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Covid-19 cases stable: TMO

Tuesday 10 January 2023 | Written by Matthew Littlewood | Published in Health, National

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Covid-19 cases stable: TMO
New Zealand public health expert Professor Michael Baker says Covid keeps evolving to escape our immunity, which also wanes over time, giving it the ability to re-infect us often, possibly two or three times a year. Otago University/23010937

The Covid-19 case numbers remain ‘stable’ for now in the Cook Islands and Te Marae Ora Ministry of Health says it will not reintroduce any further precautionary health measures.

The health ministry has already recommended the wearing of masks in enclosed spaces such as supermarkets, and made it compulsory for those attending health clinics.

At the moment, there are 79 active cases in the Cook Islands, with 67 in Rarotonga, six in Aitutaki, four in Mitiaro and two in Atiu.

Of those cases, 40 have been recorded since late last week, with 35 in Rarotonga, one in Aitutaki and four in Mitiaro.  

These are the first cases in Mitiaro.

The island’s executive officer Anna Roi said although some people were worried, it was “business as usual” on the island.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 6860 cases of Covid-19 in the Cook Islands, which includes 72 reinfections, two hospitalisations and one death.

Asked about whether it would look into the mandatory wearing of masks, Secretary of Health Bob Williams said there would be “no changes to the current process as numbers are stable and sporadic without serious concerns”.

“I don’t want to pre-empt what will be the likely scenarios to mandate certain public health measures,” Williams said.

Before the latest uptick in Covid-19 cases in the Cook Islands, Williams has said the country has gone through a process of “normalising Covid”, which included removing the mandatory seven-day isolation period for those with Covid-19, although it is still recommended that people do isolate.

Last week, New Zealand public health expert Professor Michael Baker told Cook Islands News that it was not surprising that we were seeing more Covid-19 reinfections over time.

In New Zealand, the official reinfection rate was about 30 per cent.

“It comes down to simple maths,” Baker said.

“This is a virus that keeps evolving to escape our immunity, which also wanes over time, giving it the ability to reinfect us often, possibly two or three times a year.

“That means that the longer we are living with this virus in our communities, the more likely it is that infections will be reinfections.”