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Dr Rawiri Taonui | Covid Maori, Pacific and the International Ethnic Pattern
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Dr Rawiri Taonui | Covid Māori, Pacific and the International Ethnic Pattern

22082020 1

Māori and Pacific Update

New Zealand has a total of 1,665 cases. 72 cases have arrived at our borders since 17 June. There are 89 cases associated with the Auckland outbreak. Between cases at the border and Auckland, there are 105 active cases.

There are 89 cases associated with two clusters/groups in the Auckland outbreak. By cluster or group, the writer means there are two distinct lines of infection.

The main cluster is the BTriple-1 genome strain of Covid-19 originating at best estimation from Australia or Britain. There are 88 people in this ‘Auckland community cluster’ of which all cases carry the BTriple1 strain of Covid-19. One of those includes the case from St Lukes. This person was on the same bus as another person clearly identified in the BTriple-1 Auckland Community Cluster. Three of cases are in Tokoroa. While they are not in Auckland they are associated with the cluster because they carry the same strain having been infected when members of the family of four travelled to Rotorua.

The second strain originates from the United States (US). This is the Rydges Hotel case. This person was infected after entering a lift on 31 July moments after a case that had flown in from the US had been in the lift. The person from the US was transferred to quarantine.,

Aggregating both groups together, Māori (12 cases) and Pacific peoples (66 cases) are 87.5% of all cases in the Auckland centred outbreak.

The International Pattern

The following is an analysis of the cases as they unfolded in New Zealand during the first wave, cases that have come across our border since we defeated the first wave, and those that have appeared since 11 August in the Auckland outbreak.

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First Waves

The emerging international picture in Western countries is that the first wave of Covid-19 affects richer white communities first because they do more international travelling, more pick up the virus doing so. They return home, spread the disease through immediate contacts, again mainly European. Then via additional internal travel and/or ignoring social distancing they spread the disease into Indigenous Peoples and other ethnic minorities, for example, black minorities in Britain and African American, Indigenous and Hispanic communities in the United States (US).

In our case, Pākehā, as the bulk of overseas travellers, and their immediate contacts, were 71.3% of all infections during the first wave. According to statistics from Māori checkpoints, Pākehā were also the main group ignoring travel restrictions under lockdown. Fortunately, Māori and Pacific communities were able to mount strong campaigns protecting our most vulnerable members from the higher rates of infection in similar communities overseas.

Border Cases

As a first wave recedes, the two main risks of a second wave are if border controls are lifted prematurely and/or from returning nationals especially if they are escaping worsening situations in other countries. Mandatory 14 to 21-day isolation or quarantine is a critical preventive impeding transmission into the community.

By the end of July, they had more than 3,000 cases as a massive second wave swept the country. Other countries, such as South Korea and Hong Kong have had second waves caused by returning citizens. Wuhan in China went 56 days virus-free before discovering seven cases in one day. Mass testing later showed 200 more new cases, in part stemming from allowing foreign nationals into the city.

Restrictions remain on non-citizens travelling to New Zealand. Since mid-June, there have been 72 positive cases among those returning to the country. Many of these have fled some profoundly serious emerging situations in other countries. That 68% of those cases are Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American, or African reflects that reality. There is a risk they will face racism. This is what motivated former National MP Hamish Walker to realise the personal details of people who tested positive.

Second Waves

Second waves affect disproportionately marginalised Indigenous and ethnic communities. A decrease in international travel decreases the infection rate in privileged white populations. If lockdowns are lifted too early, or border and managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) protocols are relaxed and/or it is a significant decline in surveillance testing then the infection rate among Indigenous and other ethnic communities can rise. Two clusters among MIQ security guards that later sweep through ethnic suburbs in Melbourne were the key sequence of the second wave in Victoria, Australia. A relaxation of border controls caused a massive upsurge of 3,000 cases in Montenegro where an impressive first wave campaign had eliminated Covid-19 in 68 days before cases had reached 330 – much quicker than in New Zealand.

The second wave outbreak in Auckland is disproportionally impacting Māori and Pacific communities. The origin of this breakout will be proven to derive from lax border controls and testing. The quick spread of the outbreak will be shown to come from incredibly low precautionary random testing during June for which Māori and Pacific are now paying the highest price.

During the first wave, Māori and Pacific made up 14% of all cases. Māori and Pacific communities also had the lowest ratio of the number of cases to a percentage of the population. In the Auckland centred outbreak, Māori and Pacific are 87.5% of all cases. Pacific are 74.0%.

                              Noho haumaru - stay safe and self-sovereignty
                                                     rawiri t


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