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Hard, Not Early: Putting the New Zealand Covid-19 Response in Context

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Abstract

A popular narrative that New Zealand’s policy response to Coronavirus was ‘go hard, go early’ is misleading. While restrictions were the most stringent in the world during the Level 4 lockdown in March and April, these were imposed after the likely peak in new infections. I use the time path of Covid-19 deaths for each OECD country to estimate inflection points. Allowing for the typical lag from infection to death, new infections peaked before the most stringent policy responses were applied in many countries, including New Zealand. The cross-country evidence shows that restrictions imposed after the inflection point in infections is reached are ineffective in reducing total deaths. Even restrictions imposed earlier have just a modest effect; if Sweden’s more relaxed restrictions had been used, an extra 310 Covid-19 deaths are predicted for New Zealand – far fewer than the thousands of deaths predicted for New Zealand by some mathematical models.

Suggested Citation

  • John Gibson, 2020. "Hard, Not Early: Putting the New Zealand Covid-19 Response in Context," Working Papers in Economics 20/08, University of Waikato.
  • Handle: RePEc:wai:econwp:20/08
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. What difference did lockdowns make?
      by Michael Reddell in Croaking Cassandra on 2020-09-14 22:36:50

    More about this item

    Keywords

    coronavirus; Covid-19; deaths; policy timing; response stringency; New Zealand;

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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