View Article PDF

With COVID-19 now present in New Zealand, and the situation a genuine health emergency, it is essential our political leaders work together and use their influence to minimise the impact of the virus in our community.

As a group of more than 50 of the country’s leading infectious disease and public health scientists and professionals, we ask the following of our political leaders:

Although it is election year, we urge politicians resist the temptation to scaremonger in an attempt to score points in the media. Instead, they should use their moments in the spotlight to amplify messages of our health system’s preparedness and how New Zealanders can individually make a difference at this critical time. A cross-party parliamentary task force on COVID-19 could be one way to ensure this cooperation happens in a timely and productive fashion.

The level of fear around COVID-19 is high. New Zealanders are being bombarded with information and misinformation about this new viral disease. When people are scared or ill-informed, they aren’t at their best. When they are well-informed they can make a huge difference both as individuals and as members of the wider community. This is very true with COVID-19, where every person practising good hygiene and cough etiquette can radically impact the spread of this disease. If the virus spreads further throughout our communities, and authorities ask people to limit social contact and self-isolate, cooperation with these necessary measures will play a crucial role in minimising COVID-19’s spread and protecting the most vulnerable among us.

Teams of infectious disease, public health and primary care experts are advising the Government on the best way to deal with this threat. Specialist members of our country’s health system have been preparing for such a scenario for many years and their plans are being put into action, and tweaked where necessary as new information comes to hand. These experts are monitoring the rapidly changing situation, looking to what is being done and what is working in other countries, and giving pragmatic, evidence-based advice on a regular basis. Politicking and criticising these professionals who are working hard on behalf of the country does nothing more than undermine them and public confidence in our system. It is the media’s role to report on matters of public interest and concern, and we ask politicians to leave this task to them and instead show leadership in spreading essential information.

It is essential to work together in times of crisis. We need our politicians to avoid cluttering the media landscape with political messages and undermining the life-saving information coming from the government, health professionals, scientists and public health officials.

