On Sunday, the Ministry of Health reported two Covid-19 deaths and 468 additional cases. This apparently represents a continuing downward trend in deaths.
I say ‘apparently’ because, as the Chief Medical Officer admitted some months ago, no distinction has ever been made between deaths from Covid and deaths with Covid.
However, extrapolating from more rigorous data from other countries like the UK, it seems likely that the decline is, in fact, real.
What has caused this drop, though? Only 50.8 per cent of the population have received the Covid shot, which is insufficient to account for any reduction in Covid fatalities. Moreover, at least two-thirds of that cohort got their jabs over six months ago, with just 150,958 having got boosters (21 per cent of the vaxxed cohort).
This means efficacy has vanished for the majority of the 711,355 vaxxed persons.
By contrast, 148,335 persons have tested positive for the virus since March 12, 2020, and it is now known that infection confers long-lasting immunity against all variants.
Moreover, this figure is probably under-counted by at least a factor of four, given the number of people who were infected whose symptoms were so mild that they never got tested.
With 3,831 total deaths and 136,000 officially recovered patients, the hospitalisation fatality ratio was 2.8 per cent, meaning the total fatality ratio was even lower-again, data from other countries finding a TFR of under one per cent.
What all this suggests is that the true cause of the decline in deaths is the milder Omicron variant replacing the more virulent Delta version. This is the typical trajectory of infectious viruses, although such evolution usually happens faster than has been the case with Covid-19.
Why this particular coronavirus took so long to become endemic is now the subject of ongoing research.