“Alarming turning point” in New Zealand, which passes the bar of one million cases of Covid-19

New Zealand has passed the symbolic mark of one million positive cases of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, inform the site stuff. The title nevertheless specifies that the experts agree that the real number of contaminations is largely underestimated: these could in reality be three times more numerous.

“Around 40% of cases were asymptomatic, and in New Zealand testing and reporting to authorities was largely left to the discretion of the sick,” writing stuff, citing the words of Dr. Dion O’Neale, modeller of the Covid-19 epidemic at the Te Pūnaha Matatini research center. It suggests that asymptomatic cases added to unreported infections and those not verified by lack of access to screening lead to an erroneous assessment of contamination.

New wave coming?

New Zealand had long experienced an epidemic situation that was atypical to say the least. Relatively spared by the first waves, the archipelago suffered the full brunt of the arrival of the Omicron variant: while only 15,000 cases had been recorded for nearly two years, contamination soared in January, with peaks of about 20,000 daily infections. If the mortality rate remains relatively low compared to that of other countries – less than 900 deaths for more than 5 million inhabitants – almost all of the deaths have occurred in recent months.

“It took just three months for the number of cumulative cases in New Zealand to drop from 20,000 to one million. An alarming turn which, according to specialists, reflects the scale of the problem to come”, worry about it New Zealand Herald. “A year ago, when the Kiwis [le surnom donné aux habitants de la Nouvelle-Zélande] were enjoying a life free of a virus being eliminated, that figure would have been shocking.” The Auckland daily maintains that many unknowns remain on the duration of immunity after infection and on the effectiveness of vaccines against a new variant. He therefore wonders about the possibility of a new wave, from the austral winter.

From the UK, the daily The Guardian highlighted also the uniqueness of the situation in New Zealand. The country had opted for an extremely strict “zero-Covid” strategy, but had lifted most of the restrictions concerning the pass and the vaccination obligation as of March.

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