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While some of the topline stats in this page are refreshed each day, others are now updated weekly.
The Covid-19 pandemic has rapidly swept the world. Cases continue to mount and the virus is still claiming lives.
On this page, the latest data on the pandemic is updated periodically.
It includes detailed information on New Zealand’s vaccinations, case numbers, testing and comparisons with other countries.
New Zealand is one of very few nations to have effectively suppressed Covid-19, in part by closing the border. The long-term strategy for managing the virus, when the border re-opens, is to achieve herd immunity via mass vaccination.
The percentages of the population above differ from the ones reported by the Ministry of Health. Stuff’s calculations are based on Stats NZ 2020 data, which is a representative estimation of the 12+ population. The Ministry chooses to use the Health Service User database, which, by definition, is not a total population estimate and does not include everyone in New Zealand.
In March 2021, a vaccination campaign was started. It was intended to be rolled out in four stages, the last of which would cover the general population aged 16 and over in the second half of 2021.
Vaccinations are carried out by health boards across the country.
Pākehā, Pasifika and people of Asian ethnicities all had comparable vaccination rates so far, while vaccination rates among Māori aged 16+ are lower.
New Zealand’s story
The first cases arrived in New Zealand late in February 2020, and were confirmed in early March.
On March 21, 2020, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a four-step alert level system to respond to the virus. Two days later, she announced the country would move to the highest alert level on March 26. Restrictions eased to Level 3 on April 28 and then Level 2 on May 14.
Weeks into Alert Level 4, as numbers stopped climbing, it became clear the strategy was working. Active cases - the people still considered sick - have been on a downward trend since April 10.
Testing is widely acknowledged as a key building block in any plan to stop an epidemic.
When done right, and at scale, testing data can be an effective indicator of where a country’s curve is going and whether the measures in place are working.
New Zealand steadily increased its testing in the second half of March 2020. The graph below shows the proportion of positive tests approaching zero, indicating success in stopping the spread of Covid-19.
New Zealand’s testing numbers also fare pretty well in comparison to other countries.
Covid-19 found its way into most parts of the country. In the latter stages of the outbreak, cases tended to be concentrated in New Zealand’s biggest population centres, notably the DHBs around Auckland.
Comparisons between countries are difficult. Each has its own set of challenges (and advantages) in addressing the pandemic.
But it’s clear New Zealand is not alone in having exerted some control over the virus. Other countries have also managed to flatten their curves.
Alongside Iceland, another island nation that benefited from physical isolation from the rest of the world, New Zealand has to date sustained a relatively low death toll, albeit with very different approaches.
Fatalities in New Zealand have all been among the most vulnerable 60+ age group.
Young adults, however, have been infected far more often, with a majority of those cases connected to international travel.
The global pandemic
Countries across Europe, Asia and the Americas have seen many tens of thousands of confirmed Covid-19 infections.
The chart below puts New Zealand’s outbreak in the global context. It uses a logarithmic scale on the Y-axis to allow for comparisons between growth curves.
The epidemic that started in China has changed epicentres more than once. From China, it moved on to ravage Italy, especially its northern region where most of the population lives.
By April, the United States became the hotspot. A third of the world’s coronavirus cases - and a quarter of the deaths - are in the US.
Featured illustration by Sungmi Kim
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