Delta cases declining while Māori hospitalisations increase - Dr Rawiri Taonui

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

There were 135 new cases today and a total of 883 cases over the past week. The weekly total is a 29% decline on cases in the previous week. This is the second week in a row that total weekly cases have fallen. This week’s total is also the first time in five weeks that new cases have been less than 1,000. In other promising news, new cases were confined to three regions, Auckland, the Bay of Plenty and Canterbury; four new cases in Nelson-Marlborough will be announced tomorrow.

Māori Cases

There were 67 new Māori cases today. Māori have the highest daily cases for 63 of the last 64 days.

Today, Māori also became the highest hospitalised ethnicity. There have been 103 new Māori hospitalisations since 1 November an increase of 145.1%.

Māori now have the highest daily numbers, total cases, active cases, hospitalisations, and deaths. Since 1 November:

  • The total number of Māori Delta cases has increased from 34.9% to 45.3%.
  • Māori active cases have risen from 43.7% to 48.2% of all active cases.
  • Māori hospitalisations have increased from 27.3% to 36.6% of all hospitalisations.

Māori Vaccination

Ministry of Health vaccination numbers undercounts the vaccine eligible Māori population by 45,000. Based on that number:

  • 78.1% of Māori have received at least one dose of the vaccine compared to 90.3% of the national eligible population, a gap of 12.2%.
  • 66.5% of Māori are fully vaccinated compared to 84.9% of the national eligible population.

These gaps are driving Māori case numbers. On today’s figures, Māori are 7.9 times more likely to get infected, and 6.1 times more likely to be hospitalised.

Yesterday, the government announced that Māori vaccination had reached 90% in Auckland and the Capital & Coast DHBs. Again, adjusting for the population undercount, Auckland and Capital & Coast have reached 85.9% and 86.1% total single dose only Māori vaccination and 77.7% and 76.4% fully vaccinated Māori.

Māori vaccinations have increased by 53.5% in the last two months, a percentage increase that is higher than the total increase of all other ethnicities combined.

Projecting Numbers to Christmas

On the current 7-day trend of 126.4 new cases per day, there will be 12,300 cases by the end of December. On the current 7-day trend of 61.4 Māori cases per day, 5,700 of these will be tangata whenua.

This projection is indicative only. We can expect a further decrease in cases over the next nine days leading to the opening of the Auckland border on 15 December.

There is a high probability that the combination of the Auckland border opening on 15 December and the gap between overall and Māori vaccination will see Māori become 50% of all cases, active cases, and hospitalisations in the New Year.

Noho haumaru, stay safe.

Dr Rawiri Taonui