Indigenous leaders report new suspected Covid-19 deaths

xavante indigenous
Photo: Wilson Dias/ABr/ Archive

Over the last 24 hours, indigenous leaders from the Xavante ethnic group have reported nine new suspected Covid-19 deaths in Mato Grosso — three of the victims were diagnosed with the coronavirus. The other six have been tested, but the results are yet to be confirmed. If confirmed, that would mean that the Xavantes, who number around 22,000, would have recorded 21 coronavirus deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

It is another example of how the deadly virus is among indigenous Brazilians. According to experts, the government’s promotion of evangelical incursions into these communities — along with land invasions by loggers and miners — is making things worse.

Besides the human cost, there is also a considerable risk posed to the future of these groups’ cultural traditions — as indigenous tribes rely heavily on oral transmission from the elderly, the most vulnerable age group.

The Xavante community has already recorded 102 coronavirus cases and has another 62 suspected cases according to the last bulletin published last Thursday, June 25, by the Special Indigenous Health District of Xavante.

These figures differ significantly from the official government statistics, which have only reported five deaths and 84 infections in Xavante. There is a noticeable discrepancy between the official numbers and those reported by the Health District, which calls into question the reliability of official government figures yet again.

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