New Zealand Investigates A Mystery: Where Did Its New Cases Come From?

After more than 3 months without any new coronavirus infections, New Zealand is searching for the source of an outbreak, now at 30 cases.

8/15/2020 4:13:00 AM

After more than 3 months without any new coronavirus infections, New Zealand is searching for the source of an outbreak, now at 30 cases.

The hunt is on to find the source of the coronavirus outbreak, now at 30 cases. The country is working to understand how the virus slipped through its defenses.

Hagen Hopkins/Getty Imagestoggle captionHagen Hopkins/Getty ImagesNew Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arrives for a press conference Friday in Wellington. A new coronavirus outbreak has grown to 30 cases, and Ardern predicts of the cluster,"It will grow before it slows."

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Hagen Hopkins/Getty ImagesAfter more than three months without any known community spread of the coronavirus in New Zealand, a new outbreak in Auckland has upset the fragile normalcy that had returned in the nation.It was just Tuesday that the government said it had its first cases from an unknown source in 102 days, all within one family. By Friday, the outbreak had grown to 30 cases, including in other cities where members of the household had traveled.

Now, a hunt is on to find the source of the outbreak — a search that shows how difficult it is to stamp out the virus, even on an island nation that has taken quick and decisive steps to eliminate it.There are a few theories about how the virus might have slipped through New Zealand's defenses.

One focus is a cool storage facility of a U.S.-based company called Americold. A number of the cases in the new cluster are employees at an Americold facility in Auckland.Could the virus have spread via freight?"It is theoretically possible, but all indications are that it is not very likely," says Donald Schaffner, a food microbiologist at Rutgers University.

New Zealand's food safety authority released a statement on Thursday reminding that the general scientific consensus is that the risk of COVID-19 transmission by food or food packaging is"negligible."The authority said that consensus"results from epidemiological observations from the large number of global cases, the limited ability of the organism to survive on inanimate surfaces and the unlikely probability that an infectious dose would survive and be transmitted in food packaging scenarios, especially that moving in international trade," the authority said.

In other words, a whole lot of things would have to align for someone to become infected via imported food or food packaging. While China has been doing widespread testing of imported food packaging and has occasionally had tests come back positive for the virus, the New Zealand authority said,"It is our understanding there have only been [six] positives from over 200,000 tests run. Further these testing results do not determine presence of infectious particles."

Surfaces in the Americold facility have been swabbed for the virus, but Dr. Ashley Bloomfield, New Zealand's director-general of health, said it's more likely that the virus spread via humans. Respiratory transmission is understood to be the primary way that the virus is spread.

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"We are looking still at the human-to-human transmission and going back along that chain," Bloomfield said Friday."We're also thoroughly investigating the sort of chain through the Americold setting from the border, right through to that cool store, and we are getting help from our police colleagues to sort of treat that as an end-to-end scene examination."

Another theory: Perhaps the virus has been circulating at a low level for all this time and eventually found a host that it made sick enough to become symptomatic. Once people started being tested around that index case, more cases were found.Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that possibility has become less likely, with new genomic data that found the strain of the virus in the new cluster is different from strains that had circulated in the country earlier this year.

"This suggests this is not a case of the virus being dormant or a burning ember in our community," Ardern said."It appears to be new to New Zealand."Bloomfield agreed."I think the nature of this outbreak shows how actually once you identify that first case, you find quite a lot quite quickly," he said."And we just wouldn't have not found cases over the last three months if it had been still lurking away in the community, especially because we were going into winter."

Yet another theory: Could the virus have been spread from an incoming traveler to someone who works at an airport or managed quarantine facility?For months, the country has closed its borders to almost all travelers. New Zealand citizens are permitted to return but must go into

14 days of managed isolation or quarantine. There have been arrivals who test positive for the virus, but they are kept isolated from the general population.Since the new cluster emerged, workers at the country's managed isolation facilities, ports and airports are being tested. But so far, the new strain of the virus doesn't match the samples of the positive cases who have arrived at the country's border.

So for now, the viral mystery continues.More cases in the cluster are expected to crop up in the coming days."It will grow before it slows," Ardern predicted.She said it's possible that the new outbreak's source may never be found — but that won't stop New Zealand from"going hard and going early" to bring the cases under control.

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Herd vulnerability The Media: 30 5,000,000 lets focus on that!!! Not one ov you wearing a mask. If you invetigaters wear a mask,that will help Then tell them all, to wear a mask. You got it right the first time, why ignore it now. Welcome to the party New Zealand... 🍺🍺 Birds. This is the guy they should be looking for. Up to no good.

Brownian motion of particles in the air is literally the closest science comes to an act of god. Where these cases came from is a stupid question. It’s irrelevant. A relevant question is why does man think he can control something that is essentially an act of god. My guess is testing. Right? SMH. 😂 oh wait, looks like they can't play God after all.

