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New Zealand postpones election by 4 weeks after virus outbreak in Auckland

23 Comments
By NICK PERRY

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23 Comments
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4 weeks in NZ as opposed to 1 year in HK. I sense that NZ wants to get the job done, whereas HK is taking a leaf out of the Trump administration's book.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Makes a lot of sense.

1/3 of the population is in Auckland, and politicians from all parties are now unable to undertake crucial election campaigning in the lead up to the big day in this city.

It is a fair call.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

A sensible, logical, and politically pragmatic precautionary step for New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to take.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Under New Zealand law election just has to be held by end of year. Pretty uch universal agreement that a month's delay gives increased safety and will get more people out to vote.

Just 7 new cases today. All seem to be related to original cluster. Should hopefully be back to zero cases by the end of the week and everything back to normal by end of the month. We got this.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Makes sense and no need for removals of post boxes, or people snatched off the streets by unmarked cops.

Ardern winning international praise for the way she's handled the crisis.

Well, yes. It's deserved, even if she's a moderate who doesn't go far enough (in my book). Well done, JA.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

She said she wouldn't consider delaying the election again — no matter what was happening with any virus outbreaks.

If you delay it once,you might do it again.And if in a month's time, it's worse than now,she'll surely do it.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I cannot understand how any logical thinker can conclude NZ's present action makes any sense.

The first lockdown obviously failed if the goal was to eliminate the virus from their islands and lockdown 2.0 will have the same result.

It may eliminate it again for a short time but unless NZ plans on keeping its borders closed to all outsiders and forbidding it's citizens from leaving or returning, the virus will once again find its way there.

So what will they do next the same thing?

What do we call doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result?

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

What do we call doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result?

No one expects a different result. We expect the same result: when the virus takes off, we clamp down.

Rinse and repeat. 'Cause it's here to stay. Until we have a vaccine.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Ever wonder why it's called a novel virus? 'Cause it's new.

See, we know a lot about flu viruses and what to expect each flue season. The strain of the influenza virus that strikes each winter constantly evovles. So, each year, flu experts have to create new vaccines based on the type of flu they predict will circulate that year.

How do they predict it? 'Cause summertime in the northern hemisphere is winter in the southern. [ See here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9n04SEzuvXo}. Meaning, the where I live in sunny CA, we are now having a heat wave. Not a flu wave. But in Aussie land, well it's winter and the flu is going strong. Aussie scientists send their flu strains to the US right about now every year, and our scientist start working on a vaccine for the US based on those Aussie winter strains. Come winter, we reciprocate, where the Aussie scientists then use our strains to make vaccines for themselves. And so it goes, year after year. New-ish strains, but almost always, nothing out of left field. We all get vaccinated and we are safe.

In contrast, very little is known about the new coronavirus. 'Cause its a new virus that jumped species from something to us.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Black Sabbath

You do realise that even the most optimistic view on vaccine is that it will work about as well and as long as the present influenza vaccines do.

So about a year at the most then one will need to get vaccinated again and that will be every year.

Now seeing in most western countries we will include NZ about 30% at most get a yearly vaccine for the flu and in most years it is more around 20% I doubt any yearly covid-19 vaccine will reach the 70% needed to actually make a difference during seasonal outbreaks.

And it all depends on vaccines being developed, ready on time before each year's covid and flu season if it arrives earlier than expected or the year's vaccine batch is not ready in time then it get even messier.

When the virus takes off let's see the clamp down was at 7 cases is that the threshold for takeoff?

The west is living in a fantasy expecting to go on like this for 2 to 3 years as it waits for vaccines and if one is available the 2 years before it is widely available and that will mostly be in developed countries.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Antiquesaving

In case you forgot, we eradicated smallpox. I am less pessimistic than you about our ability to vaccinate enough people in the coming years to control this virus.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Until then, no sports. No bars. Too bad.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I'm not a fan of Ardern, but she was damned if she did, damned if she didn't when it comes the election date. The right call has probably been made to put the election back a few weeks.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

AntiquesavingToday  02:28 pm JST

I cannot understand how any logical thinker can conclude NZ's present action makes any sense.

The first lockdown obviously failed if the goal was to eliminate the virus from their islands and lockdown 2.0 will have the same result.

It may eliminate it again for a short time but unless NZ plans on keeping its borders closed to all outsiders and forbidding it's citizens from leaving or returning, the virus will once again find its way there.

So what will they do next the same thing?

What do we call doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result?

NZ is on the right path. They only have to last as long as it takes for an effective vaccine/treatment to be developed. With 190+ candidates in development around the world, its only a mater of time.

Even if the best one only offers six months protection, that's long enough to vaccinate everyone in the country, then require anyone entering to have done the same.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@Black Sabbath

Look up the difference between the types of viruses.

