New Zealand will need to spend two more weeks at level 2 – before we can start returning to normality, Dr Siouxsie Wiles says.
It comes ahead of a meeting today, where Cabinet will discuss whether the rules around gatherings should be relaxed.
Dr Wiles told Morning Report that with just one Covid-19 case in the last few days, things are going well.
The only recent case is associated with an existing cluster so there had been “nothing that comes out of nowhere”.
However, the country had only just moved into level 2, where activity ramped up and activities people are doing could allow the virus to transmit.
“What we are going to need over the next couple of weeks is a little bit more patience before we see what happens at level 2 and whether we really do have all of the virus under control.”
A significant development was the recent re-opening of bars where the virus could be transmitted easily, and there would be a lull of a week or two before cases were identified.
Any relaxation should be gradual, she said.
“There is so much evidence from overseas that if you relax a level too quickly then you see a spike in cases, so we need to be really mindful of that.”
She urged people to think of the long-term, and that the current restrictions might only last a few more weeks. It was also important that the country was not “yo-yoing” between levels.
YouTube misinformation a worry
A new study had looked at the most viewed videos on the Covid-19 pandemic and narrowed them down to 69. A quarter of them contained a lot of misinformation and had been been viewed 62 million times by March, Dr Wiles said.
The sad thing was that only two videos were from government sources. They contained the best, most reliable information and they had the least number of views.
“So we do know that YouTube is definitely a place where misinformation gathers and that has massive consequences for our health, for the safety of our infrastructure, for all sorts of things.”
She said it was yet another example of a big platform not taking responsibility for the information that was available and this was “terrifying”.
Misinformation was already being circulated on Covid-19 vaccines even before any had been developed, she said.
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