Learning from New Zealand During Coronavirus

April 16, 2020
Kevin Kunzmann

How the island nation has set an efficient model of care access and preparation that has allowed them to best manage COVID-19.

The US has reached 644,000 cases of coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) this week, with no area facing a greater brunt of the pandemic than New York City—nearly 1 in every 5 confirmed cases have come from the city.

As the virus has spread gradually from its origin in China, country leaders and responders have used preparation time to share difficulties, new research, and best practices among each other. The systems of some countries, though, have proven more capable in helping manage the virus from the start. The lessons learned from these countries may be greater than just particular care of COVID-19.

In an interview with HCPLive®, Dr. David Rapoport, Director of the Sleep Medicine Research Program and Professor of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, corresponded from his stay in New Zealand during a remote program which began just prior to the COVID-19 spread.

As of April 15, New Zealand had reported just 1084 confirmed COVID-19 cases—770 (71%) of which had patients who were confirmed recovered—and just 9 deaths. Rapoport discussed the infrastructure of the New Zealand public health response agencies, their role in assisting at-need neighboring regions, and what lessons nations like the US could take from their inherent capability in pandemic response.