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Covid 19 Coronavirus: Where are the most vulnerable places in New Zealand?

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New Zealand’s vulnerability to Covid-19 is shown on a map showing remote communities as well as major cities, one of the most threatened locations.

To Research just published, Dr. Jesse Wiki and colleagues at the University of Canterbury have put together a variety of risk factors to get an unprecedented picture of our susceptibility.

A 2018 census and analysis using existing databases found that older people and people with poor health are generally more vulnerable.

However, other socio-economic and demographic factors were also important.

“Interestingly, many vulnerable areas were in small towns and communities, especially in Maori’s populous areas,” said the wiki.

“This is an important consideration given the lack of access to health care and the scarcity of resources in these areas.”

This study focused on three key factors: health, socio-cultural, and socio-economics, and investigated how each level of vulnerability changes.

These maps show people's vulnerability to Covid-19 in different parts of New Zealand, as determined by health, socio-cultural and socio-economic factors. Credits: Wiki et al
These maps show people’s vulnerability to Covid-19 in different parts of New Zealand, as determined by health, socio-cultural and socio-economic factors. Credits: Wiki et al

When used as a combined measure of health factors and the population aged 65 and over, vulnerability was generally higher in cities than in rural areas-perhaps because of higher demand for health care.

When “social and cultural” factors were important indicators, major cities in the North Island and regions such as East Cape emerged as the most vulnerable. This is mainly due to the high proportion of ethnic minorities.

“Being a bicultural country with an indigenous Maori population and a mixture of ethnic groups living both in and out of the center of the population defines what the vulnerable population is and where they live. Increases the complexity of the population, “the researchers wrote in a paper.

“This is important because these differences have previously been shown to affect New Zealand’s health inequalities and health outcomes.”

“Social and cultural” measures, coupled with older people, have made central and northern Auckland and western Christchurch one of the most vulnerable locations.

“This may be under the influence of Asian ethnic groups that have been shown to be highly populated in these areas, with a high load on this factor.”

Meanwhile, under “socioeconomic” factors, the rural areas of the North Island stood out along the east of South Auckland and Christchurch.

This can be explained by rising deprivation and smoking rates, a growing Maori population, and reduced awareness of services.

“By providing a spatial understanding of vulnerabilities, this study can guide health-focused policies in areas where intervention may be needed and mitigate potential inequality in government response. It can generate information, “said the wiki.

“It also supports the idea of ​​targeted safeguards and precautions that may be effective in the region, which is an important consideration in the overall policy response.”

Dr. Amanda Kvarsvig, an epidemiologist at the University of Otago, said the risk factors around Covid-19 are complex and can manifest themselves as a “syndemic” situation in which people suffer from multiple disadvantages and health problems at once. I said there is.

“It’s complicated. For example, one of the effects of colonization is that the Maori and Pacific populations generally have a shorter life expectancy than other ethnic groups.

“So there are a lot of people who are simply missing from the map, or who are relatively young and vulnerable.”

No analysis could capture all of that complexity, but she said the new research approach was a “major advance” in examining health factors one at a time and could help respond to the next pandemic. He said he had sex.

These maps show the vulnerability of three major cities in New Zealand to Covid-19 across three major risk factors. Credit / Wiki et al
These maps show the vulnerability of three major cities in New Zealand to Covid-19 across three major risk factors. Credit / Wiki et al

Associate Professor Colin Tuquitonga, Associate Professor of the Pacific Department of Health Sciences at the University of Auckland, said the new paper confirmed findings from a previous Covid-19 study.

He pointed out how this study identified old age as the most important risk factor. People living in ethnic minorities and socio-economically disadvantaged areas were also affected.

“The populous regions of Maori and the Pacific are one of the most vulnerable regions, such as South Auckland and Porirua.

“Identifying where these vulnerable areas are can enable better targeting of resources.”

The study follows a discussion of which groups should be vaccinated with the Covid-19 vaccine first, and the government prioritizes South Auckland citizens aged 65 and over in the second phase of the rollout.

Health Minister Ayesha Verrall said yesterday that one of the risks is if some parts of the country or certain ethnic communities are not vaccinated at high levels.

“Probably it can happen in that group. What we are currently working on is how to understand it so that we can have a high degree of understanding of the impact of reopening borders on public health. is.”

She said the government would need to say more about it later this week.

A related issue was whether vaccinated people could still carry and infect the virus, she said.

“There was a suggestion that vaccination could still make you a carrier. I think the evidence goes against it, but we need a decisive position in science.”

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins added that there are still questions about people under the age of 16.

“We do not have an approved vaccine for under 16 years of age, and it is clearly a significant part of our population.

“But we’ll know more later this year if Pfizer will be available in that group, or if one of the other vaccines we have access to is suitable for that group.

“I saw the comment [Tuesday], “It’s not rocket science.” Well, that’s not that simple, and if you don’t get the right people vaccinated with the right vaccine at the right time, simplification about it can potentially be very bad. “

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