DELTA COMES KNOCKING
By Dr Muriel Newman
Last week, the Herald reported a dreadful Covid-19 tragedy: “A grieving daughter whose father died a painful death at home 12 days after contracting Covid-19 says he tried to get help for his worsening health but claims he was told he had normal symptoms and would get better.
“The 68-year-old father spent the last five days of his life in agony coughing up blood and was too weak to move, waiting for officials to say he should go to hospital.”
Family members were “traumatised seeing blood gush from their father in his final moments before he died in their home”, and they were very critical that he “was never given the level of support needed for someone so ill.”
He was allegedly told by the Covid helpline and Healthline that the symptoms he was experiencing “were normal” and that, “You’re going through the second hump”. The ‘treatment’ recommended was “throat lozenges and paracetamol.”
The family decided to speak out, “so no one else suffers the real-life nightmare they experienced”.
Regrettably, this tragic tale is likely to be repeated once Jacinda Ardern moves the country to the next stage of her Covid-19 management plan. In mid-December the traffic light system will come into effect. Unvaccinated Aucklanders will only be allowed to travel if they return a negative Covid test, those who are fully vaccinated will be free to travel anywhere around the country.
While there remain many unknows about Covid-19 and the vaccines, one fact that is well accepted is that the virus can infect both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. Although fully vaccinated people who catch Covid are less likely to pass the disease on, that benefit dwindles rapidly. It’s the same story with the protection the vaccine provides against an infection becoming more serious and causing death – it also wanes rapidly without booster shots.
This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator, Waikato University Economics Professor John Gibson, who has been investigating the effectiveness of mass vaccination programmes around the world, quantifies the numbers:
“Several recent studies have used data from nationwide registries or from healthcare providers, to statistically match vaccinated and unvaccinated people to see how fast vaccine efficacy wanes – it falls fast, by about 10 percentage points per month for protection against infection while confidence intervals on severe outcomes like death are often so wide that by six months after the second dose zero efficacy cannot be ruled out.”
With vaccinated Aucklanders able to spread the virus, Jacinda Ardern’s strategy will result in a surge in Delta cases.
The Minister of Health, Andrew Little, expects up to 16,000 cases a week in January, with 800 in need of hospital care.
The Minister acknowledged the rapid shift to home isolation for a majority of cases led to some people ‘falling through the cracks’. Bottlenecks emerged as the public health unit lacked the capacity to notify people of test results and ascertain what sort of care they needed in a timely manner.
He explained that in the future family doctors would be involved: “So people’s GPs or a clinician are involved in that first day of being notified of a positive test, working out where is the best place to be – is it at home, the hospital, or another community facility?”
Questions are also being asked about whether our hospitals can cope with a Delta surge?
While the Minister says all hospitals will have a Covid management plan and dedicated Covid beds, the low number of ICU beds remains a concern. The New Zealand Medical Journal has reported on a survey of hospitals, which found New Zealand has one of the lowest levels of ICU beds per capita in the OECD at 4 per 100,000 population, compared to Australia at 9, France at 16, and Germany at 34.
They asked whether additional capacity can be found to deal with the Delta surge, and while the number of beds rose to 565, when the intensive staffing ratio needed for ICU patient management was factored in, our capacity fell to 3.5 staffed ICU beds per 100,000 population: “The reported maximum ICU beds in New Zealand that could be staffed for a surge before nurse-to-patient ratios would need to be reduced is 243. Our surge capacity is likely to be limited by available nursing staff.”
This situation will no doubt have been exacerbated by the reported loss of over 1300 health workers due to the Prime Minister’s vaccine mandates.
Since both the vaccinated and unvaccinated are able to spread the virus, the mandates do not make sense. If there was a genuine objective to prevent the spread of Covid-19 to vulnerable patients, why not simply require those health workers who choose not to be vaccinated to undertake regular Covid testing along with the use of PPE safety gear where necessary?
Doing this for health workers – and others affected by the mandates – would prevent transmission, without crushing livelihoods and futures.
Good leadership would have been responsive to the concerns of the vaccine hesitant. Instead, they have been stigmatised in an effort to force their conformity. It’s the worst kind of totalitarian government – ruling by command rather than co-operation.
Divisive ideology also underpins the Prime Minister’s health reforms.
The Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Bill, which is presently in front of a Select Committee, is the enabling legislation that will radically restructure our entire health system, abolishing our 20 District Health Boards and replacing them with Health New Zealand and the Maori Health Authority.
The justification provided in the Bill for segregating our health system is that it “does not operate in partnership and does not meet the Crown’s obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi”.
The fact that the “partnership” claim is a fabrication, does not matter to our PM. She is using her Parliamentary majority to replace our colourblind health services with an apartheid system based on race. Her plan for Maori co-governance of health, comes straight out of Labour’s He Puapua blueprint to replace democracy with tribal rule by 2040.
Destabilising the entire health system during a pandemic illustrates the ruthlessness of our PM, who is putting ideology ahead of the lives and safety of New Zealanders.
