Epidemiologist Michael Baker discusses today's level changes

The AM Show 27/08/2021

Epidemiologist Michael Baker talked to The AM Show this morning and believes the South Island and potentially parts of the North Island 'can comfortably move down alert levels' as long as they continue to have no cases.

"Now there's a choice about obviously the South Island, Auckland and potentially the rest of the North Island being treated differently," Dr Michael Baker told The AM Show.

"What alert level does the South Island or part of the North Island move to? Is it directly down to alert level 3, which seems reasonable, and when does it happen? Potentially next Tuesday night, which would be two full weeks."

"The whole country has been seeded with cases from Auckland - some of them have developed into cases obviously in Wellington, some people who went to the South Island obviously were just exposed. We haven't reached the maximum incubation period yet. 

"The wastewater testing is negative, there's a huge amount of testing of people who have been at those places of interest and also people showing symptoms that's happened in the South Island. As long as that stays negative of course, I think we can comfortably move down alert levels. At least for the South Island, potentially for parts of the North Island."

"We're still seeing new cases appearing, there's still transmission in Auckland - hopefully just in Auckland. It's just the sheer number of infected people, the fact some of them are still infecting large households - there's transmission there - and some of the cases are in essential workers who were out and about. That's still the weak spot with even alert level 4, which is a very tight lockdown. It still has about 10 percent of the workforce out and about. "

"An obvious change is we need this mask mandate probably at alert level 2 as well because we know a lot more about how this virus is transmitted. It's a very good respiratory pathogen that can spread as an aerosol. Otherwise there isn't very much at alert level 2 unless you have masks required indoors."