New Zealand has managed to dodge the COVID-19 bullet, again. Here’s why
In a new article on The Conversation, UC’s Associate Professor Arindam Basu examines how Aotearoa New Zealand has so far avoided a Covid-19 community outbreak.
New Zealand health authorities were quick to react, isolating and testing contacts and suspending travel. Of the traveller’s 2,609 contacts, 93% have now returned a negative test result.
But given the delta variant is up to twice as infectious as the original strain, the unique nature of how COVID-19 spreads also partly explains why New Zealand has managed to stave off an outbreak.
Among the factors that influence viral transmission, one variable is often overlooked: the K factor. This describes how a virus spreads in clusters and through superspreading events, and we now know that this is an important aspect of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
We have become more familiar with the R numbers — R0 which describes the number of people an infected person will pass the virus on to, on average, if no public health measures are in place, and Re which describes the infection rate once public health measures like masks, social distancing and vaccines have been introduced.