Māori vulnerable in 9 DHBs when Auckland Border opens - Dr Rawiri Taonui

By Contributor

By Māori Covid-19 Analyst Dr Rawiri Taonui, in partnership with Te Ao Māori News.

There were 63 new cases today. This is a significant decline over previous weeks and the lowest number of daily cases since 20 October.

The total number of weekly new cases have declined 5.4% and 29.0% respectively in the previous two weeks. This Monday, New Zealand will record a third successive week of declining cases reaching over 30%.

Daily Cases Last 100 Days 11122021

Māori Cases

There were 22 Māori cases today. This is the lowest number of new cases for Māori since 17 October. Nevertheless, Māori are the highest number of new cases for 68 of the last 69 days.

Māori Deaths

While this is positive news, Māori continue to dominate new cases and hospitalisations. The two deaths reported yesterday were both Māori.

Māori are 45.3% of all cases in the Delta OutBreak, 47.5% of all active cases, 37.7% of hospitalisations and 45% of all deaths.

Cases by ethnicity - 12122021

What is Driving the Decline

Rising vaccination numbers alongside Delta finding fewer opportunities for transmission among linked groups of people, and infections within those groups having peaked, is driving the decline.

With four days to go before the Auckland border opens, the government and Ministry of Health will be satisfied that they have successfully navigated the transition to the Traffic Light System Covid-19 Protection Framework.

Current Projection of Cases

On the current 7-day trend of overall cases (89.8 per day) and Māori cases (45 per day), there will be 11,500 total cases, including 5,300 Māori, on New Year’s Day.

Opening the Auckland Border

Whether the current decline holds when the Auckland border opens is debatable.

The risk of an increase in cases is high. New Zealand has reached 90.9% total vaccinations including 86.2% fully vaccinated.

However, while the gap between Māori and overall vaccinations is closing, Māori remain 11.5% behind on total vaccinations (79.4%) and 17.3% behind on full vaccination (68.9%).

Māori have reached over 80% total vaccinations and 70% full vaccination in 11 DHBs. However, Māori vaccinations in six of our seven most populous DHBs (Waikato, Manukau, Northland, Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay, Lakes) remain below this level.

Nine DHBs have over 20% unvaccinated Māori. All are in the North Island, and each has already had cases during the current outbreak. These are the areas that will be most vulnerable when the Auckland border opens.

Māori vaccination by DHB 1122021

Noho haumaru, stay safe.

Dr Rawiri Taonui