Just guessing, but how does China sound? Probably American tourist. Probably gonna be a visiting American. That's ok; you only have 30 cases. We have plenty of it. Let us know if you want some... I guess empathy and hugs doesn't an effective strategy make... Probably came from Florida Somebody is pooping in their pants right now about that trip they took to Australia

Look at imported food. Probably got from an Amazon package.. Is this really headline worthy? I don’t get why you keep reporting on this. It’s not like we here in the US can even compare our situation with that of an island nation. I bet their politicians didn’t go on vacation while things are raging out of control though! ShameOnCogress

😐 Flu gonna flu. Ehhhhhh. This creeps me out. What if it reactivates? We know that 3 months is the length of average antibody presence. What if it laid dormant in someone or on something? The trump admin planted the virus truth Diferently from US, they will take care of it, seriously. It's a virus , it's in the air government can't stop it . Humans have been living with viruses forever. Time to get out of your basement and start living your life . FYI cloth masks don't stop virus .

FaRah07595123 But see the difference between A COMPETENT LEADER and whatever the Hell we have over here guys? We can have nice things too if y'all voted on policy not prejudices.🤷🏾‍♀️ This was always going to be totally stupid. Why? People move around. All the dopes / news organizations praising her... The only realistic way to end this is to totally shut down for several weeks SIMULTANEOUSLY ALL AROUND THE WORLD. Good luck with that. SimplyTooManyHoomans

hmm, almost like it was a completely useless idea to bankrupt the entire country for all the stardom fame. Junior & Eric frolicking with the sheep ? Why? The virus is just that. It's a virus. It can't be eradicated when lockdown ends; it will continue to spread. New Zealand is acting in a totally irrational and cruel way. Where is the compassion? One sign of truth in the room is the presence of compassion.

Let me guess, an American with a red hat snuck in? jacindaardern looks pissed and I’m loving it Ardern is coming for you corona. All that bragging they were doing maybe to soon huh. Fascinating Oh shit, 30? So, it is a virus. Viruses have been here much longer than us. Maybe we should stop pretending that we are in control.

Contaminated test swabs case study on why and how the global health establishment is a complete fraud sgbt1 It’s easy. Someone is lying China OpenAmericaNow God I hope it wasn't one of us (🇺🇲)...😳 and I pray they figure it out quickly with NO lives lost!!!🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾 Ardern said genomic testing has shown the latest outbreak is a different strain to the original outbreak in New Zealand earlier in the year, suggesting it was new to the country.

They do love to sail. Best sailors in the southern hemisphere.😉 motherfucker, it is spreading through the food, isn't it? Look for the American. SAYHISNAMECANNONHINNANT New Zealand: back to the trenches! Did an American get in? Sorry for that person Did they let any Americans in? Trump voter. An Amazon order from China.

Maybe you should ask CHINA that MAGAMoron Think Europeans bringing small pox to the new world Wait until guns start mysteriously appearing.. then she’s really gonna be confused I’d ask the smirky fella behind her Let’s go after them we have 1500 dead a day on the regular Did they have a Trump rally? That’s our main source here...

New Zealand reports 12 new confirmed coronavirus casesNew Zealand on Friday reported 12 new confirmed cases of coronavirus for the last 24 hours as the country awaits an announcement from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on whether a lockdown in its biggest city will be eased or extended. Oh shucks Here we go again. No herd immunity

New Zealand reports new coronavirus cluster as country battles fresh outbreakNew Zealand reported 13 new community coronavirus cases on Thursday as the country tackles a fresh outbreak that ended an enviable run of more than 100 days without any locally transmitted infections. Media keeps giving parties every other day 'Oh congrats NZ is free of COVID, bitch is awesome' then again 'its back'... The same idiocy is put on loop... 13? omg! it's the covocalypse! 😱😱 But compare that to how many just one US state had in one day or the whole country ! Sure as hell wasn’t only 13!

New Zealand reports more COVID-19 cases ahead of lockdown decisionNew Zealand's first coronavirus outbreak in three months has spread further, officials reported on Friday, just hours before Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is due to announce whether a lockdown in the country's biggest city will be extended. How many people have you seen gasping for air (either online or in person) while a global pandemic is in effect caused by a respiratory disease? Lack of leadership according to cnn When their new cases per month are within our margin of error for new deaths per day

Puzzling New Zealand virus outbreak grows to 17 casesWELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A puzzling new outbreak of the coronavirus in New Zealand's largest city grew to 17 cases on Thursday, with officials saying the number will likely increase further.... nickgbperry Wow 17 that's like... Nothing nickgbperry Trumps fault nickgbperry Jinxed themselves 😔

Asia Today: Australia outbreak slows, New Zealand cases growSYDNEY (AP) — The coronavirus outbreak centered in Australia's second-largest city showed a decline in new infections Thursday, though the state's leader urged continued vigilance. Victoria... Thank later Australia isn’t in Asia tho

Puzzling New Zealand virus outbreak grows to 17 casesA puzzling new outbreak of the coronavirus in New Zealand’s largest city has grown to 17 cases, with officials saying the number will likely increase further Thank me Asymptomatic