Sir David Skegg – NZ could eliminate the virus if we “don’t go soft to soon”

Sir David Skegg, speaking at the Epidemic Response Committee again. says that New Zealand could be the only country to eliminate the Covid-19 virus, but says border restrictions and quarantining needs to be strictly enforced, and he hopes “we don’t go soft to soon”.

From Live Covid-19 updates from New Zealand and around the world on 7 April

Sir David Skegg says he agrees with Professor Michael Baker that New Zealand could be the only western country to eliminate Covid-19.

“If we can show we’re on the path to elimination, we can move out of the lockdown more quickly. Provided we are successful, life can return to something near normal.”

He says border restrictions will have to continue.

Sir David says that if border quarantining isn’t more strictly enforced, the lockdown will have to be extended. He says we need to figure out a quicker way to contact trace through phone apps before the lockdown is lifted.

Sir David says from a purely health perspective, he would suggest being in lockdown for six months, but he acknowledged it can’t be done and people’s tolerance would wear thin.

He says it’s a worrying sign that the criteria of “essential services” continues to expand.

“We talked about going early and hard, I just hope we don’t go soft to soon.”

Obviously if we are going to minimise or eliminate the virus borders will have to be strictly controlled. Ideally that should have happened before the lockdown, but the reality was there were many people needing to get out of the country, and a large number of citizens and residents who needed to return home, and it would have been logistically very difficult to impose full tests and quarantine for tends of thousands of people.

If we stop the virus spreading internally we should have restrictions reduced and businesses that can do so safely should be able to get back into action, along with employees.

A six month lockdown would likely be unacceptable to the public and would be at risk of increasing abuse of the rules. We have to find a way of reasonably safely returning to as normal as possible as soon as possible.

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18 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  7th April 2020

    So far my model doesn’t show elimination in the next few months. Today’s update will be interesting.

    Reply
    • Pink David

       /  7th April 2020

      Step away from the computer model. It will do you no good.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  7th April 2020

        Why? It is more trustworthy than the politicians depending only on the data quality.

        Reply
        • Pink David

           /  7th April 2020

          Computer models have no validity in estimating the outcomes of a virus. There only purpose is as propaganda.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  7th April 2020

            That’s an assumption that can be tested by experiment which is precisely what I am doing.

            Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  7th April 2020

            As I explained to C previously, you can either plug parameters into your model and make wild predictions or you can match your model to real life data and extract parameter values that match reality which is what I am doing. Once you have sufficient data and a high quality match you can make reasonable predictions about the near future under similar conditions.

            Reply
            • Pink David

               /  7th April 2020

              “Once you have sufficient data and a high quality match you can make reasonable predictions about the near future under similar conditions.”

              You cannot achieve the level of data quality needed for the model to work. No one has successfully modelled such an event except in hindsight and there is zero evidence that such models have any utility in another situation. You are falling into the same trap that Ferguson etal have done.

            • Duker

               /  7th April 2020

              Thats right , its like the Climate change models , there is say 50 or more possible outcomes a spaghetti in other words.
              They know they cant show the spread so they pick one in the middle or just choose the scary worst case anyway.

            • Gezza

               /  7th April 2020

              This is why I prefer to make my predictions AFTER the event. While some picky bastards might poo poo this aprroach I have a 100% success rate, so stuff em.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  8th April 2020

              @,Pink David, predictions are not the only or even prime purpose. Knowing whether interventions are working or failing in real time is also important. So is identifying failures in data quality or changes in trends.

  2. Duker

     /  7th April 2020

    Some previous comments by Skegg on aspects of ‘public health
    “There was a time when New Zealand had a well-resourced public health advocacy body, the Public Health Commission (PHC), which Skegg chaired.
    His book provides an eye-opening view into the power of lobby groups and details a meeting from hell.

    During his time, several draft papers were written by the PHC and circulated on topics such as alcohol, nutrition, food safety and smoking.

    Skegg was summoned to a meeting with then Minister of Health Bill Birch. In his book he recounts the meeting.

    Mr Birch intimated that the draft papers from the PHC had ‘upset’ the Dairy Board, the Beer, Wine and Spirits Council and the Wine Institute … The Minister made it very clear he did not accept that the PHC would take a different view from the Dairy Board and Wine Institute.”

    Clark may be clueless about the lockdown but just as well we dont have Bill Birch still as Health Minister
    but it got worse
    “The following day Skegg met with the Associate Health Minister Maurice Williamson who opened the meeting with the statement: “Let’s get straight down to battle.”
    He describes what followed as a “torrent of words laced with expletives” from Williamson. Skegg was told he was supposed to only investigate smoking during pregnancy, rather than smoking in general.”

    Birch was a Surveyor and Williamson was an Air NZ software developer before politics

    https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2019/04/16/531451/nzs-deadly-public-health-battle

    Reply
  3. Blazer

     /  7th April 2020

    Birch and Williamson,just another 2 in a long line of corporate glove puppets,so typical of National.

    Reply
  4. Pink David

     /  7th April 2020

    “Sir David Skegg says he agrees with Professor Michael Baker that New Zealand could be the only western country to eliminate Covid-19.”

    This is insanity.

    Reply
    • duperez

       /  7th April 2020

      Insanity that Skegg agrees with Prof Baker? Insanity that Baker thinks New Zealand could eliminate Covid-19? Or insanity that New Zealand could be the only western country to eliminate Covid-19?

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  7th April 2020

        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Skegg

        What exactly is “cancer eopidemiology” & has this chap managed to eliminate cancer?

        Reply
      • Pink David

         /  7th April 2020

        “Insanity that Skegg agrees with Prof Baker? Insanity that Baker thinks New Zealand could eliminate Covid-19? Or insanity that New Zealand could be the only western country to eliminate Covid-19?”

        This is insane at every level. Has this guy actually thought this through at all? It’s beyond believe that people who claim to be educated are not able to see what a policy like this would entail, nor do they seem to have any justification as to why such a policy would be at all worthwhile.

        Reply
  5. duperez

     /  7th April 2020

    On April 1st (their time in the USA) the Covid-19 conference began with the bizarre session about the Navy going to sort out the drug cartels. It was a distraction from saying that the number of covid-19 deaths in the US had reached 4,000. Out of sight out of mind. Fawlty Towers, ‘Don’t mention the war.’

    Over there now it’s April 6th. The number of deaths is 10,846.

    Reply

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