By Rowan Quinn for RNZ
Latest modelling suggests Auckland's Covid-19 outbreak is on track to reach a peak by the end of November - unless shopping gets in the way.
But there is a warning that some other pockets of the country may be in for a bumpy ride.
Te Punaha Matatini data modeller Shaun Hendy said case numbers were expected to get as high as 300 a day before tapering off in the current most likely scenario.
"That's still a lot, but it's better than some of the worse case scenarios where things don't peak until December or January and then we see much worse case numbers," he said.
But there was a strong caveat to the prediction.
It was still unclear what impact allowing shops to open at level 3.2 would have on case numbers - and whether that relaxation would cause people to break the rules more, Hendy said.
Under the more serious scenario, if the virus moved faster than vaccinations could take effect, cases could be at 1000 a day by Christmas.
But Hendy said vaccinations were going well in Auckland, and it was hoped the high rates might start to have an impact on daily cases numbers by the end of the month.
Of the eligible population, 93 per cent of Aucklanders had now had at least one dose, with 85 per cent fully vaccinated.
However, there were worrying signs for the rest of the country, Hendy said.
Over the weekend, cases appeared in Rotorua, Taupō and the Tararua district, with locations of interest in the Wairarapa and positive wastewater tests in Tauranga.
Hendy warned Covid-19 was getting closer to vulnerable rural areas where it could take hold, including small rural and Māori communities with lower vaccination rates.
He urged people in those areas to get vaccinated as soon as they could and for health authorities to do everything they could to make that happen.