What Made New Zealand’s Covid-19 Response Successful
The country’s approach to most pathogens of pandemic potential is stamping them out versus containing them
Here’s how New Zealand crushed the curve. Writer Keren Landman, MD, takes a close look at the country’s response and highlights what makes it unique. Here’s an excerpt:
New Zealand’s approach to most pathogens of pandemic potential is “stamping them out” rather than containing them, says John Crump, MD, a global health epidemiologist at the University of Otago in Auckland — and its approach to Covid-19 was no different. The country identified its first case in late February, more than a month after the U.S., South Korea, and Italy identified theirs. That delay “bought New Zealand time to learn from what was happening elsewhere” and to integrate other countries’ successes and challenges into its own plan, he says. So in late March, when the country shut down nonessential businesses, banned most domestic travel, and closed its borders, its tactics received broad public support from a public that had seen other countries suffer from different strategies. It helped that New Zealanders have a particularly high level of trust for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who earned high praise for her unifying and compassionate style following a 2019 mass shooting in a Christchurch mosque.
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