New Zealand’s chief medical officer is warning the country faces a “climate crisis” as global warming threatens to worsen already dire conditions for some residents.
In an interview with CBC News, Dr. Dr. Peter West said the country has experienced an increase in the number of coronavirus cases over the past few years and that more people in the country are likely to be infected.
He said the number is the highest it’s been in 20 years, and that the number could climb further.
“We are at a critical moment, and I think it’s very difficult for us to accept that we’re going to be the first country in the world to have a coronaviral pandemic, when in fact the rate of increase is so unprecedented that the current rate is unsustainable,” West said.
We’ve already seen the numbers of coronas go up, which we know are a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We’ve also seen a significant increase in cases of pneumonia.
And, in particular, we’re seeing an increase of severe respiratory illness.
West said the rise in coronaviruses has coincided with a significant decrease in the numbers in the province of New Zealand.
The provincial government has been running out of funding to fight the disease, and has said the population is at a “critical moment.”
The chief medical officers report, released Thursday, noted that the population of New Guineans has increased from just over 10 million people to nearly 19 million.
It said New Zealand has seen an increase, but that the overall rate of infection is still “extremely low” and that there is “little evidence of any trend in mortality or morbidity.”
West also said the government has begun to implement a series of measures to fight coronavosis, including increased surveillance and a new coronavial surveillance system.
As a result, there is a greater awareness of the risk and the need for a concerted public health response, he said.
West is in the United States on a national tour to promote a vaccine for COVID, which he said is already available and has already been tested on more than 10,000 New Guines.
However, he warned the vaccine won’t be available for everyone, including those with a high risk of COVID.
West said he hopes New Zealanders will be reassured that the government is listening to their concerns and will be able to act quickly to help them protect themselves.
There are currently no restrictions on the number and types of people who can get the vaccine, he added.
Follow Laura Geggel on Twitter: @LauraGeggelCBC.