COVID19 strategy and herd immunity

darren sharpe made this Official Information request to Ministry of Health

Response to this request is long overdue. By law Ministry of Health should have responded by now (details and exceptions). The requester can complain to the Ombudsman.

From: darren sharpe

Dear Ministry of Health,

Can you please outline why the strategy for NZ management and mitigation of the COVID19 within NZ is to isolate and quarantine and try and prevent community transmission, when the previous stated aim was to flatten the curve and slow the community transmission within the populace as whole.

Against the backdrop of the strategy of Sweden to gain herd immunity, and with this, the ability of the wider population to withstand further and additional variants and mutations of the virus, NZ managed an apparent 100 plus days of no community transmission, and then suffered a number of community transmissions of a "new to NZ" variant.

Isolation and quarantine does not provide for the general populace to gain immunity (only the isolated person and close contacts gain immunity - as determined by the fact that treatment is generally to remain isolated until negative tests are confirmed), and therefore only those that have tested and show a negative result, and also the presence of antibodies can be considered immune.
The demographics of the impact of the virus also shows that regardless of location, the most impacted are the elderly, and the very young and younger population has the ability to withstand an infection resulting from COVID19, thus a specific policy to protect and manage those most at risk would allow the remainder of the population to continue in their everyday lives with additional precautions to appropriately reduce exposure to, and the impact of, community transmission, whilst still flattening the curve but gaining a level of immunity.

My hypothesis is that with an appropriate usage of existing therapies (as being proven in other countries) along with personal precautions, NZ is ideally positioned to demonstrate that the population can achieve general immunity and where immunity cannot be achieved, therapies utilised to mitigate the impacts of the virus...and thus my request is for the reason for the change to the original strategy as stated.

Yours faithfully,

darren sharpe

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