Sunday, August 09, 2020

100 days without transmission

Today marks 100 days without any cases of community transmission of Covid-19 in New Zealand. Over that time, the only cases have been from people in managed isolation, which means they brought the disease into the country—and identifying them there is the whole point of having managed isolation: So they don’t spread the virus in the community. Even there, we’ve had four days in a row with no new cases.

Even so, public health officials constantly remind us that we mustn’t become complacent. The Director-General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, said:
“Achieving 100 days without community transmission is a significant milestone, however, as we all know, we can't afford to be complacent. We have seen overseas how quickly the virus can re-emerge and spread in places where it was previously under control, and we need to be prepared to quickly stamp out any future cases in New Zealand.”
Things can fall apart quickly, as Australia has demonstrated. Because of that, the government believes that new community transmission is inevitable, so in order to help prevent further spread, and to contain an outbreak, the government is now recommending that people stock up on masks now for use if there’s an outbreak near them. Health Minister Chris Hipkins said last week:
“The ministry is now recommending that as part of collective preparations for any future outbreak of Covid-19, households add sufficient masks for everybody normally resident in their household to their emergency supply kits.”
New Zealanders have long been told to have emergency supplies on hand to help a household get through a natural disaster, such as an earthquake or large flood (and this is why they’ used to be called “Get Thru” kits, but they’ve done away with the nickname on the government website). We now know that preparedness for pandemics is just one more risk to add to the list.

I have some masks on hand, but I intend to order some more for my kit (especially washable ones). If the government advises us to wear them, then I will, but we’re not at that point right now, and haven’t been for 100 days now. It’s also possible that it will never happen near me, but better to be prepared and not need it than the other way around.

I’m so glad to be living in New Zealand.


Roger Owen Green said...

The United States is doing even better!


Arthur Schenck said...