COVID-19: Professor Michael Plank fears worse to come as cases climb under alert level 3

Sometimes sunny days can get dark pretty quickly.

On Sunday the Ministry of Health revealed 60 new cases - 56 in Auckland. That's the highest it's been since the first of September - the early days of level 4. It has Auckland residents worried.

"It's getting worse. It's getting worse not getting better," one told Newshub.

"Elimination is disappearing on us," another said.

And COVID modeller Professor Michael Plank says these cases were infected when level 3 was stricter - he thinks worse is to come.

"It is concerning but unfortunately not too surprising," he says.

Today Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern visited a vaccination clinic in Gisborne, dishing out coffees to those queueing up for their jabs.

Aucklanders might be hoping she serves up a shot of good news tomorrow, as the Government reviews Auckland's steps system. But Prof Plank says her decision should only take a matter of seconds.

"It's clear the cases are trending upwards, we don't really yet know clearly how quickly they're trending upwards and how high they could go, so I think at this stage I think we need to proceed very cautiously and I think it's too soon to ease restrictions," Prof Plank says.

He says he'd like to see a clearer strategy to prevent it spreading to other parts of the country, following cases in Waikato, Northland, and now the Bay of Plenty.

"We know there are certain regions that have low vaccination coverage and if the virus finds its way into those communities it could be absolutely devastating," Prof Plank says.

On Saturday 30,000 Aucklanders received their vaccines and across New Zealand nearly 7000 Pacific Peoples got a dose.

Manukau ward councillor Efeso Collins says it's been younger generations leading the way.

"The children leading the service, encouraging people to get vaccinated, has been a wonderful, fun, and engaging message today."

Today is White Sunday in Samoa, Tokelau, and Tuvalu - a national holiday celebrating children, and giving them the platform.

This year, the churches are empty. But the Zooms and Facebook Lives - like at Aukilani in Avondale - are pumping.

"One of the churches I've been watching on Facebook Live did a few skits on taking the vaccination, and I think that's really important because the children want to lead that," Collins says.

Communities always finding ways to celebrate and support each other - even when COVID tries its best to keep them apart.