A fellow modeller has hit out at new Covid-19 modelling, calling it "overcooked" and "rushed" as it suggests nearly 7000 deaths with a 75 per cent vaccination rate.
A new modelling report has indicated it's possible to vaccinate 90 per cent of the population against Covid-19 - something that could even spare more than a million infections and largely free Kiwis from constant lockdowns.
But the modelling, just released by Te Pūnaha Matatini researchers, also suggests that vaccinations alone won't be enough to keep the virus at bay and public health measures would still be needed.
Covid-19 modeller Rodney Jones of Wigram Capital Advisors said the model which was released today seemed "rushed".
"It had the feeling of being rushed out with a sensational number," he said.
However, a Te Pūnaha Matatini researcher believes the model is not scaremongering but is a "dose of realism".
Jones told Newstalk ZB's Heather du Plessis-Allan the modelling could have been "more realistic" as he believed it sets up an "artificial construct".
"We are going to have restrictions, our world is different we aren't going to be at our level 1 or level zero when we know borders completely open, we are going to have restrictions and it's just going to be different but this sets up an artificial construct."
Even at 80 per cent coverage of over 5s, and assuming only baseline public health measures and limited test-trace-isolate-quarantine, the modelling carried a median estimate of 1.1 million infections, around 60,000 hospitalisations and nearly 7000 deaths – all within just a year.
"It just seems overcooked because we are always going to have restrictions," he said.
At 70 per cent coverage, the corresponding figures were 1.7 million infections, around 110,000 hospitalisations, more than 13,000 deaths, and nearly 18,000 hospital beds occupied at the peak.
But that was before the vaccine became available to young people over 12 – and before it could be assumed the shot would be approved for children older than 5 years old.
The modelling, however, still came with some troubling figures around what could eventuate if vaccine uptake – around 40 per cent of eligible people have so far received both doses, and 35 per cent one dose only – fell lower than 90 per cent.
Even at 80 per cent coverage of over 5s, and assuming only baseline public health measures and limited test-trace-isolate-quarantine, the modelling carried a median estimate of 1.1 million infections, around 60,000 hospitalisations and nearly 7000 deaths – all within a period of just a year.
At 70 per cent coverage, the corresponding figures were higher still at 1.7 million infections, around 110,000 hospitalisations, more than 13,000 deaths, and nearly 18,000 hospital beds occupied at the peak.
At 90 per cent, however, the modelling pointed to 171,000 infections – but only around 6000 hospitalisations, just over 600 deaths, and 438 beds occupied.
Te Pūnaha Matatini Covid-19 data modelling expert Professor Shaun Hendy told du Plessis-Allan Delta has changed the game.
"Unfortunately the Delta variant is more serious, than the variant most of the world was dealing with last year we are just pointing out that completing opening and not using adequate public health measures at that level of vaccination could have severe health consequences."
When asked how long until the model starts working, Hendy said the model suggests management strategies.
The modelling painted a much more optimistic than earlier modelling by the same researchers which found 97 per cent of Kiwis would need both Pfizer jabs for New Zealand to withstand Delta without the need for harder measures like lockdown.
Jones said New Zealanders must look forward with "hope and confidence".
"Going with a sensational number doesn't help us we need to have hope, we need to look forward with confidence and we need to work out how to manage our way," he said.
While Hendy said the Prime Minister saw the final model for the first time yesterday, Hendy said "it's giving her a view of the path forward".
"There is a way forward with high vaccination rates," he said.