WHO “deeply concerned” about Covid-19 spread among indigenous groups

WHO “deeply concerned” about Covid-19 spread among indigenous
Dessana Village, near Manaus, in the Brazilian Amazon. Photo: Renan Martelli da Rosa/Shutterstock

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed concerns over the Covid-19 spread within indigenous communities around the world, but especially in the Americas — the current epicenter of the virus. 

On the WHO daily coronavirus briefing, Dr. Tedros said indigenous communities are more vulnerable to the virus and its severe outcomes, as they already suffer from poverty, unemployment, malnutrition, and both communicable and non-communicable diseases. 

“Though Covid-19 is a risk for all indigenous peoples globally, the WHO is deeply concerned about the impact of the virus on groups in the Americas, which remains the current epicenter of the pandemic,” he said during the press briefing. 

WHO reports that, up until July 6, more than 70,000 Covid-19 cases have been reported among indigenous peoples in the Americas, with more than two thousand deaths. In Brazil, 16,638 indigenous citizens had been infected with Covid-19 as of July 20 and 543 have died, according to data provided by the National Committee of Indigenous Life and Memory. However, official numbers from the Health Ministry’s indigenous health department shows just 11,885 confirmed cases and 230 deaths. 

Meanwhile, according to daily newspaper O Globo, communities in the Alto Xingu area in the state of Mato Grosso have been suffering with poor health conditions — and even report being victims of prejudice in local hospitals. In order to protect themselves, they are resorting to crowdfunding campaigns in order to build a field hospital and purchase medicines.

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