So we have heard people talk about the fact Australia has done better than New Zealand in handling the Covid-19 situation but is this actually the case? And remember we have all only seen the first wave, so it is likely to still be a fluid situation that will change.
If history repeats, it is the 2nd wave which causes the largest amount of grief in a pandemic, history shows us we have returned to some form of normality and got complacent before being hit again by a tsunami that gets out of control.
So far Australia has had a reasonable number of cases (6,649 Confirmed), and includes 74 deaths to date. I would suggest that these figures aren’t anything to write home about, these kind of figures I would suggest are higher than they need to be, and Australia doesn’t have a handle on things.
Australia is a larger country than New Zealand, so should we compare these figures on a per capita base?
Because Australia’s count only includes confirmed cases we need to compare our confirmed cases also, our cases are a much smaller number of cases (1113 confirmed) and includes 14 Deaths. These figures are much more appealing, and appears to show NZ in a much better position.
Australia has 5 x the population of New Zealand (approx) so we need to work out some figures.
Australia has had 261 cases per 1 million population, 3 (rounded to nearest whole number, 2.96 Actual) Deaths per million population and has tested 17,743 tests per million population.
New Zealand has had 230 cases per 1 million population, 3 (rounded to nearest whole number, 2.83 Actual) deaths per million population and tested 19,658 tests per million. So per capita we have a similar death rate, does this mean anything though? Well simple answer is not really, we need to look at the bigger picture.
New Zealand has had a far lower rate of hospitalization, and actually has 2 people classed as serious / critical at the moment, where Australia has 47, or 23.5 x the amount of people deemed serious or critical than New Zealand a country with approx, 1/5 the population of Australia.
Active cases, and recovered cases are a little harder to work out, as New Zealand includes the probable cases in there calculations.
As you can see though, Australia has had a larger number of cases per capita, and has a much higher rate of serious / critical care patients.
This is indication that New Zealand’s approach has worked better than Australia’s at present. Also looking at the figures available today, New Zealand is much better placed than Australia going forward, (the most important part) Whilst some may criticize the governments approach, crunching the numbers against Australia even, shows that New Zealand’s approach is the better approach to date. New Zealand has a higher test rate, I also suggest that the indication of percentage of people in Serious or Critical condition in Australia, also suggests Australia hasn’t been finding the cases early enough, the spread has been wider and there is likely alot of undetected cases.
Like I have said though it is what happens from this point now to determine the better approach, so it is premature, to say either way, the economic impacts and future cases will determine it in the future.
Australia appears that it will need to be more careful in the future, and also that any measures that are in place there will need to remain longer than New Zealand, that can all change depending on what happens from this point. If you look elsewhere overseas you will see the second wave starting to hit some countries, so we need to be careful on our approach and not become complacent, otherwise we will end up in a worse position than when the decision was made to go into lockdown, which would be devastating to New Zealand, I would suggest that if a second wave took hold here in New Zealand, it would devastate our small wee country, our resources are fairly well stretched at present. We shouldn’t be in a rush to go into anything we aren’t prepared for.
These per capita figures though are almost pointless, but I was doing this to see if there was absolutely any truth to anyone suggesting Australia has handled things better than New Zealand. Australia waited for New Zealand to make its move before doing anything, despite them having the virus and signs of it before New Zealand. In hindsight New Zealand’s cases are still probably higher than we would like to have seen, and we should of acted earlier, and also had tougher measures on those arriving into the country earlier on.
Compare New Zealand’s position with another similar nation such as Ireland, and you can see why our measures were needed.
But I need to reiterate, we are not out of the woods yet, we can’t get complacent, and we still need to look after one another. This will be going on for some time yet, but all indicators so far show us on the right track, we just have to maintain that track and not take the wrong junction, as doing so will be devastating.
Remembering pre-lockdown we were on a similar trajectory to Italy, America, UK, and Ireland, look where they are now.
So in summary, anyone saying that Australia has the better situation that New Zealand, I say time will tell, but currently New Zealand is much better placed than its pacific neighbor.
Published by D Blair, Christchurch based on figures available at 10AM 23/04/20