August 24, 2021
Church sub-cluster raises pandemic tempo
A Māori academic who has tracked COVID since the start of the pandemic expects a surge in Māori cases this week – and deaths next week.
Rawiri Taonui says he’s asked for updated ethnic data from the Auckland delta outbreak.
Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said yesterday over half the 148 current community cases were Pasifika, with 58 of the cases linked to a gathering at the church in Mangere attended by people from around the country.
Dr Taonui says there could be 240 to 300 cases by the end of the week.
With a vaccination rate at just 53 per cent of the overall rate, Māori are particularly vulnerable to rapid spread in their communities.
“I don’t want to be alarmist but there is the potential here to see a repeat of 1918 in terms of the Spanish flu – I don’t mean in terms of overall numbers but certainly in terms of cases for Māori and Pasifika, more hospitalisations and a, unfortunately, a greater proportion of deaths,” Dr Taonui says.
He says talk of making Māori and Pasifika a priority hasn’t been backed up by action, with the $38 million promised in March for Māori vaccination efforts still unspent.
He says the government is overestimating its ability to get on top of the problem without properly resourcing Māori and Pacific providers.
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