Summary

Abstract

Aim

Method

Results

Conclusion

Author Information

David Murdoch, Dean and Head of Campus, University of Otago, Christchurch; Co-Director, One Health Aotearoa; Michael Addidle, Clinical Microbiologist, Pathlab, Tauranga; Hanna-Sofia Andersson, Clinical Microbiologist, Medlab Central, Palmerston North; Brendan Arnold, Infectious Disease Physician, Southern District Health Board, Dunedin; Michelle Balm, Infectious Diseases Physician and Clinical Microbiologist, Capital & Coast District Health Board, Wellington; Jackie Benschop, School of Veterinary Science, Massey University, Palmerston North; Bryan Betty, Medical Director, Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners; Mark Birch, Infectious Diseases Physician, Canterbury District Health Board, Christchurch; Max Bloomfield, Infectious Diseases Physician, Capital & Coast District Health Board, Wellington; Cheryl Brunton, Senior Lecturer in Public Health, University of Otago, Christchurch; Public Health Specialist, Canterbury District Health Board, Christchurch; Andrew Burns, Infectious Diseases Physician, Hawke’s Bay District Health Board, Hastings; Stephen Chambers, Infectious Diseases Physician, University of Otago, Christchurch; Lynley Cook, Population Health Specialist, Pegasus Health, Christchurch; Simon Dalton, Infectious Diseases Physician, Canterbury District Health Board, Christchurch; Harvey Duncan, Chief Executive, New Zealand Sepsis Trust; Juliet Elvy, Clinical Microbiologist, Medlab South, Nelson Marlborough and Wellington Southern Community Laboratories; Richard Everts, Infectious Disease Physician and Microbiologist, Nelson Bays Primary Health, Nelson; Joshua Freeman, Clinical Microbiologist, Canterbury Health Laboratories, Christchurch; Nigel French, Professor of Food Safety and Veterinary Public Health, Massey University, Palmerston North; Co-Director, One Health Aotearoa; Kate Grimwade, Infectious Diseases Physician, Bay of Plenty District Health Board, Tauranga; David Hammer, Clinical Microbiologist, Northland District Health Board, Whangarei; David Hayman, Professor of Infectious Disease Ecology, Massey University, Palmerston North; David Holland, Director of Infection Services, Counties Manukau District Health Board, Auckland; Ben Hudson, Head of General Practice, University of Otago, Christchurch, Christchurch; Paul Huggan, Clinical Director of Infectious Disease, Waikato District Health Board, Hamilton; Rosemary Ikram, Clinical Microbiologist, Canterbury Health Laboratories, Christchurch; Susan Jack, Medical Officer of Health/Clinical Director, Public Health South, Southern District Health Boards, Dunedin; Matthew Kelly, Infectious Diseases Physician, Hutt Valley District Health Board, Lower Hutt; Iain Lamont, Professor, University of Otago, Dunedin; Michael Maze, Infectious Diseases and Respiratory Physician, Canterbury District Health Board and University of Otago, Christchurch; Gary McAuliffe, Clinical Microbiologist, Auckland District Health Board, Auckland; Stephen McBride, General and Infectious Diseases Physician, Clinical Head of General Medicine, Counties Manukau District Health Board, Auckland; Sarah Metcalf, Infectious Diseases Physician, Canterbury District Health Board, Christchurch; Susan Morpeth, Clinical Microbiologist and Infectious Diseases Physician, Counties Manaukau District Health Board, Auckland; Arthur Morris, Clinical Microbiologist, Auckland City Hospital, Auckland; Samantha Murton, President, Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners, Ramon Pink, Public Health Physician, Canterbury District Health Board, Christchurch; Alan Pithie, Consultant Infectious Diseases Physician, Christchurch; Martin Pitout, Clinical Microbiologist, Northland District Health Board, Whangarei; Patricia Priest, Epidemiologist, University of Otago, Dunedin; Nigel Raymond, Infectious Diseases and General Physician, Capital and Coast District Health Board, Wellington; Kerry Read, Infectious Diseases Physician, Waitemata District Health Board, Auckland; Stephen Ritchie, Infectious Disease Physician, Auckland District Health Board, Auckland; Matthew Rogers, Clinical Director, Infection Services and Laboratories, Waitemata District Health Board, Auckland; Philip Schroeder, Emergency Support Services for Canterbury Primary Care, Christchurch; Susan Taylor, Clinical Microbiologist, Counties Manukau District Health Board, Auckland; James Taylor, Infectious Diseases Physician, Capital & Coast District Health Board, Wellington; Mark Thomas, Infectious Diseases Physician, University of Auckland and Auckland City Hospital, Auckland; Arlo Upton, Southern Community Laboratories, Dunedin, James Ussher, Clinical Microbiologist, University of Otago, Dunedin; Anja Werno, Chief of Pathology, Canterbury Health Laboratories, Christchurch; Siouxsie Wiles, Associate Professor, University of Auckland, Auckland.

Acknowledgements

Correspondence

Prof David Murdoch, University of Otago, Christchurch, PO Box 4345, Christchurch 8140.

Correspondence Email

david.murdoch@otago.ac.nz

Competing Interests

Nil.

Contact diana@nzma.org.nz
for the PDF of this article

View Article PDF

With COVID-19 now present in New Zealand, and the situation a genuine health emergency, it is essential our political leaders work together and use their influence to minimise the impact of the virus in our community.

As a group of more than 50 of the country’s leading infectious disease and public health scientists and professionals, we ask the following of our political leaders:

Although it is election year, we urge politicians resist the temptation to scaremonger in an attempt to score points in the media. Instead, they should use their moments in the spotlight to amplify messages of our health system’s preparedness and how New Zealanders can individually make a difference at this critical time. A cross-party parliamentary task force on COVID-19 could be one way to ensure this cooperation happens in a timely and productive fashion.

The level of fear around COVID-19 is high. New Zealanders are being bombarded with information and misinformation about this new viral disease. When people are scared or ill-informed, they aren’t at their best. When they are well-informed they can make a huge difference both as individuals and as members of the wider community. This is very true with COVID-19, where every person practising good hygiene and cough etiquette can radically impact the spread of this disease. If the virus spreads further throughout our communities, and authorities ask people to limit social contact and self-isolate, cooperation with these necessary measures will play a crucial role in minimising COVID-19’s spread and protecting the most vulnerable among us.

Teams of infectious disease, public health and primary care experts are advising the Government on the best way to deal with this threat. Specialist members of our country’s health system have been preparing for such a scenario for many years and their plans are being put into action, and tweaked where necessary as new information comes to hand. These experts are monitoring the rapidly changing situation, looking to what is being done and what is working in other countries, and giving pragmatic, evidence-based advice on a regular basis. Politicking and criticising these professionals who are working hard on behalf of the country does nothing more than undermine them and public confidence in our system. It is the media’s role to report on matters of public interest and concern, and we ask politicians to leave this task to them and instead show leadership in spreading essential information.

