Covid-19 continues to wipe out indigenous communities and their traditions

Several indigenous communities in Brazil are at risk of complete extinction due to the coronavirus pandemic

indigenous covid pandemic
Cemetery in São Gabriel da Cachoeira, the municipality with Brazil’s biggest indigenous population. Photo: Paulo Desana/Dabakuri/Amazônia Real

When Portuguese colonizers arrived in Brazil five centuries ago, bringing diseases and firearms with them, the country’s indigenous population nearly wiped out. Now, with Covid-19, history could be repeating itself, due to Brazilians and foreigners having contact with native communities. 

The first confirmed case of Covid-19 among Brazilian indigenous people came on March 25 last year, when a 20-year old Kokama woman tested positive in the Amazonian town of Santo Antônio do Içá. In this landmark case, the woman was contaminated by a São Paulo doctor deployed to the region by the Special Indigenous Health Secretary (Sesai). 

He was unaware...

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