March 11, 2020
Pre-existing conditions key to Covid19 risk
A warning today that while Māori are not necessarily more likely to contract the Covid 19 coronavirus, if it does get into the community the consequences could be dire.
Of the five confirmed and two probable cases picked up New Zealand so far, all are with people who were recently overseas of who had a family member who was.
Phil Shoemack, the medical officer of health for the Bay of Plenty’s Toi Te Ora Public Health, says the risk to Māori comes because of their higher rates of respiratory and cardiovascular disease.
The other group that is particularly susceptible is the elderly, with other countries reporting high levels of risk among those over 80.
"We know that for a number of other conditions such as influenza, that it tends to affect Māori at a young age, so it might be for Māori that we are talking about people over 70 being more susceptible rather than over 80 as in most parts of the world," Dr Shoemack says.
So far the border controls have been working well, including where necessary testing passengers and crew from the cruise ships coming into Tauranga.
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