New Zealand is currently experiencing its fifth wave of Covid-19, and it appears to be the largest spike in infections seen all year. This wave offers a glimpse into the long-term future of the country’s battle against the coronavirus. Health officials recently reported a total of 7,881 new Covid-19 cases for the week, with 1,474 of those cases labeled as “probable.” These numbers are significantly higher than the previous week’s count of 5,947 and 1,047, respectively.
The spike in cases is accompanied by an increase in hospitalizations, with numbers rising from 284 to 349 compared to the previous week. Wastewater surveillance has also detected a higher amount of the virus, with an average of 5.06 million copies per person per day. This is twice the amount detected just a month prior.
According to Otago University epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker, the hospitalization peak during this fifth wave seems to be even higher than what was observed during the fourth wave. This suggests that New Zealand may experience peaks and troughs in the long term as the country grapples with the virus.
However, epidemiologists and modellers do not predict this wave to reach the heights of the previous wave in 2022. Additionally, there is no evidence of any new game-changing subvariant contributing to the surge in cases. The latest ESR sampling shows a mix of Omicron subvariants, particularly the EG.5 or “Eris” type, driving the spread.
As Christmas approaches, it remains to be seen whether infection rates will continue to rise. Wastewater detections have shown a slight dip, suggesting that the wave may be peaking in some parts of New Zealand while increasing in others.
Professor Baker emphasizes the need for a national approach to managing peak periods. Priority areas that require attention include promoting booster shots, supporting self-isolation measures, and implementing consistent policies for ventilation standards and mask use in healthcare settings.
In response to the ongoing pandemic, some experts have called for the establishment of a dedicated center for disease control, similar to those in the US and Australia, to better prepare for future pandemics.
Q: How many new Covid-19 cases were reported in New Zealand during the fifth wave?
A: Health officials reported a total of 7,881 new Covid-19 cases during the fifth wave.
Q: Did hospitalizations increase during this wave?
A: Yes, hospitalizations rose from 284 to 349 compared to the previous week.
Q: Is there evidence of a new subvariant contributing to the surge in cases?
A: No, there is no evidence of any new game-changing subvariant driving the increase in cases.
Q: What priority areas need attention in managing the current wave?
A: Priority areas include promoting booster shots, supporting self-isolation measures, and implementing consistent policies for ventilation and mask use in healthcare settings.
– [New Zealand Herald](https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/covid-19-omicron-updates-7900-cases-active-vaccination-rates-boosted-efforts-target-communities-with-hesitancy/SAYKACXMKMVGBW6C3OLM35EZIQ/)