Dr Rawiri Taonui: New Māori and Pacific cases dominate Delta tail

By Contributor

By Māori health researcher Dr Rawiri Taonui, in partnership with Te Ao Māori News

Positive trends

Yesterday’s Delta outbreak figures hold several positives.

There are 958 contacts, 92% of whom have received at least one test. This is the first time contacts have been under 1,000.

The number of unlinked cases over the last fortnight is down to five, the lowest number for some weeks.

Of 25 clusters and sub-clusters, 21 are under control or no longer active.

For the first time, the number of unlinked clusters falls to zero.

The number of Delta recoveries rises to 951, leaving 214 active cases. These numbers narrow the possibility that there are undetected chains of transmissions in the community.

Active cases in MIQ

There are 225 active cases in managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ). While this is down from the peak of 770 in August, the number is higher than the safety threshold of 30 per day above which all border/MIQ  breaches have occurred this year.

The long tail of Delta

The long and strong Delta tail presents a significant risk. Six days into Auckland Alert Level 3 Auckland, there has been only one single-digit day compared to a full six days under 10 cases when last year’s first wave went to Level 3 on April 27.

The government and Ministry of Health will be relying on this reflecting the hyper-infectivity of Delta infecting all household contacts in isolating clusters rather than an indicator of undetected transmission.

The ministry and the Auckland Public Health Service are testing widely in suburbs like Mt Wellington, Cloverlea Park, Manurewa and Ōtara to ensure this is the case.

Concern must remain that there is a total of 97 cases during the first six days of the Delta Auckland Level 3, four times higher than the first six days of the first wave Level 3 last year.

Māori cases

There are eight new Māori cases today, the seventh time Māori are the highest number of cases since September 11. Māori and Pacific cases are dominating the tail of Delta through Level 3. Together we make up 85% of all new cases.

Overall, Māori and Pacific Peoples are 81.9% of all cases in the outbreak and 77.4% of cases in MIQ. This reiterates the importance of lifting Māori vaccination.

Noho haumaru, stay safe

Dr Rawiri Taonui