Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Has the NZ Ministry of Health forgotten how to count?


Almost every day the Ministry of Health (MoH) holds a live press briefing at 1pm to announce the daily Covid statistics. Yesterday was the 300th briefing of the pandemic, lovingly referred to as the ‘Podium of Truth’ to honour the Ardern dictum that the government should be your only source of truth. Presumably most mainstream media outlets send along their junior stringer to record the information which is then duly reported to us plebs who missed the live broadcast. This is usually the leading story of the afternoon online editions and radio news bulletins.

By Guy Hatchard

The surge in Omicron infections, hospitalisations, and a mild sprinkling of deaths has enabled the current briefings to gain the added macabre interest of a Hammer horror film production.

Two days ago, I treated myself to the spectacle, because both Dr Ashley Bloomfield, the Director General of Health and Dr. Caroline McElnay, Director of Public Health were announcing their resignations. In the event, neither of them provided any reason for their departure, but duly congratulated each other on being jolly good fellows. The interesting part of the briefing was hidden away in their daily Covid data announcement.

“Of the 639 cases in hospital with Covid, 27 are in Northland, 99 in Waitemata, 116 in Counties Manukau, and 99 in Auckland. 29 are in high dependency care. Of those in hospital in the Northern Region with Covid, 40 people are unvaccinated or not eligible, 9 are partially immunised, 67 are double vaccinated, 76 are boosted. The vaccination status of 139 cases is unknown.”

What caught my interest was the fact that the MoH did not know the vaccination status of 139 cases in the Northern Region. That is a full 42% of all cases. In fact, since the realization a month ago that mRNA vaccination provides little or no protection against Omicron, the MoH daily briefings have suffered from a conspicuous absence of meaningful reports or discussion about the vaccination status of those hospitalized with Covid. This is presumably too embarrassing for the MoH worthies to mention.