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Covid 19 Omicron outbreak: 8 deaths and 5202 new community cases

Covid community cases numbers have been gently declining for the past month and a half. Photo / Brett Phibbs There are 5202...

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Covid community cases numbers have been gently declining for the past month and a half. Photo / Brett Phibbs

There are 5202 new Covid community cases reported today, eight more deaths, and 332 people are in hospital.

Four of those in hospital are in intensive care, the Ministry of Health says.

Today’s deaths take the total number of publicly reported deaths with Covid in New Zealand to 1311.

The seven-day rolling average of reported deaths is 13.

There are now 41,388 active community cases in New Zealand. These are cases identified in the past seven days and not yet classified as recovered. In total, there have been 1,227,383 confirmed cases in the country.

Of those who died, two were from Bay of Plenty, one was from the MidCentral district health board region, one was from the Wellington region, two were from Canterbury, one was from South Canterbury; and one was from the Southern region.

One person was aged in their 60s, four were in their 70s, one was in their 80s, and two were aged over 90. Three were women and five were men.

The average age of those in hospital in the Northern Region is 62.

The seven-day rolling average of community cases is now 5914 – down from the 6841 rolling average reported on Saturday last week.

The new community cases were located in Northland (132), Auckland (1430), Waikato (351), Bay of Plenty (207), Lakes (70), Hawke’s Bay (153), MidCentral (250), Whanganui (64), Taranaki (164), Tairāwhiti (19), Wairarapa (45), Capital and Coast (506), Hutt Valley (237), Nelson Marlborough (184), Canterbury (766), South Canterbury (84), Southern (410) and West Coast (56).

The location of a further two cases is yet to be determined.

There were 72 imported cases reported.

The numbers come as a New Zealand vaccinologist says the first universal coronavirus vaccines could be on the market in a year’s time.

Vaccine researchers are increasingly interested in the pursuit of a universal coronavirus vaccine that is resistant to all variants.

University of Auckland vaccinologist Helen Petousis-Harris said a such a vaccine was close, and the US defence industry was undertaking the most advanced trial of it.

“I guess the most advanced pan-coronavirus vaccine is now in human trials, and it looks very promising,” she told Morning Report yesterday.

“It worked every well in our non-human primate friends and it’s been in development for quite some years.”

Existing vaccines have found it hard to stop symptoms or transmission, but work well keeping people out of hospital and minimising disease. The pan-coronavirus vaccine might do the same, but it was too early to tell, Petousis-Harris said.

Because of the cost and time needed to tweak existing vaccines to counter emerging variants it made sense for companies to look at a new pan-coronavirus solution, she said.

If such vaccines are successful they could be administered annually like the flu vaccine shots over the winter period.

The location of people currently in hospital with Covid is Northland (5), Waitematā (41), Counties Manukau (31), Auckland (63), Waikato (29), Bay of Plenty (12), Lakes (1), Tairāwhiti (1), Hawke’s Bay (10), Taranaki (8), Whanganui (2), MidCentral (13), Wairarapa (3), Hutt Valley (18), Capital and Coast (19), Nelson Marlborough (4), Canterbury (39), South Canterbury (3), West Coast (1) and Southern (29).

Out of these, 27 cases or 13 per cent were not vaccinated.

One case had only had one dose or had only had their second dose within the past seven days, while 48 cases or 22 per cent had been double vaccinated. A further 137 cases or 64 per cent had received their booster dose also. The vaccination status of two more cases was not yet known.

There are now 2,646,264 or 73 per cent of eligible Kiwis aged over 18 who have received their third booster dose.

The seven-day rolling average of community cases numbers has been gently declining over the past month and a half.

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