of this “essential” drivel.

      Had we focused properly on the inbound traveller risks we would be far better off. At present a lot of the activities approved of as “essential” are far more risky than most of what is being banned as non-essential.

      We need more brains and far less b.s. or we simply follow the rest a bit behind because of our good fortune to be at the other end of the world.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  6th April 2020

        It seems barmy logic that I can’t buy a washer but can have someone come to the house (a tradie) to do this small job that doesn’t need a plumber at a cost of about $100. The washer costs $5 for three, $7.50 for post. Or it would if I could order one.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  6th April 2020

          And you can fit the washer – unscrew the tap and refit it again ?
          Or are you concern trolling again about imaginary problems

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  6th April 2020

            Please don’t call me a liar, which is what you are doing. It’s highly offensive and totally uncalled for. It’s you who are the troll.

            One of the suicides I have heard of was Gerrit’s relation. Are you calling him a liar, too ?

            Of course I could fit the washer on if it was possible to buy one, which it isn’t. These are not on the essentials list. Nor is fixing a tap on the approved list of tradie services, as it happens.

            I was lucky enough to be given a washer in the end by a local plumbing firm who left it outside for me. Otherwise the tap would be on for the duration of the lockdown.

            Reply
  4. David

     /  6th April 2020

    I think we are doing pretty much the right thing except with not quarantining new arrivals, testing them and then reporting their infections as a separate category. We would then no more precisely if the sacrifice was worthwhile.

    Reply
    • Pink David

       /  6th April 2020

      NZ has embarked on the worst possible approach and will pay for it dearly.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  6th April 2020

        the Doomsday prophet….btw..there are a myriad of worse approaches if you think about it…including your preference of doing…nothing.

        Reply
        • Pink David

           /  6th April 2020

          Doing nothing was the less harmful approach. The specifically better approach would have been to protect those most at risk while everyone else carried on largely as normal.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  6th April 2020

            True, but it would not have been anything like so dramatic.

            Reply
      • Quite the opposite. Contrast New Zealand’s approach with America’s. Or the UK’s.

        Reply
  5. Gezza

     /  6th April 2020

    Only time will tell whether Jacinda & co went for the right strategy. But I really don’t think she created a drama for political purposes. Crunch time will come aftercthe four weeks is up.

    One of my cars has an oil leak following a service & WOF. The garage & sales yards are all closed for the duration & hasn’t even returned my voicemail message. Meanwhile, the car is still dripping oil from somewhere I can’t see.

    And I want that blimmin Macpac jacket I ordered and paid for online – not realising they were all forbidden to pick, pack n send as well.

    These sorts of places SHOULD be continuing to operate; just a case of working out safety, & physical distancing protocols. Dunno who is going to police workplaces but the dooner the better, imo.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  6th April 2020

      Drat
      *dooner = sooner

      Damn the lag on this FiP2

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  6th April 2020

        Fear not, body hair trimmers, nutribullets. coffee machines, plaque removers, ladyshaves and storage jars have been classified as essential items although car repairs are still inessential.

        Er…..why do you have two cars ?

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  6th April 2020

          Ma can’t drive hers now & it needs to be swapped over with mine every so often so the battery doesn’t go flat.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  6th April 2020

            The dog was wondering….

            Sticky notes, bubblebath, body spray, gel pens, sandwich bags and correction tape are all now among the essential items.

            Reply
          • And hard liquor as well evidently. The online sites are doing a roaring business.

            Reply
    • Pink David

       /  6th April 2020

      “And I want that blimmin Macpac jacket I ordered and paid for online – not realising they were all forbidden to pick, pack n send as well.”

      I bought a jacket from Macpac yesterday. Drove to the shop. Handed over cash, and returned home with the desired item. I can send you one if you wish.

      Reply

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