COVID-19 Daily News Digest – December 8, 2020
Mask project centres Asian and Indigenous pandemic experience
“It was about finding our commonalities so that we could support each other and raise our voice louder together, instead of just being silenced by the world,” said Tania Larsson, the NDNxAZN project creator.
Larsson, a Gwich’in artist, saw her friend from Texas post on her Instagram page that the number of anti-Asian hate crimes outnumbered deaths from COVID-19.
“We’re seeing these attacks — violent attacks — happening against Asian people because of the xenophobic sentiment and commentary [of] political figures,” said Larsson.
Larsson reached out in solidarity — she understood that for Asian and Indigenous communities, the dangers of the pandemic stretched beyond respiratory illness.
Northern Manitoba passes 1,200 COVID-19 cases since pandemic began, reports 10th and 11th deaths
Churchill-Kewewatinoook Aski NDP MP Niki Ashton made a statement in Parliament Dec. 4 regarding the situation in Shamattawa, which is within the riding she represents, and condemning statements made last week by Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, who said that the federal government reserving some of the province’s COVID-19 vaccine allocation for First Nations would “put Manitobans at the back of the line” by providing the province with the fewest doses for non-Indigenous residents.
“He refuses to acknowledge that First Nations in Manitoba are Manitobans.” said Ashton. “He’s refused to commit to providing the vaccines they need and deserve.”
Deputy PM Freeland willing to get COVID-19 vaccine publicly when time comes
“If we were to find ourselves in a situation in Canada where it was reassuring for people, for public figures, for political leaders to be vaccinated, I would of course be very, very happy to be vaccinated if it helped,” said Freeland in an interview on CTV’s The Social on Monday. She added that she’ll be heeding public health advice and waiting her turn like most Canadians.
COVID-19 situation improving on area First Nations
As of Sunday there is a total of 334 cases in the entire North West zone. This includes 87 cases in North West 4 (including The Battlefords) and 98 in North West 3 which includes the vicinity to the southwest and northeast of the Battlefords.
Province outlines COVID-19 vaccine rollout
THUNDER BAY – Vulnerable people, health care workers, and First Nations communities could see COVID-19 vaccinations in the coming weeks, but general immunization in Ontario is still ‘very far away’ says Premier Doug Ford.
“Our top priority remains getting the vaccine out to those who need it the most as quickly as possible,” Ford said on Monday.
“The first shipments of a very small number of doses could arrive as early as next week. But we are still very far and I repeat very far from having the vaccines we need for mass immunizations.”
Ottawa pledges to make Indigenous people a priority for vaccine
The minister was responding to comments from Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, as cases and deaths mount in the province during the pandemic. During a media conference last week, the minister acknowledged the disproportionate number of Indigenous people in ICU and in hospital, during the second wave in Winnipeg.
There have only been three people hospitalized at the district hospital in Kenora, due to COVID-19. During a media briefing Friday, the Northwestern Health Unit said they hadn’t seen a disproportionate number of cases among Indigenous people in their catchment area.
To ward off pandemic, India’s indigenous tribes find remedies in forests
As India continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, health experts and environmentalists say the climate-resilient, nature-based lifestyles of many indigenous communities are helping protect them from the virus and its economic impact.
The same practices that keep the villagers’ climate-heating emissions low and provide them with food also prevent them from catching and spreading the virus, said Y. Giri Rao, executive director of Vasundhara, an Odisha-based conservation nonprofit.
Preserving forests, protecting wildlife and managing natural resources wisely help keep indigenous people healthy, he said
Five things to know about the rollout of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in Canada
The National Advisory Committee on Immunizations last week recommended priority be given to residents and workers in long-term care homes, front-line health workers, people over the age of 80 and adults living in Indigenous communities.
But, remote locations, including northern Indigenous reserves, won’t be getting the Pfizer vaccine for now because of the need to keep it so cold before it is ready for use.
Stay-at-Home Lockdown Extended on Navajo Nation as Covid-19 Cases Surpass 18,000
“Our health care providers are pleading with everyone to stay home, wear a mask, practice social distancing, avoid gatherings, and to wash your hands often,” Navajo Nation Jonathan Nez said.
On Monday, the Navajo Department of Health, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service, reported 213 new COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and 15 more deaths. The total number of deaths is now 682 as of Monday. Reports indicate that 10,045 individuals have recovered from COVID-19, and 172,712 COVID-19 tests have been administered. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases is now 18,163, including 35 delayed reported cases.
Ontario could receive first batch of COVID-19 vaccine doses ‘next week’: Ford
Residents, staff, essential caregivers and employees at long-term care and retirement homes, as well as health care workers and adults in Indigenous communities will be the first to receive the shot.
General Rick Hillier, chair of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution task force, said the vaccine rollout would come in three phases.
Phase one would address the most vulnerable members of the population. Phase two would be a voluntary wave of vaccinations among citizens, and phase three would see a rollout similar to the flu vaccine, with widespread availability in places like pharmacies.
Data gap persists for COVID-19’s impact on Indigenous people
Beyond reserves, the picture is less clear. No one is tracking cases among the tens of thousands of Saskatchewan First Nations people who live off reserve, nor the nearly 58,000 people who self-identified as Métis in the 2016 federal census.
“When I say we have an imperfect picture of Indigenous infection across Canada, that’s reality, and it’s a reality that we struggle with because it’s very hard to tailor those options in order to keep people safe,” Minister for Indigenous Services Marc Miller said on Nov. 20.
NDP demands national action plan to end violence against Indigenous women and girls
NDP MP Leah Gazan demands to know when the Liberal government will release its national action plan on the recommendations of the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, which the Liberal government said earlier this year was delayed to the COVID-19 pandemic. Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett says the fall economic statement pledged $781.5 million to back up the plan.
North Cariboo Métis Association seeks to empower women impacted by violence
“We were going to do some community-based events that were going to target Indigenous women and empower women affected by violence, but we’re changing that up a bit because of COVID-19,” president Tony Goulet said.
Funded by $10,000 through the Minister’s Advisory Council on Indigenous Women’s (MACIW) Giving Voice Initiative, Goulet anticipates launching the project in January with online courses promoting wellness and healing through Métis cultural practices.
Initially, he had hoped for RAW to be similarly held as their family cultural camps each summer and winter. “It’s only a stepping stone,” Goulet said. “It’s only a start.”
Very limited’ quantity of Pfizer vaccine could arrive in Manitoba next week
The first doses of the first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved in Canada could be injected into the arms of Manitobans as early as next week, but some priority groups, such as remote northern First Nations, might have to wait longer.
The Pfizer vaccine must be stored at an extremely low temperature of -80 C, which poses logistical challenges for distributing the vaccine to remote areas.
“We have been working closely with the First Nations and territories and they have indicated their preference for a product that will be easier to handle,” Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), said in French at a news conference on Monday. PHAC is coordinating the vaccine rollout nationally.
Perry Bellegarde won’t seek re-election as head of Assembly of First Nations
National Chief Perry Bellegarde of the Assembly of First Nations said he won’t seek re-election as the head of the organization next summer, saying he has spent his six years in the role helping bring Indigenous issues to the forefront of Canadian public life.
“Issues and concerns that we used to talk about only among ourselves, around the kitchen table, are now out there in the media every day, at the centre of public debate,” Bellegarde said in a series of tweets Monday.