Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Two Auckland clusters climb past 100, five unlinked to current outbreak

By Vita Molyneux

Two of Auckland's Covid-19 clusters have surpassed 100 cases, making them some of the largest the country has seen since coronavirus hit in 2020.

One of the clusters, on the North Shore has 130 infected people with the median ages of 30 to 34, and the other is in Manukau Ward, with 100 cases and the same median age.

The Ministry of Health data released to the Herald shows there are eight active clusters, two contained and two dormant. Of the eight actives, just three are linked to the outbreak.

The other five are likely to have a genomic link, but have not yet been identified.

The clusters are spread across the region with cases in Manukau Ward, Waitakere, Manurewa-Papakura, and the North Shore. The median ages of all clusters – including recovered, contained and dormant only reaches to 34, with the youngest infected person being 15.

Seventeen clusters have recovered entirely.

On Friday morning director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said public health officials are no longer focused on identifying where cases were infected, nor are they "obsessing" over case numbers.

Instead, efforts will hinge on making sure as many people are vaccinated as possible, as this is the key to more freedom in the future.

He acknowledged some experts were worried - along with many Aucklanders - over rising case numbers but he said: "I don't think we should be panicking".

One of the experts who is panicking is Auckland University epidemiologist Rod Jackson.

Jackson said earlier in the week he was "freaking out" at the prospect of Auckland's Covid-19 outbreak spreading further afield, and that while vaccination is the most effective way to tackle the outbreak there's no guarantee the people who need it most will get it.

"Those people hardest to reach by the vaccine are going to be easiest for the virus to reach. These are people who are living in crowded situations, often in poor health, often Covid-deniers, they are suspicious of authority so they don't believe people like me even though I don't work for the Government."

Bloomfield hopes the Government's Super Saturday campaign will push vaccination rates higher, telling RNZ that of the 170 people hospitalised in the current Delta outbreak only three are fully vaccinated.

Around 4 per cent of the people who have caught Covid-19 in the current outbreak are fully vaccinated – which highlights how effective the Pfizer vaccine is at preventing infection and serious illness.

In a push to get as many people vaccinated as possible the Government announced Super Saturday – a day focused on hitting a new record of 100,000 people vaccinated.

To achieve this, there will be a televised 'Vaxathon', where celebrities, influencers and health professionals will cross to vaccination clinics across the country, checking in with Kiwis who are getting immunised.

The highest vaccination New Zealand has achieved in a single day so far is 93,000.


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