It is essential to work together in times of crisis. We need our politicians to avoid cluttering the media landscape with political messages and undermining the life-saving information coming from the government, health professionals, scientists and public health officials.

Summary

Abstract

Aim

Method

Results

Conclusion

Author Information

David Murdoch, Dean and Head of Campus, University of Otago, Christchurch; Co-Director, One Health Aotearoa; Michael Addidle, Clinical Microbiologist, Pathlab, Tauranga; Hanna-Sofia Andersson, Clinical Microbiologist, Medlab Central, Palmerston North; Brendan Arnold, Infectious Disease Physician, Southern District Health Board, Dunedin; Michelle Balm, Infectious Diseases Physician and Clinical Microbiologist, Capital & Coast District Health Board, Wellington; Jackie Benschop, School of Veterinary Science, Massey University, Palmerston North; Bryan Betty, Medical Director, Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners; Mark Birch, Infectious Diseases Physician, Canterbury District Health Board, Christchurch; Max Bloomfield, Infectious Diseases Physician, Capital & Coast District Health Board, Wellington; Cheryl Brunton, Senior Lecturer in Public Health, University of Otago, Christchurch; Public Health Specialist, Canterbury District Health Board, Christchurch; Andrew Burns, Infectious Diseases Physician, Hawke’s Bay District Health Board, Hastings; Stephen Chambers, Infectious Diseases Physician, University of Otago, Christchurch; Lynley Cook, Population Health Specialist, Pegasus Health, Christchurch; Simon Dalton, Infectious Diseases Physician, Canterbury District Health Board, Christchurch; Harvey Duncan, Chief Executive, New Zealand Sepsis Trust; Juliet Elvy, Clinical Microbiologist, Medlab South, Nelson Marlborough and Wellington Southern Community Laboratories; Richard Everts, Infectious Disease Physician and Microbiologist, Nelson Bays Primary Health, Nelson; Joshua Freeman, Clinical Microbiologist, Canterbury Health Laboratories, Christchurch; Nigel French, Professor of Food Safety and Veterinary Public Health, Massey University, Palmerston North; Co-Director, One Health Aotearoa; Kate Grimwade, Infectious Diseases Physician, Bay of Plenty District Health Board, Tauranga; David Hammer, Clinical Microbiologist, Northland District Health Board, Whangarei; David Hayman, Professor of Infectious Disease Ecology, Massey University, Palmerston North; David Holland, Director of Infection Services, Counties Manukau District Health Board, Auckland; Ben Hudson, Head of General Practice, University of Otago, Christchurch, Christchurch; Paul Huggan, Clinical Director of Infectious Disease, Waikato District Health Board, Hamilton; Rosemary Ikram, Clinical Microbiologist, Canterbury Health Laboratories, Christchurch; Susan Jack, Medical Officer of Health/Clinical Director, Public Health South, Southern District Health Boards, Dunedin; Matthew Kelly, Infectious Diseases Physician, Hutt Valley District Health Board, Lower Hutt; Iain Lamont, Professor, University of Otago, Dunedin; Michael Maze, Infectious Diseases and Respiratory Physician, Canterbury District Health Board and University of Otago, Christchurch; Gary McAuliffe, Clinical Microbiologist, Auckland District Health Board, Auckland; Stephen McBride, General and Infectious Diseases Physician, Clinical Head of General Medicine, Counties Manukau District Health Board, Auckland; Sarah Metcalf, Infectious Diseases Physician, Canterbury District Health Board, Christchurch; Susan Morpeth, Clinical Microbiologist and Infectious Diseases Physician, Counties Manaukau District Health Board, Auckland; Arthur Morris, Clinical Microbiologist, Auckland City Hospital, Auckland; Samantha Murton, President, Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners, Ramon Pink, Public Health Physician, Canterbury District Health Board, Christchurch; Alan Pithie, Consultant Infectious Diseases Physician, Christchurch; Martin Pitout, Clinical Microbiologist, Northland District Health Board, Whangarei; Patricia Priest, Epidemiologist, University of Otago, Dunedin; Nigel Raymond, Infectious Diseases and General Physician, Capital and Coast District Health Board, Wellington; Kerry Read, Infectious Diseases Physician, Waitemata District Health Board, Auckland; Stephen Ritchie, Infectious Disease Physician, Auckland District Health Board, Auckland; Matthew Rogers, Clinical Director, Infection Services and Laboratories, Waitemata District Health Board, Auckland; Philip Schroeder, Emergency Support Services for Canterbury Primary Care, Christchurch; Susan Taylor, Clinical Microbiologist, Counties Manukau District Health Board, Auckland; James Taylor, Infectious Diseases Physician, Capital & Coast District Health Board, Wellington; Mark Thomas, Infectious Diseases Physician, University of Auckland and Auckland City Hospital, Auckland; Arlo Upton, Southern Community Laboratories, Dunedin, James Ussher, Clinical Microbiologist, University of Otago, Dunedin; Anja Werno, Chief of Pathology, Canterbury Health Laboratories, Christchurch; Siouxsie Wiles, Associate Professor, University of Auckland, Auckland.

