New Zealand Prime Minister Praises Country For Covid Response After Trump Comments

Jacinda Ardern defended the country’s most recent outbreak after Trump attempted to undermine New Zealand’s immense success in containing the virus. 

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US president Donald Trump has spent the last week discussing New Zealand’s recent outbreak of Covid-19 cases after going over 100 days without any new cases. Many were quick to criticize the president, especially considering the US is one of the most infected countries with the one of the highest death counts due to a lack of health and safety procedure enforcement throughout the nation. 

One of the voices that was quick to respond to Trump’s remarks was New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Arden. Since August 11th, New Zealand has reported 87 new cases of Covid-19 after going 102 days without any new infections. Prior to this month, however, the country was able to completely eradicate the virus by placing healthcare professionals in the position of power when it came to creating national health and safety procedures; which included lockdowns, facial coverings, social distancing measures, and more. 

During a press conference this past week, Arden defended the nation’s prompt response and successful reaction to the pandemic when it initially began some six months ago. She cited the World Health Organization directly, claiming that New Zealand has had one of the highest testing rates in the world, as well as one of the lowest death rates in the world; America has proven to be almost the complete opposite.

“New Zealand is talking 11 cases, whereas the United States has been dealing with over 40,000. It’s not just whether you have cases, it’s how you choose to deal with them.”

Arden went on to state how proud she was of New Zealanders, and commended them on how seriously they’ve taken this entire pandemic. Throughout her entire address she never mentioned Trump by name, but instead just referred to the US as one universal body and stuck to the facts and statistics. 

She discussed how New Zealand is currently one of the only countries in the world that has as low of an infection rate as they have when compared to other nations of similar sizes. Throughout the entire world New Zealand has had close to the lowest amount of Covid-related deaths as well. “To give an example the United States has 16,563 cases per million people, New Zealand has 269 per million.”

It’s hard to compare the infection rates between both countries considering New Zealand is much less populated/smaller than the US, however, when it comes to the success of both nations in relation to battling the coronavirus, it’s no question that New Zealand has implemented some of the most successful procedures so far. 

The initial back-and-forth began last week when Trump mentioned the country at a campaign rally in Minnesota:  “The places they were using to hold up now they’re having a big surge … they were holding up names of countries and now they’re saying ‘whoops!’ Do you see what’s happening in New Zealand? Big surge, we don’t want that.”

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“The death rate in New Zealand is 0.45 deaths for every 100,000 people, compared to the US rate of 53.04.”

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Trump went on to claim that New Zealand seemed to brag to the US when they initially beat Covid-19, and now are having a “whoops” moment. Arden responded to all the criticism that built up from these comments by stating that there was “no comparison” between New Zealand and America’s handling of the coronavirus, and the proof is in the numbers. 

Currently the US has seen more than 5.2 million positive cases and over 170,000 deaths; the highest in the world. “Anyone who’s following Covid and its global transmission will quite easily see that New Zealand’s nine cases in a day does not compare to the United States’ tens of thousands, and in fact does not compare to most countries in the world,” Arden stated. 

In June, New Zealand announced their initial elimination of the virus and joined countries such as Vietnam who were able to go over 100 days without any new cases. However, last week four people tested positive for the virus, which traced back to dozens more potential infections. Almost immediately the prime minister called for a two-week stage 3 lockdown for the city of Auckland, where the infections appeared. Auckland currently houses 1.5 million residents now under lockdown. 

Health officials are working with local government/business owners to figure out where the initial new infections came from, but so far it’s still unclear. In the meantime all employees working at international borders, ports, factories, and retail stores are being tested and traced as well.