New Zealand Covid rate improving compared to Australia, maybe

Data shows that New Zealand began the lockdown with a worse infection rate than Australia but improved thiough the lockdown and is now better.

But our death rate went the other way, starting better (because we had very few deaths initially)  but is now a bit worse than Australia.

The pros and cons of New Zealand measures compared to Australia will no doubt continue to be examined.

NZ Herald: Revealed – the data showing the success of NZ’s lockdown over Australia’s

The daily case rate in New Zealand has been only 59 per cent that of Australia since the start of a 33-day lockdown, according to Otago University Associate Professor Brian Cox, a medically-trained epidemiologist and specialist in public health.

His analysis shows that New Zealand’s rate of confirmed cases per capita was far higher than Australia’s at the start of the lockdown, but drew level after about three and a half weeks and is now well below Australia’s.

Currently New Zealand has 229 confirmed cases (not including probable) per million people, compared to Australia’s 269 confirmed cases per million people.

“If we hadn’t locked down when we had, it would have just taken off and we would have been way above Australia,” Cox told the Herald.

His work comes amid calls that New Zealand could have had more lenient lockdown rules, as Australia has appeared to have achieved similar public health outcomes while allowing hairdressers, retailers, construction and manufacturing to continue operating.

Infectious diseases physician and microbiologist Professor Peter Collignon told the Daily Mail Australia that while both countries had seemingly quashed Covid-19, “Australia has achieved it with less collateral damage”.

“We’ve been able to achieve success results without the severe social or economic impacts the lockdown has had in New Zealand.”

Otago University Associate Professor Brian Cox's analysis comparing NZ's and Australia's rate of confirmed cases per million people. Photo / Supplied

Confirmed cases are just a part of the picture though. and complicated by New Zealand reporting both confirmed cases (as used by Prof Cox) and confirmed+probable, as shown below:

 

New Zealand

Australia

Total cases

1,472

6,731

Cases per 1m

305

264

Recovered cases

1,214

5,626

Active cases

239

1.284

In hospital

9

 
Serious/critical

1

42

Total deaths

19

84

Deaths per 1m

3.9

3.4

Total tests

126,066

530,679

Tests per 1m

26,143

20,811

It’s hard to get a clear differentiation from the various statistics, and it’s too soon to tell which approach is the best, Both countries have done very week compared to many other countries, with only 3 new cases in New Zealand and 11 new cases in Australia yesterday..

But he crucial numbers are yet to to be known – as lockdowns are relaxed whether Covid-19 remains contained or starts to grow again.

A vaccine may still be a year or more away, and how we manage to then is what will count in the end.

And this comparison may become a moot point, as there is talk that Australia and New Zealand may open up a dual country protection zone allowing relatively free trade and travel across the Tasman moat.

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45 Comments

  1. duperez

     /  29th April 2020

    No Olympics this year so turning Covid into a competitive sport is a worthy replacement distraction. “We’re doing better than them, no they’re doing better than us, but we’re better than so and so ….”

    We should have copied Sweden, we should have copied Singapore, or Estonia. We should have copied someone, anyone. We should have copied the leaders of the free world with the greatest president in their history. Well maybe not that one.

    The situation is what is with myriad complex factors. Some see the geographic, some the social, some the economic. For some the political, cultural or historical aspects are prime.

    We can always rely on our competitive instinct to kick in though and our need for approval and acknowledgement. Amongst the misery there must be some reflected glory to bask in.

    Reply
  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  29th April 2020

    The parameters derived from the data by my model say that lockdown did not reduce the infectivity sufficiently to stop the spread. What stopped it was the contact tracing, testing and prompt isolation of known cases. Without that the effective R value was still about 1.5.

    Reply
    • I hope a lot of analysis will be done on which measures were effective and which made little or no difference, so that for re-surging Covid-19 or future virus outbreaks they can target actions better while minimising economic and social impacts.

      Things had to be decided and done in a hurry so were always going to be less than optimal (what that might be is still unknown), but they should learn a lot from the experience.

      Reply
    • Duker

       /  29th April 2020

      Those doing the contact tracing are saying the lock down did reduce the spread and the clusters that started well before were spreading around different regions and within workplaces and social occasions especially at bars. Theres proof there
      And the simple fact of having less contacts means less chances to spread….hardly needs to be explained as even children understand it
      Thats super cluster that started at a wedding reception at Bluff was an example of all the
      contact situations in series…a single patient zero, travel to one location from around country, crowed social event, then within workplaces and family groups around country afterwards and without lockdown each one of those ‘seeds’ could have started their own mega cluster

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  29th April 2020

        The model says the lockdown reduced the R value from 3.2 before 26 March to about 1.5 after Significant but insufficient on its own.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  29th April 2020

          We are well below an R of 1.5 , its just below 0.5 as I understand
          Last week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told us the R0 has been reduced to less than 0.5. How does this set us up for controlling and eliminating Covid-19?

          An R0 number less than one is an encouraging sign that New Zealand’s alert level 4 is containing the spread of the virus, as has been seen in some – but not all – other countries in lockdown.”
          https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12326697

          Changing your conclusions with new information?