Smallpox is a variola virus which is a DNA virus very different from covid-19 a RNA virus like influenza which as anyone can clearly see has no long term vaccine and thus why Smallpox was possible to eliminate but no such possiblity at this point if doing so with influenza or covid-19.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

You miss the salient point: that we can achieve things when we try.

Not when we blather about the heat of spring washing the virus away, or bleach. Or uv rays.

Or hydroblablabla.

When we listen to the epidemiologists and, balancing those concers with others, instigate best practices, we get optimum outcomes.

That is what Ardern does. And it is right.

It's right to clampdown to stop a spike.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@InspectorGadget

Seems people read vaccine being developed and just stop reading at that point.

People need to keep reading and look a few things up, like the difference between RNA and DNA virus.

No long term vaccine for any RNA virus.

This is a fact and something so many seem so eager to ignore as if some miracle will happen and suddenly science will come up with one after decades of trying.

Would I like a long term vaccine like for smallpox, etc.. ? Yes I would be first in line seeing my lung damage from a past near fatal pneumonia puts me at high risk with covid-19.

But reality prevails and that is not going to happen anytime soon.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The timing though....

See, we know a lot about flu viruses and what to expect each flue season.

This is not a flu virus. Its a cold virus called corona. Some of its other forms are MERS and SARS. As far as I know there has never been a vaccine for any cold virus let alone corona, despite trying, especially in the cases of MERS and SARS and now Covid 19. And even if by some miracle a vaccine is created in a timely fashion and by another miracle actually approved in a timely fashion, its pretty much guaranteed to be 50 percent or less effective. So I don't know why people keep going on and on about vaccines except as a nice story to keep their spirits up.

That said, a one month delay I can see, but beyond that absolutely not. If I were a Kiwi, I would be keeping my eye on this ball. I already felt from the first lock down that they went over-board and it would fail in the end anyway. I will feel no different about a renewed one. Hoping for a vaccine or good lock down results is one thing, but holding out hope is something else. Life and elections MUST go on. It is the destiny of all of us to die and we just cannot save everybody no matter which path we choose.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@InspectorGadget

Even if the best one only offers six months protection, that's long enough to vaccinate everyone in the country, then require anyone entering to have done the same.

Nice so you expect to force all of NZ to get the vaccine every 6 months and force all those entering the country also.

Let not think about how that sound more like NK than NZ, but you forget that for many reasons certain people are not able to be vaccinated just one example are those with immuno compromised systems, etc...

Wow I didn't think this virus affected people in such a away as to drive them to such extreme draconian thinking.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Antiquesaving: you seem to know a lot a RNA viruses. So can you tell me why the flu vaccine only lasts one year?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I would not support this as it can lead to longer extensions then no elections. Trump is watching!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Bobby Fizzicola

It is an easy thing to look up.

I am no virologist so the best and simplest response is that these types of viruses for lack of a better word mutate just enough that our immune system no longer sees it as the same virus.

Also our own immune system for a reason only an expert can explain stops or lowers antibody production for the virus quickly 3 to 6 months though some immunity may remain chances are the next season the virus mutated and our systems remaining antibodies are not those needed for the mutated strain.

These are just some factors there are more but best to actually ask an expert.

This is why new vaccines for the flu are needed each year and why the vaccine this year may not be the same as next year's.

As @Vanessa Carlisle

Pointed out Corona viruses are like the cold virus and science has yet to develop a vaccine for the cold virus because of the RNA viruses unique way of replication that leads to mutations.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Antiquesaving: Right, the vaccine remains effective against the virus particles that it was produced to provide protection against. However, flu viruses have 2 antigen proteins (an H and an N antigen) in their virus coats to which the antibodies produced by our B cells bind. These virus antigens constantly mutate slightly over time and thus the antigens that are produced against an old copy of the virus (a process called antigenic drift). However, the vaccine as well as previous infections to influenza do provide more protection to the virus than having never being exposed to it. An example of this when the one or both of the coat antigens switches form which happens roughly every 30 years for each type. When both types change, it can have devastating effects as was seen in the 1918 outbreak. The reason that the 1918 pandemic was so deadly was that the H and the N protein both changed form and so people had no antibodies which could recognized the antigens in the virus protein coat. So it killed lots of people and had a high kill rate. So it is not that the vaccine itself is ineffective after 12 months, it is that the vaccine was produced against a virus at a specific point in time and the virus antigens have changed....

More generally, I agree with you that it may not possible to produce a reliable vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, but there are promising signs. A number of research groups have found that their vaccines have led to antibodies being detected in blood samples of subjects meaning subjects were able to neutralize the virus. Moreover, there are effective long-term vaccines against RNA-based viruses. For example, the vaccine for Hepatitis A (which is an RNA-based virus) can give protection which lasts over 25-years if administered correctly. So it is not all doom and dismay as you suggest. There is cause for long-term optimism that we can develop a vaccine although its licensing and large scale roll-out may take a while for sure...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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