A public health expert says New Zealand's Covid-19 response is still one of the best in the world, two years after the first case was discovered here.
Two years ago today, the first case of the coronavirus was confirmed in New Zealand, in a recent returnee.
The entire country would go into lockdown for the first time less than a month later.
As New Zealand marks two years of living with Covid-19, 14,941 new community cases of the virus were announced yesterday alone and a total of 56 people have died from it.
Epidemiologist Michael Baker said this country still has the lowest death rate from Covid-19 in the OECD by a large margin, however.
"The pandemic is now thought to have killed about 20 million people across the globe," he said.
"And they're mainly in countries where, obviously, they've had limited resources, or they've had very poor leadership from the governments.
"It's interesting to see, in somewhere like Russia, the pandemic has now killed almost 0.8 percent of the entire population."
Baker said he is still optimistic about the future, highlighting that life expectancy in New Zealand has risen by about eight months over the course of the pandemic - one of the only countries in which this has happened.
By comparison, the life expectancy of Russian residents had dropped by about two years, he said.
"We haven't seen those kinds of impacts since the Second World War."
Baker said the outbreak will peak over the next month before declining. He warned we will see tens of thousands of new infections every day, and the total number of people with Covid-19 is likely much higher than the number of people that get tested.
However, he said New Zealand has fared well compared to other countries.
"By delaying the arrival of the Omicron variant, it's given us a good opportunity to get highly vaccinated and boosted. And also, we have what is called peak immunity, because we've had our vaccine doses and boosters very recently and that means we're ready to meet this virus with a lot of anti-bodies."
The Ministry of Health said more than two thirds of eligible New Zealanders have now had their booster dose, with 28,836 people receiving their boosters on Saturday.