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  29th April 2020

            You are like an arrogant two year old, Duker. Your R value is the net result of the lockdown and the contact tracing and isolation. Mine is the average likelihood of infections where the disease is allowed to run its course for an individual. It shows the impact of the general population’s isolation as opposed to specific quarantines of infected cases.

            Reply
            • Duker

               /  29th April 2020

              I realise you have had a go at a computer simulation , and you keep tweaking to prove what you want. ..”Significant but insufficient on its own”
              Lockdown was a 4 week period , not 1 week and the end of the 4 weeks the government data is a factor of 3 lower than what you are gaslighting as not significant

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  29th April 2020

              Sorry, too stupid to answer.

            • Blazer

               /  29th April 2020

              don’t be too hard on yourself…Al.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  29th April 2020

              I’m not, B. Just applying the never argue with a fool test.

    • Tom Hunter

       /  29th April 2020

      Hey Alan
      You might be interested in this analysis of two reports which get stuck into the notion of a full lockdown as the solution to pandemics vs. the traditional methods of quarantine and stopping widespread travel.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  29th April 2020

        Look very sensible, Tom. I posted my stuff as a comment there too.

        Reply
  3. david in aus

     /  29th April 2020

    “But our death rate went the other way, starting better (because we had very few deaths initially) but is now a bit worse than Australia.”

    The problem is there is a delay between getting the infection and death. When you see the pattern in NZ or in Germany versus comparable countries, it suggests that the epidemic took off later. That is the most likely explanation, as you see the same pattern in many countries.

    Another variable is the ramping up of testing rates. So you need to look at the test positivity rate, the higher the rate e.g. 20% in France compared to <2% in South Korea suggests that France is not testing sufficiently.

    The number of tests per capita is most important at the beginning of the epidemic. South Korea had high rates of testing at the beginning but as the epidemic is controlled the number of candidates to test diminishes. For instance, Italy now has a higher per capita test rate than South Korea but it does not mean that they had a better testing regimen. Rather they had more candidates to test as they lost control of the epidemic.

    I find that people interpret statistics in a political way to justify their actions. The pattern of delayed deaths was clear but many people interpreted NZs death rate compared to Australia at the beginning to justify the lockdown. In reality, there are very few differences between NZ and Australia in case and death rates. In fact, there are as many differences between Australian states vis-a-vis NZ. NZ ranks in closer the upper-middle of Australian states in terms of death and case rates.

    Reply
  4. Pink David

     /  29th April 2020

    Japan’s cases have fallen off a cliff without a lockdown. How strange.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/japans-coronavirus-cases-fall-sharply-without-compulsory-measures-11587993871

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  29th April 2020

      They had a lockdown ..very late
      ‘. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe first imposed the measure on seven regions on April 8 and later extended it to include the whole country.”
      It wasnt exactly like ours
      You are thinking about how they were going BEFORE the lockdown was eventually decided
      They are reducing numbers by not having much testing for the size of the country ( 7500 per day) , at our peak rate last week NZ was doing over 7000 per day ( its dropped back now)

      Reply
      • Pink David

         /  29th April 2020

        “It wasnt exactly like ours”

        Correct. It is not a lockdown.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  29th April 2020

          Sweden doesn’t have a lock down , other countries do.japan has a very old proportion of the population too. thanks
          Britain showed what happens when you delay going into lockdown
          So now you believe low death numbers when it agrees with your views but don’t believe the numbers when the lockdown is hard, eg Greece

          Reply
          • Pink David

             /  29th April 2020

            “Britain showed what happens when you delay going into lockdown”

            Britain went into lock down before NZ, March 23. The same day as Greece.
            Belgium locked down 14th March.

            Where is the relationship befween lockdowns and low Covid numbers? It looks totally random to me.

            “So now you believe low death numbers when it agrees with your views but don’t believe the numbers when the lockdown is hard, eg Greece”

            Where have I said this?

            Reply
          • Pink David

             /  29th April 2020

            “So now you believe low death numbers when it agrees with your views but don’t believe the numbers when the lockdown is hard, eg Greece”

            Question for you. Assuming the lockdown has worked as intended, i.e. it has stopped transmission of the virus and very people have been exposed to it, how do you unlock when the world will be full of people who are potential carriers?

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  29th April 2020

              As I said earlier, now that we are back to where we were in February will we do what we should have done then or keep on being stupid for another 12 months?

  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  29th April 2020

    Even the Guardian senses some chickens are beginning to think about coming home:
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/29/you-cant-compare-new-zealand-looks-on-australias-loose-lockdown-with-envy-and-horror

    The lockdown idiocies will not be overlooked and forgotten in the imminent economic collapse here. The insulated elite and academia will not be unscathed.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  29th April 2020

      so you like the Guardian this week…typical.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  29th April 2020

        When the Left lose the Guardian they are really in trouble. And just when they hoped they were winning.

        Reply
        • Fight4nz

           /  29th April 2020

          Very true. The power of the 1% has no greater impact than through the near ubiquitous media control and thereby the blatant subversion of democracy.
          It is incomprehensible that so many of the 99% now subscribe to the liberal economic agenda, often vehemently, and will vote against their own interests.
          How is it that there are still monarchies in what is supposed to be the Information Age?