Acknowledgements

Correspondence

Prof David Murdoch, University of Otago, Christchurch, PO Box 4345, Christchurch 8140.

Correspondence Email

david.murdoch@otago.ac.nz

Competing Interests

Nil.

Contact diana@nzma.org.nz
for the PDF of this article

View Article PDF

With COVID-19 now present in New Zealand, and the situation a genuine health emergency, it is essential our political leaders work together and use their influence to minimise the impact of the virus in our community.

As a group of more than 50 of the country’s leading infectious disease and public health scientists and professionals, we ask the following of our political leaders:

Although it is election year, we urge politicians resist the temptation to scaremonger in an attempt to score points in the media. Instead, they should use their moments in the spotlight to amplify messages of our health system’s preparedness and how New Zealanders can individually make a difference at this critical time. A cross-party parliamentary task force on COVID-19 could be one way to ensure this cooperation happens in a timely and productive fashion.

The level of fear around COVID-19 is high. New Zealanders are being bombarded with information and misinformation about this new viral disease. When people are scared or ill-informed, they aren’t at their best. When they are well-informed they can make a huge difference both as individuals and as members of the wider community. This is very true with COVID-19, where every person practising good hygiene and cough etiquette can radically impact the spread of this disease. If the virus spreads further throughout our communities, and authorities ask people to limit social contact and self-isolate, cooperation with these necessary measures will play a crucial role in minimising COVID-19’s spread and protecting the most vulnerable among us.

Teams of infectious disease, public health and primary care experts are advising the Government on the best way to deal with this threat. Specialist members of our country’s health system have been preparing for such a scenario for many years and their plans are being put into action, and tweaked where necessary as new information comes to hand. These experts are monitoring the rapidly changing situation, looking to what is being done and what is working in other countries, and giving pragmatic, evidence-based advice on a regular basis. Politicking and criticising these professionals who are working hard on behalf of the country does nothing more than undermine them and public confidence in our system. It is the media’s role to report on matters of public interest and concern, and we ask politicians to leave this task to them and instead show leadership in spreading essential information.

It is essential to work together in times of crisis. We need our politicians to avoid cluttering the media landscape with political messages and undermining the life-saving information coming from the government, health professionals, scientists and public health officials.

