Sunday, 22 March 2020

The exponential rise of coronavirus cases in New Zealand

While I was working on this a story  came out of 14 more cases in New Zealand, making a total of 66 (yesterday it was 52)

These are not reflected in my figures.

The exponential increase of 

coronavirus cases in New 



We have watched cases going up exponentially, especially in the past few days.  What is interesting about the figures is that the start of the increase seems to correllate with 12 March (NZT), which is when the WHO finally got its act together and declared a pandemic. This marks the date when the world (including the NZ government and health authorities) started to take this pandemic seriously.  Why the virus should suddenly produce more cases in line with that I am unsure.

I have done two graphs based on data produced by the NZ Ministry of Health. It was not easy because it did not include data on when the cases were announced but only provides information on the flights each individual was one.  In several cases no data indicating a date of exposure (or reporting)  was provided,  This meant that I had to go through the data manually and painstakingly.  

This meant that the following graphs are indicative (for instance, my data shows there are 50 cases when in fact there are currently 52.

The first graph is of the raw data from the MOH (with the above resolutions):

The following graph is more indicative. The cumulative date clearly  shows cases moving into the exponential.

This is the raw data provided by the NZ Ministry of Health

COVID-19 - current cases

Information about current cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand.
We'll be updating this page as new information is available.
Last updated 10:30 am, 22 March 2020.
CaseLocationAgeGenderTravel details
52Auckland50sFUnder investigation
51Nelson20sFTravel related, however international flights outside of infectious period.
Domestic flights: Auckland to Nelson on 16 March – flight 5065
50Nelson60sFUnder investigation
49Manawatu20sFDoha to Auckland on 14 March – flight QR0920
Auckland to Palmerston North on 16 March – flight NZ5107
48Manawatu40sMTravel related. Queenstown to Christchurch on 13 March – flight NZ642
Christchurch to Palmerston North on 13 March –
flight NZ5181
47Taupo50sMDubai to Auckland on 10 March – flight EK0448
46Auckland70sMDunedin to Auckland on 16 March – flight NZ674
45Wellington30sFDubai to Auckland on 12 March – flight EK44
Auckland to Wellington on 12 March – flight NZ433
44Wellington50sMTravel related, however international flights outside of infectious period.
Domestic flights:
Auckland to Wellington on 8 March – flight NZ449
Wellington to Hamilton on 12 March –
flight NZ5810
Hamilton to Wellington on 13 March – flight
43Wellington50sMSydney to Wellington on 14 March – flight
42Waikato60sFSingapore to Auckland on 13 March – flight SQ0285.
41Auckland60sMCruise ship travel. Domestic flights – Dunedin to Auckland on 15 March – flight NZ670.
40Wellington Region50sMTravel related, however flights outside of infectious period. 
39Otago20sMaleLA to Auckland on  Wednesday 18 March – flight
NZ554 Auckland to Queenstown on Wednesday
18 March – flight NZ615
38Wellington30sMale Not infectious on flight
37Auckland40sFemaleLondon to Doha to Auckland (on Sunday 15 March) - flight details to come.
36Auckland40sMaleLos Angeles to Auckland - flight details to come.
35Auckland30sFemaleLos Angeles to Auckland - flight details to come.
34Waikato70sFemaleDubai to Auckland on Monday 16 March – flight
33Waikato60sMaleDubai to Auckland on Monday 16 March – flight
32Hawkes Bay30sMaleDoha to Auckland on Monday 16 March – flight QR920 Auckland to Napier on Tuesday 17 March – flight NZ5021
31Wellington40sMaleMelbourne to Wellington on Saturday 14 March –
flight SQ247
30Canterbury50sMaleLos Angeles to Auckland on Saturday 14 March –
flight AA83
Auckland to Christchurch on Sunday 15 March –
flight and NZ535
29AucklandSingapore to Auckland on 11 March
28Southern DHBSydney to Christchurch on Friday 13 March – flight EK402
27Southern DHB 30sFemaleLondon to Auckland on  Tuesday 17 March –
flight NZ1
Auckland to Christchurch on Tuesday 17 March –
flight NZ525 Christchurch to Dunedin on Tuesday 17 March – flight NZ5749
26Auckland 40sMaleMelbourne to Auckland on Sunday 15 March –
flight QF153
25Auckland60sMaleLos Angeles to Auckland on Friday 13 March –
flight NZ05
24Rotorua 50sMaleSingapore to Auckland on Friday 13 March - flight SQ285
23Northland20sMaleSydney to Auckland on Monday 16 March – flight VA0141
22Taranaki40sMaleCairo to Frankfurt (Lufthansa LH581 on Saturday
7 March) to Vancouver to Auckland on Sunday 15 March – flight NZ23 Auckland to New Plymouth on Sunday 15 March – flight NZ8035
21Taranaki40sFemaleDubai to Auckland on Monday 9 March - flight
EK448 Auckland to New Plymouth on Monday 9
March - flight NZ8041
20Waikato70sMaleSingapore to Auckland on Sunday 15 March –
flight SQ285
19Waikato20sFemaleSydney to Auckland on Sunday 8 March – flight
18Canterbury40sFemaleSingapore to Christchurch on Monday 16 March –
flight SQ297
17Invercargill40sMaleNot infectious on flight
16Auckland60sMaleTravelling from Canada (on Thursday 12 March) -
flight details to come.
15Auckland60sMaleSan Francisco to Auckland on Friday 13 March –
flight NZ7
14Auckland40sFemaleNot infectious on flight
13Auckland50sMaleDubai to Auckland on 14 March – flight EK448
12DunedinTeensMaleAssociated with travel of case 11.
11Dunedin40sMaleSingapore to Auckland on Saturday 7 March -
flight NZ283 Auckland to Dunedin on Sunday 8
March - flight NZ675
10Wellington70sMaleLos Angeles to Auckland on 14 March – flight
Auckland to Wellington on 14 March – flight NZ419
9Wellington30sMaleLos Angeles to Auckland on 14 March – flight
Auckland to Wellington on 14 March – flight NZ419
8Wellington60sMaleBrisbane to Wellington on Saturday 14 March –
flight NZ828  
7Dunedin30sFemaleDenmark to Doha to Auckland on Tuesday 10
March - flight QR920) Auckland to Christchurch on Tuesday 10 March - flight JQ225
6Auckland60sMaleHouston to Auckland on Friday 6 March – flight NZ
5Auckland40sFemaleAssociated with travel - Doha to Auckland on
Sunday 23 February – flight QR0920  
4Auckland40sMaleSingapore to Auckland on Tuesday 25 February –
flight NZ283  
3Auckland40sMaleAssociated with travel - Doha to Auckland on
Sunday 23 February – flight QR0920  
2Auckland30sFemaleSingapore to Auckland on Tuesday 25 February -
flight NZ283  
1Auckland60sIran to Bali to Auckland on Wednesday 26
February – flight EK450 