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  30th April 2020

            It is comprehensible that most people will be distressed about the unnecessary loss of their livelihood – irrespective of whether they live in a monarchy or republic, constitutional or not.

            Reply
          • Gezza

             /  30th April 2020

            How is it that there are still monarchies in what is supposed to be the Information Age?

            In some cases, because, by consent, they don’t rule, they fulfil a largely titular role & act on the instruction of elected governments. They have come to embody the evolution & history of the state. When they lose the respect & affection thus consent of the people, they will be gone. I like Liz II.

            In other cases, (e.g. Saudi Arabia, Thailand) because they still have the power to rule by coercion & control of the security & armed forces. Removing them is more problematic.

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  30th April 2020

              The monarchy in Thailand do NOT control the armed forces.
              The monarchy in Thailand enjoy passionate ,public support(at least the last King did)but the military rules on behalf of the wealthy elite.

            • Gezza

               /  30th April 2020

              The wealthy elite includes his majesty.

            • Gezza

               /  30th April 2020

              And the King of Thailand’s titles include Head of State, Head of the Royal Thai Armed Forces, Adherent of Buddhism and Upholder of religions.

            • Blazer

               /  30th April 2020

              As stated he does not control the armed forces.
              Democratic elections in Thailand continually gave the ‘wrong’ result….the party aligned with the average Thai=the Red Shirts kept winning.
              Military intervention was the only way of restoring the born to rule.
              The usual PR and media manipulation didn’t work as it does in so many other places around the world.

            • Gezza

               /  30th April 2020

              As stated, the wealthy elite includes his majesty, who is the head of the Royal Thai armed forces. Can you point me to where he has directed them to not comply with the junta’s directives?

            • Blazer

               /  30th April 2020

              There is no big deal in being wrong from time to time.
              Desperately flailing about makes you appear petty.

              As an aside…’The commander-in-chief of the British Armed Forces, also referred to as commander in chief of the armed forces of the Crown, is a constitutional role vested in the British monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II,

            • Gezza

               /  30th April 2020

              No, I’m serious.,Have you witnessed what happens in the streets to ordinary – quite innocent – citizens of Thailand who are accused of disrespecting the King?

              He is part of the setup, by consent.

              I have a busy morning with an overdue project up on the roof – this is not something I have any interest in continuing a one-way dialogue with you on. More interested in today’s YNZ topics. Over & out.

            • Blazer

               /  30th April 2020

              I will consider that a tactical retreat.
              I am not interested in a dialogue about your roof project btw.

              This is the position you are haplessly trying to defend…


              In other cases, (e.g. Saudi Arabia, Thailand) because they still have the power to rule by coercion & control of the security & armed forces. Removing them is more problematic.’

              Note IN OTHER CASES….you made a distinction…

              Hope the air is fresh but not too breezy,you do not want to falldown again so early in the ..day.

            • Gezza

               /  30th April 2020

              Of course you do. I don’t. I call it not indulging your obsessional personality over this. I haven’t fallen down, but your concern for my safety and welfare, while reeking of insincerity, are appreciated nonetheless.

            • Blazer

               /  30th April 2020

              O.K you win, by dint of being not only ‘obsessional’ but …’delusional’…and showing signs of being slippery!

    • Pink David

       /  30th April 2020

      A very sly dig indeed.

      ““I’m pleased New Zealand did the experiment,” said Peter Collignon, a professor of microbiology at Australian National University in Canberra, referring to New Zealand’s strident lockdown. “I think it actually shows that when you compare it to Australia, you can achieve the same result but without the same economic and social hardship that a complete lockdown involves.””

      I wonder if NZ’ers realised they were guinea pigs in an untested and unproven experiment.

      Did Jacinda’s ‘expert’s tell her this had never been tried before and there was evidence for it? Being scientist, it would have been highly unethical to have not done so. Did Jacinda tell NZ’ers this was not science based?

      There will be a reckoning.

      Reply
      • Pink David

         /  30th April 2020

        That should read ‘no evidence for it’.

        Reply
      • Blazer

         /  30th April 2020

        it was a new situation,never been dealt with before FFS!

        Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  30th April 2020

        I thought Jacinda consulted her friends in London and took their advice. No evidence that was science-based, rather she rejected advice to close the borders thus costing every NZ man, woman and child upwards of $20k each.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  30th April 2020

          pure fantasy Al…you should go for a walk….a lifetime of being surrounded by stupid people has overwhelmed..you.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  30th April 2020

            I’m resisting the overwhelming, B, even now. Which bit of my factual comment do you insinuate is fantasy?

            Reply
      • “Did Jacinda’s ‘expert’s tell her this had never been tried before and there was evidence for it? Being scientist, it would have”

        Measures taken by all countries have never been tried before in a situation anything like this, so they were all running experiments with no way of being sure what was the optimal approach.

        And they still don’t know what the optimal approach may have been for some time.

        Political and economic and social decisions are generally made without proof of a given result, that would be impossible.

        Science experiments are never done with the expectation of a particular outcome either.

        Reply

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