The Pae Ora Bill not only creates a Maori Health Authority to co-govern the health system along with Health New Zealand, but it requires the Minister to establish a permanent Maori Advisory committee, from whom he must seek advice and “agreement”.
In addition iwi-Maori partnership boards must be set up with members involved in all decision-making by the Minister, the Maori Health Authority, and Health New Zealand.
There’s also a requirement that the “boards of Health New Zealand and the Maori Health Authority have expertise in the Treaty of Waitangi and tikanga Maori”.
A primary purpose of the proposed health system is to ensure that health care is equitable for Maori – not just in terms of access to services, but also in “outcomes” achieved. These provisions will enable Maori to seek priority status over every other New Zealander.
The Bill states that the reforms are based on Heather Simpson’s 2020 Health and Disability System Review, but that is not the case – her recommendation was for a reduction in the number of District Health Boards, not their abolition.
This recommendation for fewer DHBs was echoed in the Labour Party’s election manifesto, and since that is what they campaigned on, Jacinda Ardern has no mandate to disestablish our District Health Boards. Nor does she have a mandate for the tribal takeover of New Zealand’s health system that the law change will initiate.
The Pae Ora Bill should be opposed by the public in the strongest possible manner. But the timeframe to do so is deliberately short. While we still have a democracy, everyone concerned should have a say – full details can be seen HERE. Submissions close on 9 December and can be made on-line or by email to email@example.com
As former Labour Health Minister Dr Michael Bassett says, “If you want proof that Jacinda Ardern’s is the most racist government in New Zealand’s history, just take a look at the proposed legislation for the new health structure. The Pae Ora Bill concerns itself almost exclusively with Maori health. The health of 17% of the population seems to be the only concern of this government.”
The Government’s restructure of the health system during the pandemic is dangerous. It is unconscionable to divert health resources from patient care into meeting a bogus Treaty obligation.
Spending $500 million – including $100 million on the Maori Health Authority and $18 million on iwi partnership boards – on the restructure, instead of on saving lives is reckless.
Surely it’s time for common sense to prevail so the health disaster that the Prime Minister is about to unleash on New Zealand can be minimised. With Delta ready to spread around the country, here are five things the Government should do:
1.Put the restructure of the health system on hold. Better still, shelve it entirely.
2.Remove the vaccination mandate for health workers. Provide them instead with appropriate PPE gear and introduce regular Covid testing as a condition of employment. Do the same for mandates for other workers.
3.Provide a non-genetic vaccine alternative to Pfizer and Astra-Zenica – such as the already announced Novavax or the Valneva vaccine that was trialled in New Zealand and which the European Commission is ordering.
4.Remove all restrictions on the medical profession so doctors can prescribe any medications that they believe will help their patients defeat the virus. New information is emerging all the time about successful methods of preventing and treating Covid. The use of breakthrough treatments should be encouraged, not supressed. Health professionals, not politicians, should be the ones assessing the best treatment options for patients.
As UK immune specialist Dr Chris Newton told a UK Parliamentary Inquiry in June, there is a dearth of research into best-practice treatments for Covid: “To a great extent this is due to the way Covid-19 therapy has been handled in many countries around the world. People who believe they are suffering symptoms have been told to stay at home and so medical systems have little knowledge of the early symptomatic phase of Covid-19.”
He explains: “Covid-19 is in effect two diseases – a ‘symptomatic phase’ that often resolves and a later response where patients transition to a hyper-inflammatory, life-threatening phase… Knowing the exact timing for the end of the symptomatic phase and the beginning of the pulmonary phase is essential to staging of therapy. Be assured, Covid-19 is an eminently treatable disease. This understanding is supported by the work of Dr Shankara Chetty and indeed others. Dr Chetty has treated well over 4000 patients and not lost one. The key is to time therapy in the form of a corticosteroid, an antihistamine and a leukotriene receptor blocker, to coincide with the transition between the late symptomatic phase and the early pulmonary phase.”
Update: Dr Chetty has now successfully treated over 7,000 Covid patients with complications – none of whom have needed to be hospitalised or have died. He explains his treatment programme HERE.
Dr Newton concludes, “An inability to develop therapy to treat Covid-19 in its early stages has been a catastrophic failure in medical practice. The societal and economic cost of this failure is incalculable.”https://youtu.be/OciYTW_BIEs
5.Empower vaccinated and unvaccinated New Zealanders to become better informed about how to combat Covid when it comes knocking on their door. While for most people the infection will be mild, with few if any symptoms, for others, complications can develop around the 8th day, which, unless rapidly treated, can be fatal.
So, just as our team of 5-million became well informed about washing hands, social distancing and using masks, we now need advice on preventative and early treatment protocols, on what to do to boost our immune system, how to reduce the viral load if we start getting sick, and what signs to look out for that indicate we need additional medical help.
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*All NZCPR poll results can be seen in the Archive.