I have done this work because it is highly unlikely that anyone in Government or media is going to do it. I believe they don't want people to actually know the exponential nature of coronavirus in New Zealand.

However, someone has done a similar job for Australia

I have no idea where the following data comes from but it clearly shows what I have been picking up anecdotally, and that is New Zealand's testing (per million of population) shows that New Zealand is near the bottom of the league chart, just a couple of places above the United States which has shown itself to be doing almost ZERO testing.

Part of the explanation is that New Zealand has insisted on testing only people that demonstrate symptoms ("already sick") while not testing those who have been potentially infected but do not show symptoms.

Finally, I did this back-of-envelope calculation a couple of weeks ago. Although it has not quite gone that way YET, it demonstrates a fact that in places like South Korea, Iran and Italy there is a doubling of cases every 3-4 days.
I still believe that we will be on that trajectory

The toughest regulations in the world? Really?!

The NZ prime minister, Jacinda Adern has been saying that New Zealand has the "toughest regulations anywhere in the world".

I am afraid I have yet to see it.

Perhaps she was referring to the Five Eyes and Western Europe? 

The above graph indicates that this is not true (unless, of course it is out-of-date) and refers back to the time when the prime minister and media were expressing a high degree of complacency saying "we have no cases" (and therefore, no problem).

Instead of the headline reflecting the actual story (13 new cases) Radio NZ gives emphasis to there being "no confirmation" of community transmission of coronavirus.

I think that a lot of New Zealanders are dubious about this claim.

Here are just a few headlines from today which indicate cause for alarm.
A rural Otago church says it is effectively in lock-down after an Auckland man who attended a service tested positive for coronavirus.

And there are fears the Covid-19 virus could be more widespread throughout the community, after churchgoers who visited a school classroom have since fallen ill, a church elder said.

A nurse at a rest home has tested positive for Covid-19 leaving family of residents seriously concerned.

The nurse, a staff member at Ellerslie Gardens Lifecare, tested positive on Saturday.

She is one of the 14 new cases announced on Sunday by Ministry of Health at a press conference.

Heritage Lifecare chief executive Norah Barlow said the staff member travelled from Zimbabwe on March 10 and showed no symptoms of having the virus.  
The first person in Taupō to test positive for Covid-19 says he was unable to get through to the Ministry of Health helpline for four days.

Tūwharetoa Trust Board has confirmed one of its staff members, Te Mahau Kingi, tested positive for the virus after returning to Auckland from London via Dubai on 12 March.

He then flew to Taupō on 14 March, self-isolated and was tested on Tuesday.

His results came back positive on Friday evening.

On social media earlier in the week, Te Mahau Kingi, posted about the Ministry of Health saying he was unable to get through to its Covid-19 helpline for four days.


The following is from a couple of days ago:

More than 50 New Zealanders are being contacted after four people on their cruise ship which made a stop in Wellington tested positive for coronavirus.

