Covid-19 modeler says New Zealand’s Omicron death rate comparable to other countries

A Covid-19 modeler hopes Omicron hospitalizations have peaked and claims that at this point New Zealand’s death rate is at a level comparable to other countries during a wave of Omicron.

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The number of people in need of care fell for four consecutive days until yesterday, although the number of people in hospital increased slightly from 841 yesterday to 848 today.

Even with today’s slight increase, there are still 168 fewer people in hospital than at the start of last week.

However, 83 people have died with Covid-19 in the past seven days, by far the highest toll for a week during the pandemic, with 20 deaths reported yesterday.

Covid-19 Modeling Aotearoa project leader Dion O’Neale said New Zealand’s Covid death rate was about the international standard for an Omicron wave.

He said the numbers appear to be comparable to those in other countries: “We’re not looking for exceptional death rates either way.

“One thing that has a big risk of death is if you start spreading that starts to work its way through elder care and residential care facilities, that’s a situation to very high risk and it’s going to give you these spikes, or clusters of deaths coming together.”

In total, New Zealand has recorded 258 Covid-related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

O’Neale hopes New Zealand has seen the peak in hospitalizations.

But he warns the descent will be “bumpy” with increases if the virus enters vulnerable populations like nursing homes.

O’Neale said that for this wave, the country appears to have avoided a “collapse” in the healthcare system that some people have worried about.

“From the data I’ve seen anyway, it looks like we’re getting by and maybe we’ve hopefully managed to get past the worst of this peak without exceeding that capacity.”

Hospitals have made unusual efforts to keep operating while many of their own staff are on sick leave – including people working other jobs to manage demand.

Canterbury nurses who volunteer for extra shifts in aged care are given $350 a night to cover Covid-related staffing shortages, while nurses and midwives in Auckland have seen each other offering a $500 bonus to work extra night shifts as staff shortages soared to 25% during the city. Peak of Omicron.

At Middlemore Hospital in Auckland, doctors and medical technicians stepped in to help on the wards and in the emergency department during Omicron’s spike, while in Wellington non-clinical staff with clinical training stepped in to help fill staffing shortages.

Only about half of planned care was happening in Wellington-area hospitals last week, while hospitals in Auckland suspended all but the most urgent care during its Omicron peak.