Summary

Abstract

Aim

Method

Results

Conclusion

Author Information

David Murdoch, Dean and Head of Campus, University of Otago, Christchurch; Co-Director, One Health Aotearoa; Michael Addidle, Clinical Microbiologist, Pathlab, Tauranga; Hanna-Sofia Andersson, Clinical Microbiologist, Medlab Central, Palmerston North; Brendan Arnold, Infectious Disease Physician, Southern District Health Board, Dunedin; Michelle Balm, Infectious Diseases Physician and Clinical Microbiologist, Capital & Coast District Health Board, Wellington; Jackie Benschop, School of Veterinary Science, Massey University, Palmerston North; Bryan Betty, Medical Director, Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners; Mark Birch, Infectious Diseases Physician, Canterbury District Health Board, Christchurch; Max Bloomfield, Infectious Diseases Physician, Capital & Coast District Health Board, Wellington; Cheryl Brunton, Senior Lecturer in Public Health, University of Otago, Christchurch; Public Health Specialist, Canterbury District Health Board, Christchurch; Andrew Burns, Infectious Diseases Physician, Hawke’s Bay District Health Board, Hastings; Stephen Chambers, Infectious Diseases Physician, University of Otago, Christchurch; Lynley Cook, Population Health Specialist, Pegasus Health, Christchurch; Simon Dalton, Infectious Diseases Physician, Canterbury District Health Board, Christchurch; Harvey Duncan, Chief Executive, New Zealand Sepsis Trust; Juliet Elvy, Clinical Microbiologist, Medlab South, Nelson Marlborough and Wellington Southern Community Laboratories; Richard Everts, Infectious Disease Physician and Microbiologist, Nelson Bays Primary Health, Nelson; Joshua Freeman, Clinical Microbiologist, Canterbury Health Laboratories, Christchurch; Nigel French, Professor of Food Safety and Veterinary Public Health, Massey University, Palmerston North; Co-Director, One Health Aotearoa; Kate Grimwade, Infectious Diseases Physician, Bay of Plenty District Health Board, Tauranga; David Hammer, Clinical Microbiologist, Northland District Health Board, Whangarei; David Hayman, Professor of Infectious Disease Ecology, Massey University, Palmerston North; David Holland, Director of Infection Services, Counties Manukau District Health Board, Auckland; Ben Hudson, Head of General Practice, University of Otago, Christchurch, Christchurch; Paul Huggan, Clinical Director of Infectious Disease, Waikato District Health Board, Hamilton; Rosemary Ikram, Clinical Microbiologist, Canterbury Health Laboratories, Christchurch; Susan Jack, Medical Officer of Health/Clinical Director, Public Health South, Southern District Health Boards, Dunedin; Matthew Kelly, Infectious Diseases Physician, Hutt Valley District Health Board, Lower Hutt; Iain Lamont, Professor, University of Otago, Dunedin; Michael Maze, Infectious Diseases and Respiratory Physician, Canterbury District Health Board and University of Otago, Christchurch; Gary McAuliffe, Clinical Microbiologist, Auckland District Health Board, Auckland; Stephen McBride, General and Infectious Diseases Physician, Clinical Head of General Medicine, Counties Manukau District Health Board, Auckland; Sarah Metcalf, Infectious Diseases Physician, Canterbury District Health Board, Christchurch; Susan Morpeth, Clinical Microbiologist and Infectious Diseases Physician, Counties Manaukau District Health Board, Auckland; Arthur Morris, Clinical Microbiologist, Auckland City Hospital, Auckland; Samantha Murton, President, Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners, Ramon Pink, Public Health Physician, Canterbury District Health Board, Christchurch; Alan Pithie, Consultant Infectious Diseases Physician, Christchurch; Martin Pitout, Clinical Microbiologist, Northland District Health Board, Whangarei; Patricia Priest, Epidemiologist, University of Otago, Dunedin; Nigel Raymond, Infectious Diseases and General Physician, Capital and Coast District Health Board, Wellington; Kerry Read, Infectious Diseases Physician, Waitemata District Health Board, Auckland; Stephen Ritchie, Infectious Disease Physician, Auckland District Health Board, Auckland; Matthew Rogers, Clinical Director, Infection Services and Laboratories, Waitemata District Health Board, Auckland; Philip Schroeder, Emergency Support Services for Canterbury Primary Care, Christchurch; Susan Taylor, Clinical Microbiologist, Counties Manukau District Health Board, Auckland; James Taylor, Infectious Diseases Physician, Capital & Coast District Health Board, Wellington; Mark Thomas, Infectious Diseases Physician, University of Auckland and Auckland City Hospital, Auckland; Arlo Upton, Southern Community Laboratories, Dunedin, James Ussher, Clinical Microbiologist, University of Otago, Dunedin; Anja Werno, Chief of Pathology, Canterbury Health Laboratories, Christchurch; Siouxsie Wiles, Associate Professor, University of Auckland, Auckland.

Acknowledgements

Correspondence

Prof David Murdoch, University of Otago, Christchurch, PO Box 4345, Christchurch 8140.

Correspondence Email

david.murdoch@otago.ac.nz

Competing Interests

Nil.

Contact diana@nzma.org.nz
for the PDF of this article

Subscriber Content

The full contents of this pages only available to subscribers.

LOGINSUBSCRIBE