Covid-19: wave of signs could be near peak, with 20,802 cases last week

There are early signs that New Zealand could surpass the peak of the most recent Covid-19 vague, says a modeler.

There were 20,802 new cases of Covid-19 reported in the week from Monday October 31 to Sunday November 6, the Ministry of Health announced on Monday.

University of Auckland computational biologist Dr David Welch said there were suggestions we could be at the top, or “hopefully come down the other side”.

For six consecutive days, the number of reported cases was lower than the same day the previous week, and the seven-day rolling average of daily new cases across the country fell back below 3,000 (2,967 on Monday).

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However, it was still early days — you’d want to give him a week to a week and a half to come to any firm conclusions, Welch said.

“We hope this trend will continue.”

The ministry’s trend data said cases had “stabilized” in the week to November 6.

There are currently around 397 cases per 100,000 – a 1% increase from the previous week (ending October 30), when 20,522 new cases have been reported. The week ending October 30 had seen cases increase by 25%​ of the previous week, when the ministry reported 16,399 cases.

THINGS

Public Health Agency chief Dr Andrew Old said Covid-19 “is not over” during the latest pandemic briefing, despite US President Joe Biden’s statement. (First published September 21)

The ministry also reported 41 deaths last week, 13 of which have been attributed to Covid-19 (either as an underlying or contributing cause). The cause of the remaining 28 deaths was “not available” at this stage.

As of midnight on Sunday, there were 322 people hospitalized with Covid-19, including eight in an intensive care or high dependency care unit.

The ministry said the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 had also stabilized by midnight on Sunday – down from 323 the previous Sunday.

The number of cases in the week to November 6 followed the “median” modeled projection, and hospitalizations followed, the ministry said.

These trends were likely due in part to the increasing prevalence of new Omicron subvariants, as well as waning immunity (both from vaccination and previous infection) and behavioral changes, did he declare.

BA.5 remains the dominant variant in Aotearoarepresenting 80% of cases that have been whole genome sequenced, but BA.2.75 and BQ.1.1 have increased in recent weeks.

Between October 15 and 28, the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) identified 26 cases of BQ.1.1 and 15 cases of XBB, spread across the country.

In line with overseas data, there is “preliminary evidence that new variants (such as BQ.1.1) are overrepresented in reinfections,” ESR’s the latest genomic insights report said.

Welch said it’s entirely possible we could see another rise in Covid-19 cases, as new subvariants appear to have “significant” immune evasion from previous Omicron infections. take root in the community.

Immune evasion (sometimes called immune evasion) occurs when a virus mutates in a way that helps it evade or escape detection by antibodies produced by vaccination or infection.

Computational biologist and lecturer Dr David Welch said current data suggests we may be at the peak of this wave, but it is

Chris McKeen / Stuff

Computational biologist and lecturer Dr David Welch said current data suggests we may be at the peak of this wave, but it’s “quite possible we’ll see another surge” in numbers. of cases.

Sub-variants such as BQ.1.1, BA.2.75.2 and XBB have caused an increase in cases and a “significant” increase in the proportion of overseas reinfections is circulating in Aotearoa, which experts are “monitoring”.

Although these are at low percentages at the moment, if they were to have a significant impact on the number of cases, it is likely to happen within the next 2 to 4 weeks, Welch said.

Welch said there was an indication that people weren’t reporting as many positive results as they were, and encouraged people to continue testing and isolating if they had Covid-19.

“It’s one of the most effective ways to slow transmission in the community, and it makes it easier for everyone if it happens.”

Of the new cases reported, 3173​ (15% of the weekly total) were reinfections. Of these, 216 were reinfected within 90 days of a previous infection.

Of the 41 deaths reported by the ministry on Monday, one person was aged 40, one aged 50, three aged 60, 7 aged 70, 15 aged 80 and 14 aged over 90. two were female and 19 were male.

Waitematā (north and west Auckland) had the highest number of new Covid-19 cases in the past week: 2,863​, followed by Canterbury (2,433​) and Manukau counties (2018​).

Capital & Coast had seen 1,991 new cases in the week to Sunday, 1,913 were reported in Auckland and 1,602 in Waikato.

Carol N. Valencia