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Ed Sheeran

Wealth effect seen in kiwi COVID-19 spread
Photo: Getty Images.

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A Māori doctor and health researcher says it’s important to keep COVID-19 out of Māori communities for as long as possible.

David Tipene-Leach is welcoming health checkpoints in some tribal areas as a way to keep isolated and extremely vulnerable communities safer.

He says so far almost all cases have involved travellers or people returning from overseas, and it’s interesting how the virus has not yet showed up in some of the poorer towns and communities.

"If there was a picture of all the people who are getting COVID at the moment, I think we might find they are wealthier, not Māori, and that's this particular part of the epidemic if you like. That particular group is being affected because they caught it overseas. Our worry, and it's a big worry, is what happens when it gets to community spread," Dr Tipene-Leach says.

Māori also have cause for concern about community spread because so many Maori have pre-existing respiratory conditions.

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