Indigenous people in the Brazilian Amazon are dying at twice the officially recorded rate from COVID-19, according to an independent study that also found a higher rate of infections than that reported by the government. The data, from an independent survey by the Coordination of Indigenous Organizations in the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB), show a 103% higher number of fatalities than reported by the Ministry of Health’s Special Secretariat for Indigenous Health (Sesai). They also show a 14% higher number of infections, covering the period Feb. 23 to Oct. 3, 2020. The study, conducted in partnership with other institutions such as the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM) and the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), was published April in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry. According to study co-author Valéria Paye from COIAB, this underreporting is intentional. “It’s an attempt to deny Indigenous identity itself as a result of structural prejudice. And that ends up being used to deny their right of access to vaccines and health care.” She says the reason for the gap between the official data and what the survey found — 330 deaths compared to 670, and 22,127 confirmed infections versus 25,356 — is that the Ministry of Health doesn’t record cases of Indigenous people living outside official Indigenous territories. Effectively, Brazil’s public health authority has effaced the Indigenous people who live in cities, who accounted for about 36% of the country’s entire Indigenous population in 2010, according to the latest available census data. Such a policy also ends up…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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