New Zealand abandons COVID-Zero. Is the hope of elimination over?

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Guest: Alex McKeen, Toronto Star reporter

Through much of the pandemic, New Zealand has avoided massive outbreaks, a large number of deaths and a high number of cases, and in doing so, supporters of COVID-Zero have heralded it as the model for the strategy to eliminate the virus. But all that came to an end when New Zealand, like other nations, practically abandoned the official strategy. The goal now is low transmission rates, rather than total elimination. The COVID-Zero movement has attracted a number of supporters from epidemiologists and public health experts, as well as its share of criticism from people likening the approach to the anti-vax movement. Where does the goal of eliminating the spread of COVID go now? Is it even possible to achieve it? Why is the dream of eliminating COVID so controversial?

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks at a press conference on October 4, 2021. The New Zealand government says achieving 'COVID-zero' within the island nation is no longer likely or possible.

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