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Covid Plan B: Protocol for re-opening New Zealand society

Covid Plan B was founded by:


Dr Simon Thornley – Senior lecturer of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, The University of Auckland

Dr Gerhard Sundborn – Senior lecturer of Population and Pacific Health, University of Auckland.

Dr Grant Morris – Associate Professor of Law, Victoria University of Wellington.

Dr Ananish Chaudhuri- Professor of Experimental Economics, University of Auckland and Visiting Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Dr Michael Jackson – Postdoctoral researcher; expertise in biostatistics and biodiscovery, Victoria University of Wellington


August 24, 2021

Protocol for re-opening New Zealand society

Introduction

18 months on from the world’s fearful response to the arrival of SARS-CoV-2, we provide an alternative to New Zealand’s elimination strategy to one of ‘living with covid-19’. We are now back in level four lockdown indefinitely with escalating PCR positive ‘cases’. We urgently need to reassess New Zealand’s elimination strategy and whether it makes sense given the new information.


The revised strategy takes account of five major developments over the period:


· The infection is far less threatening than originally forecast by authorities, including New Zealand, when they proposed lockdowns and other restrictions. Data from the WHO, CDC and other peer-reviewed studies show the median infection fatality ratio (IFR) is ~0.23%, not the projected 3.6%. The condition is therefore more akin to pandemics in 1957 and 1967 than influenza in 1918. Asymptomatic individuals do not spread the infection, removing the key idea underpinning lockdowns. Long-term health effects (“long covid”) have not proven any different to or more prevalent that those experienced in the recovery period from existing circulating pathogens.


· Questions still remain about the accuracy of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test used to diagnose ‘covid-19 cases’. The virus remains yet to be isolated, the sequence of the virus was generated in silico (stitched together from computer databases) and many people who test positive are asymptomatic . In addition, the clinical symptoms associated with covid-19 are not unique.


· It is clear that the average age of death with covid-19 is about the same as our life expectancy (~82 years). Older people are much more likely to die of covid than younger ones.


· Very rapid development of vaccines and dissemination of these in New Zealand. The vaccines show some evidence of reducing PCR positive cases, but not of prolonging overall survival or reducing transmission. In many countries now with highly vaccinated populations, there are increasing numbers of breakthrough cases. It is now obvious that vaccines will not stop the spread of the condition long term. In addition, clear evidence shows a major increase in post-vaccination deaths and serious injuries .


· Early treatment protocols are showing promise in the early treatment of cases otherwise destined to be hospitalised.


· New Zealand’s very low incidence of covid-19, with the apparent absence of community transmission for many months, whereas covid-19 cases occur freely throughout the rest of the world. Now, we are faced with yet another lockdown and an increase in case numbers.


The vaunted elimination objective makes re-engagement impossible without an improved vaccine administered as often as necessary to most of the population.

New Zealand cannot sustain economically or socially the years of border closure, threat of lockdowns, social disruption and government debt, needed to reach this position, if it can be reached at all. We believe, frankly, this to be a utopian pipe dream, but necessitating dystopian government dictates. The fabric of our society will be rent – then restitched to what?


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