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Source: New Zealand Ministry of Health

These modelling reports were commissioned by the Ministry to help us understand the health outcomes and impacts on New Zealand of COVID-19 and to inform the response strategy.

The reports have been completed by Wellington researchers from the University of Otago in collaboration with university colleagues from Germany. The models have been revised based on feedback from peer reviewers, the Ministry of Health’s Chief Science Advisor and public health officials.

Modelling will help inform Government decisions on when, how much, and for how-long, the country can ease the lockdown and other measures.

It’s critical to understand that each of the models presents a number of potential future scenarios; there are no “predictions”.   

Each model has its own degree of uncertainty determined by the assumptions required for any modelling work, and those assumptions are based on the best information available from overseas evidence.

The key assumptions within this model are sourced from available literature and expert judgement.

Some of the factors used in the modelling are still fairly unclear such as whether winter increases spread, the number of people requiring hospitalisation and the proportion who will die.  Over time these factors are expected to become more certain.

The key value of modelling like this is to assist with planning and decision making at an early stage – when prevention measures can have greater effect – but it is also at a time when we have limited information and modelling helps give the best guide to decision makers.