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Dr Rawiri Taonui | Covid-19 Update for Māori 13 April 2020 Further Decline in New & Active Cases | Caution with Decline in Testing | New Clusters a further Warning | Rate of Māori & Pacific Stable
Photo image supplied / Dr Rawiri Taonui

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Covid-19 Update for Māori 13 April 2020 Further Decline in New & Active Cases | Caution with Decline in Testing | New Clusters a further Warning | Rate of Māori & Pacific Stable
Dr Rawiri Taonui


Total Cases

New Zealand has 19 new cases and 1349 in total. New cases continue a steady decline over the last 9 days (89-67-54-50-29-44-29-18-19).

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Recovered Active Cases

546 people have recovered. Active Cases (the total of all cases less those who have recovered) have therefore fallen from 930 six days ago, to 859 yesterday and 803 today.

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As expected, testing over Easter has dropped. This urges caution over the good figures for lower new cases, high recovered cases and lower active cases. Testing next week will confirm whether we have flattened the curve and if so by how much.

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There is a further death associated with the Rosewood cluster. Thoughts and prayers go to families. This highlights the vulnerability of our aged citizens. There are two new clusters, one in an aged care facility in Auckland and a new one of undetermined origin in Christchurch. This brings the total clusters over 10 persons to 13. The clusters remind us of the very high risk of infection in social situations. Stay home.

Māori Cases

There is a single new Māori case and 111 in total. We are at 8.2%.

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Acknowledgements are due to the droves of Māori volunteers across the country manning checkpoints, distributing care packages, giving out food parcels, caring for our kaumātua, assisting those in need, looking after the vulnerable, setting up information distribution and helplines, working in testing and standing on the frontline in medical and health care and many assisting Pākehā as well as Māori. We also thank Te Whakakaupapa Urutā and the NICF Pandemic Response Group for their leadership advocating for Māori at the highest levels of the Ministry of Health and government.

In the face of micro-aggressive prejudice with far-right commentators labelling checkpoints ‘illegal’, others criticising the Māori pandemic financial support package as unnecessary, some DHBs risk-managing Māori, white control of data and belated partnership at the highest level, Māori have taken upon themselves to protect our communities.

There is a report today that a Pākehā from Kerikeri who was asked to turnaround at the Kaikohe checkpoint made a complaint to Police. The Police from Kerikeri closed the checkpoint today despite that the Police from Kaikohe had previously visited the checkpoint and not found anything untoward. The key issue is that people from Kerikeri need to stay in Kerikeri. Covid-19 does not accord Pākehā immunity. Stay home.

Without pre-empting a definitive conclusion, the massive national-wide effort from Māori communities has thus far prevented history repeating itself in our being the primary victims of yet another epidemic.

A Māori reporter asked the Direct-General of Health today about the low demographic for testing of Māori. The response was that next week there will a focus on testing in the regions and on Māori. This confirms what most of us think about low testing for Māori in different DHBs. No doubt the government has seen the statistics. They have not released those to Māori. However, they are intending to act.

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Pacific Peoples Cases

There is a single new Pacific case and a new total of 59. Pacific remain 4.4% of all cases. Applying the Range of Risk (see below), Pacific numbers at 59 are well below the 9% demographic figure from Census 2018, but at 4.4% are closer to the 6.5% demographic in the population model used by the Ministry.

Talofa to the Pacific community efforts. As with Māori, there are significant efforts across the country to assist those in need among Pacific communities, including a push in testing.

Risk Factor

This graphic presents the percentage of cases by ethnicity. The 2018 Census counts multiple identities. The Ministry of Health population model uses only a single identity. The percentage of population for some ethnic groups is higher in the Census but lower in the Ministry model. To some degree, this obscures the range of risk when numbers begin to reach the same level of demographic percentage. For example, Māori are 16.5% of the population in the Census and 15.7% in the Ministry model. The Range of Risk (RR) can be expressed as RR 15.7-16.5%. We must consider the situation potentially serious if the percentage of cases nears the lower of these figures.

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The New Zealand Situation

New Zealand is doing well. We must thank the Prime Minister and our government for acting when it did. Much is made of the New Zealand government acting sooner than all other countries. This is not true.

Many countries in the developing world like Slovakia and Turkmenistan closed their borders earlier than we did. And, many Asian countries such as South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong introduced the comprehensive suite of strategies we now employ a lot earlier than Western countries. In many instances, these countries have much lower cases per million of population than we do.

The disaster that is unfolding in the West in Europe and the United States is occurring because the West underestimated Covid-19, overestimated the capacity of their health systems to manage the virus and because the West was smug.

The crucially important nature of the decision our government made to go to lockdown on March 25 concerns the number of cases (205) we had at that time, rather than the date the decision was made. Looking at what is unfolding around the world, all countries regardless of size that locked down when numbers were 1000 or more are struggling, even those with the strongest strategies.

History will look back at this decision as saving New Zealand from inordinate suffering and very many more deaths, especially in Māori and Pacific communities. We are not out of the woods yet, there are many more turns to be navigated but Māori and Pacific are doing as much as we can to shape our destiny in this epidemic. Stay home, save lives, support testing.

Noho haumaru, stay safe and self-sovereign, Dr Rawiri Taonui


Copyright © 2020, UMA Broadcasting Ltd:

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