Continuous exposure to virus risk for vaccinated Māori isolating at home

By Contributor

There were a record 207 new cases in the Delta OutBreak today. 

  • The two highest number of daily cases have come in the last two days (201 and 207).
  • The new total of all cases is 5,578.
  • There are 3,569 active cases.
  • There was one death reported today.

Projecting Delta Numbers to Christmas

  • The number of unlinked cases over the last fortnight rose to 800 today.
  • There are active cases in eight District Health Boards (DHBs): Auckland, Waitematā, Manukau, Northland, Waikato, Taranaki, Lakes, MidCentral and Canterbury.
  • There is a high probability of spread into other North Island DHBs and that daily cases will rise to 250 and then 300 per day by the end of this month.
  • At the current 7-day rate of 175.7 new cases per day, there will be 13,000 cases by Christmas.

Māori Cases

  • Māori are the highest daily cases for 42 consecutive days.
  • There was a new record of 121 Māori cases today.
  • Māori cases are rising both in number as a percentage of all cases.
  • The three highest number of daily Māori cases have come in the last three days. Friday - 108 Māori cases or 53.7% of 201 new cases; Saturday - 103 or 58.9% of 175 new cases; and Sunday - 121 or 58.5% of 207 new cases.
  • This is the first-time new Māori cases have been over 50% of all new cases for three days in a row.
  • At the current 7-day rate of 91.9 new Māori cases per day, there will be 6,000 Māori cases by Christmas.

Active Māori Cases and Hospitalisations

  • There are 1,627 active Māori cases.
  • Māori are 45.6% of all active cases.
  • There is a high probability that Māori will become more than 50% of all active cases by the end of November.
  • 100 Māori have been hospitalised.
  • There is a very high probability that Māori will have the highest hospitalisations by the end of this month.

Total Covid-19 Cases

  • Māori are 2,438 or 28% of all cases since Covid-19 first arrived in New Zealand.
  • Pākehā have the most cases on 2,914 (33.5%).
  • There is a high probability that Māori will become the highest impacted ethnicity by the end of November.
  • This will be the result of poor Te Tiriti-centred policies, including:
  • Not drafting a Māori Pandemic plan in 2017 when the National Influenza Pandemic Plan was completed, poor testing during April last year.
  • The development of a Māori Plan in April last year without consulting Māori.
  • A failure to continue surveillance testing in July last year led to the Auckland August OutBreak.
  • Locating Managed Isolation and Quarantine facilities in high-Māori demographic areas.
  • A failure to include Māori on the Ministry of Health vaccination governance and operational committees.
  • And consequently, a poor structurally racist vaccine rollout earlier this year.

Traffic Light System

  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that Cabinet may consider moving Auckland to the Traffic Light Protection System by the end of this month if double vaccination numbers are around 90%.
  • The Prime Minister has also said Cabinet might consider moving the whole country to the Traffic Light System to “encourage vaccination.”
  • Moving to the Traffic Light System this month will be a grave error.
  • Adjusting for errors in the HSU based Ministry of Health vaccination data, the Māori double vaccination rate (56.5%) is 22.2% lower than the national rate (78.5%).

  • If the government introduces the Traffic Light System across the country before the end of this month, they will expose lower vaccination rates among Māori, Pacific Peoples, and the poor. Māori cases will exceed 10,000 by Christmas.

Rates of Infection

  • Unvaccinated persons are 67% of all positive cases.
  • The unvaccinated are 7 times more likely to become infected than a fully vaccinated person, and 25 times more likely to suffer severe sickness resulting in hospitalisation.
  • A fully vaccinated person has 90% protection against becoming sick and 97% protection against severe sickness and hospitalisation.

The Home Isolation Risk for Māori

  • New Zealand is experiencing higher infections among the partially vaccinated.
  • This is because the Pfizer vaccine is less effective on one dose, double vaccination takes two to three weeks to reach full protection, and because protection from the vaccine is lowered when vaccinated persons are isolating at home with positive cases.
  • This is a real risk for Māori. One British study shows that the protection for fully vaccinated isolating at home with infected cases can drop as low as 35% because  of continuous exposure to the virus.
  • About 1,885 positive cases are isolating at home with 2,365 whānau/family members in around 1,250 homes across the country. A considerable number are Māori.
  • Given the close proximity of whānau members, this represents a considerable risk of transmission, including to those who are vaccinated.

Kia noho haumaru

Dr Rawiri Taonui