A third Covid wave is currently sweeping over the country.
You can tell it by empty offices, the coughs you hear on public transport and the surge in case numbers.
Otago University epidemiologist professor Michael Baker tells The Front Page podcast numbers have been tracking up over the last eight weeks and we are facing a “swarm of variants” moving through society.
“We’ve seen a moving average of about 3500 cases reported every day,” he says.
“We have about 400 people in hospital and about 20 to 30 people dying every week. That’s a big increase from a few weeks ago.”
The problem is that this uptick in cases comes at a time when the psychology of society has shifted markedly. The case numbers – and even death statistics – simply don’t have the effect that they once had.
It also comes at a time when the Government has rolled back many of the mandates that previously stemmed the flow of Covid through the community.
Baker says that while there are still some rules - such as isolation periods and mandated mask-wearing in healthcare and aged-care settings - much of the onus now rests on the personal responsibility of Kiwis.
The Manawatu District Council last week responded to the lack of Government-mandated restrictions by imposing Covid rules on staff amid the latest outbreak.
- So how far should employers go to protect staff?
- What rules should the Government think about bringing back?
- How much of a risk does long Covid pose to New Zealand?
- How bad could this outbreak become as people start moving around during the holiday period?
- And what should we do before family gatherings to keep our loved ones Covid-free?
Listen to today’s episode of The Front Page podcast for Baker’s take on why Covid is not yet done with us.