April 07, 2020
Modelling highlights need for Maori COVID response
A University of Auckland statistician says if allowed to run its course the COVID-19 pandemic could affect Māori in a different way to the rest of New Zealand.
Andrew Sporle is part of a group that has developed a downloadable app that allows people to model different scenarios around the pandemic.
It uses existing district health board and Stats New Zealand data, and the team hopes to get access to the data being collected on actual coronavirus cases.
He says by looking at international experience with COVID-19, the age profile of the Māori population and the experience of former epidemics, some assumptions can be made.
"Instead of most of the poor health outcomes for COVID being in the 70-year-old age group, ours is in the 60 and more age group. If the epidemic pans out and runs its full course, 30 per cent of our hospitalisations and deaths will be in the 60 to 70 age group. So that's one of the reasons we are making this public. It's just to get the message across to people working in the communities it's not just our 70-year-olds we have to look after, it’s our 60-year-olds," he says.
Andrew Sporle says during the 2009 flu epidemic, the mortality rate for Māori was 2.6 times that on none-Māori and in the 1918 flu epidemic it was 7 times worse for Māori.
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