In New Zealand, Charles Anderson reports for the Guardian that finance minister Grant Robertson says employers are required to pay employees a government wage subsidy, even if they cannot continue to employ them. This would take the support scheme to an estimated NZ$8-12bn (US$4.8-7.2bn).
Meanwhile, modelling released yesterday suggested, left unchecked, the virus would eventually infect 89 percent of New Zealand’s population and kill up to 80,000 people in a worst-case scenario.
ICU beds would reach capacity within two months and the number of patients needing intensive care would exceed 10 times that capacity by the time the virus peaked.
However, with the strictest suppression measures, which New Zealand had adopted, the fatalities would drop to just 0.0004 percent – about 20 people. Hospital capacity would not be exceeded for over a year. These measures included social distancing, case isolation, household quarantine, and closing schools and universities.
That scenario would require the restrictions to remain in place until a vaccine or other treatment was developed.
“When controls are lifted after 400 days, an outbreak occurs with a similar peak size as for an uncontrolled epidemic,” the researchers wrote. “In other words, these strategies can delay but not prevent the epidemic.”