8 Feb 2022

Covid-19: New modelling expects Omicron to peak at 10,000 daily cases

10:03 am on 8 February 2022

New Covid-19 modelling suggests at the peak of the Omicron outbreak, New Zealand will see 10,000 daily cases.

A testing station for Assembly of God congregations in Māngere.

A testing station in Auckland during the Delta lockdown. Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi

The latest modelling from Rodney Jones, out later this week, also predicted about 500 deaths over a year.

On Saturday, New Zealand recorded its largest ever one-day case number with 243 new cases of Covid-19 in the community.

When the decision to move the entire country to the red traffic light setting was made on 23 January, there were 24 community cases of Covid-19 reported that day, and 43 cases the day before.

Jones told Morning Report New Zealanders' willingness to comply with public health measures must be taken into account when modelling.

New Zealand was relatively successful with its Delta outbreak - an experience that is incorporated into his modelling, he said.

"What we saw was the ongoing vaccinations was what worked with Delta. What we need to achieve with Omicron is the same thing, ongoing boosters this time. That will deliver a much better outcome," he said.

"We can get a bad scenario, and a bad scenario in our model is 16,000 to 20,000 cases and that's if people stop getting boosted and home isolation stops working so effectively.

"If we stop doing what we did in Delta, yeah we can get big numbers, we can't engineer 50,000, that doesn't apply to New Zealand."

He said home isolation and vaccination had been vital to keeping case numbers low and he would be cautious in rolling that back.

"It's isolation with the ongoing vaccination seems to be what's made New Zealand different."

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