Covid-19 cases skyrocket among indigenous groups in the Amazon

Covid-19 cases skyrocket among indigenous groups in the Amazon
Photo: Carlos Eduardo Ramirez/ABr

Recent reports show 1,911 new confirmed cases and 102 new deaths related to Covid-19 among indigenous people since the last week of May, according to data from the Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (Coiab).

From the beginning of the pandemic until May 24, Coiab and the Special Secretary of Indigenous Health (Sesai) had registered a total of 731 Covid-19 cases and 116 deaths among indigenous people in the Brazilian Amazon. Now, the total tally of confirmed cases has more than tripled to 2,642 cases and total deaths almost doubled to 218 over the past two weeks.

Seventy-five out of 256 Indigenous groups in Brazil have registered Covid-19 cases so far in 2020, with the real figures likely to be higher due to reporting limitations. Several communities are particularly vulnerable to the Covid-19 pandemic due to a lack of contact with modern diseases. 

A study from the University of Campinas estimates that as many as 81,000 indigenous people in Brazil living in remote areas could be “critically vulnerable” to Covid-19. In addition to the Covid-19 pandemic, indigenous groups in the Amazon Basin are also increasingly susceptible to having their lands seized and destroyed by loggers and miners due to loosened environmental protections under Environment Minister Ricardo Salles.

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