Positive News; Cases drop as Vaccination rises - Dr Rawiri Taonui

By Contributor

By Māori Covid-19 Analyst Dr Rawiri Taonui, in partnership with Te Ao Māori News.

On Saturday there were 98 new cases, the second day in a row cases were under 100. This continues the recent levelling and decline in new cases back to mid-October levels.

Daily Cases (Last 100 Days) - 05122021

The decline reflects the rise in vaccinated numbers. Adjusting for the undercount in the Ministry of Health vaccination data the number of New Zealanders vaccinated reached 90% yesterday. Of these 84.2% are fully vaccinated.

In other positives, the average number of cases with community exposure is averaging 45 per day this week, down from 59 per day last week. The number of daily unlinked cases is 73 per day, down from 99 last week. Hospitalisations and people in ICU/HDU remain steady at an average of 82 and 8.5 per day.

Concerns

Of concern, the number of unlinked cases over the last fortnight remains an average of 900 per day but significantly yesterday this had dropped to 840.

In further worry, we continue to see new cases in several District Health Boards and regions, including in Northland, Auckland, Waikato, the Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay, and the Lakes. There are also continuing positive wastewater samples in Gisborne with a high likelihood this indicates undetected cases.

Māori Cases

There were 36 new Maori cases on Friday, the first time in 61 days that Māori were not the highest number of daily cases.

Unfortunately, Māori returned to the highest number of cases yesterday with 68 or 69.4% of all new cases. The total number of Māori cases also topped 4,000 for the first time and in another record active Māori cases passed the 3,000 mark.

Based on current numbers per 100k of the population, Māori are 7.8 times more likely than non-Māori/Pacific to become infected, 6.0 times more likely to be hospitalised and 3.9 times more likely to die.

Cases by Ethnicity - 04122021

Māori Vaccination

Māori vaccination continues at a high rate with a 71.8% increase or more than 200,000 vaccinations since 15 September.

The total number of Māori who have received at least one dose of the vaccine reached 77.6% yesterday, including 65.5% fully vaccinated.

Māori remain behind the national totals by 12.5% for at least one vaccination and 18.7% for doubled vaccination.

Vaccination by Ethnicity

Current Projection of Cases

Last week to 29 November, the number of new cases fell by 100 or 4.5% over the previous week. This week new cases are on track to drop by 300 or more than 20% over the previous week.

On the current 7-day rates of 138 total new cases and 71 new Māori cases, there will be 11,700 cases by Christmas, of which 5,450  will be Maori. This is much lower than the 7-day rates seen during  November, which had indicated over 14,000 cases including over 6,000 Māori by Christmas.

Whether the downward trend continues will very much depend on what happens when the Auckland border opens on 15 December and when or if cases appear in under-vaccinated Māori areas. The gap between Māori and overall vaccination is closing but still concerningly wide.

Noho haumaru, stay safe.

Dr Rawiri Taonui