April 08, 2020
Dr Rawiri Taonui|Covid-19 Update for Māori 08 April 2020| Positive Tests Decreasing, Māori Cases & Percentage Increase
1. Total Cases
New Zealand has 50 new cases and 1210 cases in total. The increase of 4.3% continues a downward trend of 9.4%, 6.4% 4.9% and now 4.3%.
Positive Tests Declining
New cases have declined four days in a row: 89-67-54-50. Alongside increased testing, this is especially positive.
Active Cases Stable
The number of Active Cases (the numerical difference between all cases and recovered cases), is another key indicator of the stability of our Covid-19 situation. There are now 282 people who have recovered meaning the number of Active Cases has stayed between 920 and 930 for three days.
2. Māori Cases
Māori cases increased by 8 to a total of 91. This is an 8.8% increase over 4.6% yesterday. Māori are now 8.2% of all cases up from 7.8% yesterday. This reflects that we are picking up more Māori because: earlier testing focussed on returning travellers and their contacts rather than the wider community, during earlier testing mainstream test sites did not engage well with Māori, that there is more testing and more sites in Māori locations and with Māori staff.
3. Pacific Peoples Cases
Pacific Peoples are just 3.6% of all cases. There is a risk that earlier testing did not focus sufficiently on Pacific Peoples. We need to support and encourage our Pacific cousins to ensure that their communities are being adequately tested. There appear to be fewer testing sites focussing on Pacific Peoples. The Ministry of Health needs to lift its game.
Pacific Peoples are a vulnerable group. We need to keep to the fore, the recent disaster in Samoa with measles, their very high rates of infection during the 2008-2015 Meningococcal-B epidemics and the appalling rate of death during the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic in Samoa.
4. Information and Data
There is real concern about access to information and data, including the historical progression of cases for Māori and Pacific Peoples and levels of testing in our communities.
The Ministry of Health deletes its information on Māori and Pasifika before it prepares the following day’s live update. The historical information is not available online. The Auckland DHB has a policy of not processing requests for information until after the Covid-19 emergency. The Waikato DHB is publishing testing information online, but this does not include data for Māori and Pacific Peoples. I have written to 16 other DHBs and the Ministry. The Ministry has informed that it will respond in May. Seven DHBs have referred me to the Ministry. One referred me to a page with no information. Just two have responded with any information. The remainder have not responded.
Information and data on our communities during the Covid-19 emergency is a human right. Māori have suffered disproportionately during every epidemic that has visited our shores. Pākehā have led the effort in each of those epidemic events. The outcomes were not good for our communities. Māori have never been in such a strong position to fight back against an epidemic.
Our communities need this information so that they better understand what is happening. They also need this information so that can plan and strategize how to fight back against Covid-19, help and motivate our people, and support the wider community. We do not need to be risk-managed on information. We can and are contributing. We are in this together.
5. International Comparisons
One way of comparing how New Zealand is doing is by comparing the number of cases we have and the number of tests we are conducting with other countries of our size.
The first chart shows that we compare well with other countries of our size re: numbers of cases. This reflects that our lockdown and travel restrictions are more comprehensive, and that we started testing at a much smaller number of cases.
The second chart shows we took some time to increase our testing, that we are progressing well, but have some way to go to reach the level of testing in other countries of similar size.
The charts also show that Slovakia made key and effective decisions earlier than other countries. They closed schools 8 March, closed their borders13 March, closed non-essential stores and businesses 16 March and made facemasks compulsory in public on 25 March.
If you think you or any of your whānau or aiga have symptoms call your doctor or Healthline on
0800 358 5453 or approach the local Māori testing site if one is in your area. Technically, I am breaching the rules in making this recommendation, however, the impression from community is that this is a very real issue. The same applies for Pacific Peoples.
Noho haumaru, stay safe and stay self-sovereign, Dr Rawiri Taonui