Despite the uncertainties, there is emerging evidence as to how COVID-19 is now likely to play out, both in New Zealand and across the globe. Identifying these scenarios is fundamental to subsequent response strategies for economic recovery
There are two big uncertainties with COVID-19. The first is whether there will be a vaccine and if so, when it will be rolled out. The second is the proportion of asymptomatic cases for each confirmed case. This second issue will have a fundamental influence on how long will it take, both with and without a vaccine, before some level of population immunity can be reached across the globe.
Despite the huge uncertainties in relation to both a vaccine and asymptomatic infections, there is newly emerging empirical evidence in relation to each of them. I will look at each in turn.
There are also some other issues where the evidence is now more sustained and increasingly compelling. First, it is increasingly likely that genuine elimination of the disease within New Zealand can be achieved and kept that way, as long as border control remains tight. Getting it wrong at the border risks everything.
Second, there is very high likelihood that Europe and the USA will have at least one more devastating wave of COVID-19, with that wave much more devastating than the current one. It is going to be a big mess.
Third, in much of the less-developed world, including middle-income countries such as Brazil, COVID-19 is out of control and unstoppable.
More on all of those also.
There is good news with vaccines
Just this last week, American-based Moderna announced early stage success with its revolutionary messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine trials. Many in the global media, parroting off each other, misunderstood what it was about and provided a flawed commentary, including the mistake that results were based on only eight people. Continue reading