TODAY |

Chart paints picture of how NZ has wrestled control of coronavirus

New Zealand’s success in getting a hold on the Covid-19 epidemic is laid bare in a chart published by the Financial Times.

This chart from John Burn-Murdoch for the Financial Times shows numbers of daily cases on a 7-day rolling average (vertical axis) by the number of days since 30 daily cases were first recorded (horizontal axis). The stars show where national lockdowns kicked in. (China’s line has been shortened to fit.) Source: Financial Times

The UK-based newspaper is using figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University in the United States to track cases of the virus worldwide.

It shows how cases exploded, first in China, and later in Italy, Spain and the United States as well as other countries.

And it also paints a picture of how China got control of the epidemic over time and points to other relative success stories such as South Korea and even Australia.

But New Zealand’s rapid flattening and decrease of the curve looks particularly impressive, even accounting for a much smaller population size.

After going into full lockdown on March 25, New Zealand peaked at 89 new daily cases on both April 2 and April 5. New cases per day have now been at 20 or lower since April 12.

On Saturday, the Ministry of Health announced there had been just 13 new cases of Covid-19 and the death toll remains at 11.

The Government will decide on Monday whether to ease the lockdown slightly from Level 4 to Level 3 restrictions. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said this week: "Overall we have made a good start, but we need to keep going.” Projections had suggested New Zealand could have had “thousands of deaths if the virus got away from us", she said.

Despite the success in dramatically slowing the virus's spread, experts including Auckland University microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles have also warned against complacency and lifting restrictions too soon.

See all the FT’s charts here and follow John Burn-Murdoch on Twitter @jburnmurdoch

This close up of the chart from John Burn-Murdoch for the Financial Times shows numbers of daily cases on a 7-day rolling average (vertical axis) by the number of days since 30 daily cases were first recorded (horizontal axis). The stars show where national lockdowns kicked in. (China’s line has been shortened to fit.) Source: Financial Times