Nearly 4000 passengers and crew were on cruise ship Ruby Princess which left from Sydney and was docked in Wellington last Saturday.

New South Wales health minister Brad Hazzard told Australian media that people on board the ship had flu-like symptoms.

Although 13 people were swabbed, about 2700 passengers were able to walk around Wellington and visited popular tourist sites.

Not only in New Zealand.

Across the Tasman FOUR ships have been allowed to dock in Australia (one right next to the Sydney harbour bridge) despite the regulations. These ships have disgorged THOUSANDS of passenger into the centre of Sydney.

We also have numerous stories (too numerous to link to) of people coming home from overseas without being screened for coronavirus, even after having to give up their shoes in an agricultural check.  People are apparently being given leaflets giving advice of what to do - and apparently, these are being (or were) recycled from from 10 years ago.


If you look beyond what is reported in the media you can hardly escape anecdotes that indicate that there HAS to be considerable spread of the virus beyond what is being reported officially.

These are all cases that have been relayed to us - all from Wellington and some from just a 500 metre radius from where we live:

1. A friend went to a yoga class and was alarmed to be on a mat next to a tanned woman with dark glasses who reported she was living in a caravan, with the worst case of coughing our friend (an ex-nurse) has ever encountered.

2. The colleague of an acupuncturist friend was treating someone who failed to reveal she had coronavirus. In the meantime, he went on to treat others

3. The same friend had a beauty therapist come to her clinic feeling really unwell but was keeping silent because she did not want to lose her job so kept on seeing clients

4. Another hairdresser has seen such a fall-off in business she is probably going to shut her business and see clients at home

5. An Upper Hutt man did not “self-isolate” after coming back from overseas and went about his normal business meeting people and moving around. He has since tested positive for coronavirus. His wife who works at the MoD in Upper Hutt has since come down with coronavirus-like symptoms but not before going about her normal business.

P.S. After putting this together the following came in via Facebook. This is from a location 50 km north of Wellington:

"Our thoughts are with XXXXX tonight... being tested for #Covid19 in full isolation in hospital after catching a "cold" ten days ago that has escalated to the point she is almost unable to breathe... authorities have previously refused to test because she has no known contact with a known case.
Tonight she collapsed and was taken to emergency by ambulance.
As many of you who follow this page will know she is a health professional who - like me - has been concerned that covid19 has been circulating in NZ community for a while undetected  
If XXX's chest x-ray and covid19 test are positive... she will be a definite case of community transmission.
XXX, we are with you.
UPDATE: Results have not been disclosed but XXX is now being transferred to ICU to be induced into a coma and put on a ventilator. Medics are communicating with her by telephone from outside her isolation room. In her words "I will be unconscious soon" so further updates are unlikely.

What's up?

The problems that I see with the official position that is being told to New Zealanders and reflected verbatim by media scribes without the slightest context or analysis is multifold:

It seems to me that, at least in their public statements, that the government and authorities are STILL underplaying the whole thing and ignoring research from august sources such as the Lancet or the epidemiologistsat the Imperial College of London that show clearly that the virus is hugely infective and also lethal (more so by the day, judging from stories from Italy). It can exist on surfaces for a long time and be easily picked up from "casual encounters" - and is even transmitted in faeces.

The official line is that people cannot handle the truth and some "balance"  has to be struck between informing people and not "scaring" them.

Quite apart from the reality that fear is a biological signal for mammals (including humans) to take action to avert danger, the truth is that, as cases increase in an exponential manner, people are going to respond with fear and panic which is amplified when people realise the government has not told them the full truth.

The way New Zealanders are being treated reminds me of this image from the Lord of the Rings.

Previous generations that went through hard times (war, depression) had self-discipline and were fully capable of responding to a crisis in a responsible and rational manner.

No longer.

Discipline,  social responsibility and an ability to think clearly has been bred out of the population so that younger people are often less healthy, less intelligent and highly self-centred (if not narcissistic).

And they are being treated as such.


I am not going to join the chorus of voices praising the government for being "decisive" because the evidence points to that not being the case.

New Zealand is an island and is geographically-isolated from the rest of the world. As such, of all countries in the world,  it could have avoided this pandemic if they had taken early and decisive action and not just fallen into the ever-so-usual complacent and waited for the corrupt WHO that sat on its hands and was more interested in avoiding the "racism" of shutting off flights from China.

There was no other reason for opening this virus to come into New Zealand than complacency and ideology.

Now, we have to wait for a few weeks for New Zealand to become a second Italy or New York where it has been reported today that there is a death every hour.

Instead we are exhorted to voluntarily "self-isolate" and not to have "too much contact' with people, to go for walks and above all, continue shopping.

I shall finish with an excellent  interview with an American billionaire who says correctly that what is needed is to completely lock down for 30 days. 

Capitalism, he says, can survive a 30 day  shutdown but not an 18 month one. 

A piecemeal, "steady-as-you go" policy, such as what is being followed by western governments is a recipe for disaster.

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