May 04, 2020
Dr Rawiri Taonui | COVID Māori Update 04 May 2020 | The Importance of the ZERO | The Latest on Re-infection, Immunity, and a Vaccine
COVID Māori Update 4 May 2020 | The Importance of the ZERO | The Latest on Re-infection, Immunity, and a Vaccine
Dr Rawiri Taonui
New Zealand Situation
New and Total Cases
There are ZERO new cases today. Total cases are 1487. There are no new deaths. Total deaths stay at 20. New cases are single-digit or ZERO for 16 consecutive days. The 10-day trend is: 5-9-5-3-2-3-3-6-2-0. We need more ZERO days of positive tests and many of them before we can confidently move down from Level 3.
Have we eliminated COVID-19? No. We need to stay vigilant and protective. There will be more new cases. Testing in the regions is not yet thorough enough to make that call. Down the track further outbreaks are likely.
Recovered and Active Cases
1276 or 85.8% of all cases have recovered. Every recovery is one less risk. There is a new low for active cases of 191 cases, the first day we are below 200 active cases since 24 March (yesterday’s under-200 report was an error).
We are tracking to less than 50 active cases in 7 days. On 11 May, the government will decide whether we move to Level 1 or 2. The number of active cases must be as low as possible before we open the country further. The overseas ban should continue.
There were 2,473 tests yesterday. There are 152,696 in total. This is 30,540 tests per million. We are testing above many other countries of our size. The reduction from over 5,000 on previous days is a concern. There are still several areas of under-testing for Māori and Pasifika.
There are ZERO new Māori cases. This is the 13th time Māori have had ZERO new cases since 12 April. The 10-day trend runs: 1-0-0-0-1-0-0-0-0-0. The total stays at 126. Credit to the leaders and communities who have been to the forefront of protecting our communities. Mana to ZERO earned by all those who have volunteered to distribute parcels, look after kaumatua, and stand at the checkpoints.
With typical inaccurate ethnic data, the Ministry of Health says Māori are 8% of all cases. Māori are 8.5% of all cases. The single decimal place is important for tracking the current trend.
The combination of much of the Māori population living outside of large urban centres, increased testing of Māori in Te Tai Tokerau, the Waikato, Taranaki and Te Tai Rāwhiti and the existence of checkpoints continues to affording significant protection to regional and rural Māori communities
There are ZERO new Pacific cases today. The total is 79. The 10-day trend runs: 1-3-1-0-1-1-0-1-2-0. With typical inaccuracy on ethnic data, the Ministry of Health says Pacific are 5.0% of all cases. Pacific cases are 5.3%. Congratulations to the Pacific community for another ZERO, earned their steadfast fight against COVID-19. Mālō le tauivi.
COVID-19 | The Latest on Re-infection, Immunity, and Vaccines
Current research in China, South Korea and Japan shows that recovered people who re-test as positive for COVID-19 are unlikely suffering secondary infections. Researchers say these are ‘false tests’ or remnant dead parts of the virus. It is unlikely recovered patients who later test positive are infectious.
Their research also shows that COVID-19 does not penetrate the nucleus or centre of cells it infects meaning that unlike HIV and chickenpox which can lie dormant in a nucleus for years and then reactivate. COVID-19 enters a cell, quickly replicates, then bursts out to infect another cell without entering the nucleus. This means it does not cause reoccurrence from inside the patient.
The research is also saying that there is a possibility of reinfection if the recovered person encounters COVID-19 again, if antibodies within the system decline over time, or if COVID-19 has mutated enough to evade the body’s immunity memory.
Current indications are, however, that COVID-19 is mutating only very slowly with exceedingly minor changes in the DNA genome. By contrast, HIV mutates very rapidly so that no vaccine has been able to stop it. Flu mutates more quickly than COVID-19, but much more slowly than HIV, so an annual injection can be manufactured to fight the most recent mutations.
COVID-19 appears to mutate more slowly than the flu so there is a possibility that a once in a lifetime vaccine, like that for measles, might work. Alternatively, the scenario might be annual injections. A vaccine for COVID-19 will take some time. One is unlikely to be ready in less than 18 months to 2 years.
Experts believe the virus will behave like the virus that causes chickenpox, ‘imprinting’ on the host immune memory. Then, even if antibody levels drop over time, people will retain a population of memory cells that can rapidly boost production of more antibodies if they are exposed to the virus again.
Noho haumaru stay safe and self-sovereign, Dr Rawiri Taonui.
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