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Coronavirus devastates indigenous tribes in the Brazilian Amazon

The coronavirus is ravaging indigenous communities in the Brazilian Amazon. (Pictured here is a Laranjal tribal camp along the Iriri river in the Arara indigenous land.)
The coronavirus is ravaging indigenous communities in the Brazilian Amazon. (Pictured here is a Laranjal tribal camp along the Iriri river in the Arara indigenous land.)
(Image: © MAURO PIMENTEL/AFP via Getty Images)

The coronavirus is ravaging indigenous tribes living in the Amazon rainforest as it sweeps across Brazil.

Brazil has the second-largest outbreak in the world and has reported nearly 1 million cases of COVID-19 and more than 47,700 related deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins virus dashboard. But while the mortality rate is about 6.4% among the Brazilian population, that number rises to 12.6% among indigenous populations, according to CNN.

By the end of May, there were more than 980 coronavirus cases and 125 COVID-19 related deaths in Brazil's indigenous populations, according to numbers from the advocacy group Articulation of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil, CNN reported.

Related: 13 coronavirus myths busted by science

One tribe, the Arara people of the Cachoeira Seca territory, have been particularly hard-hit, with 46% of its 121 people living in the reserve infected, according to Survival International, an organization that advocates for and defends indigenous rights.

"We're very worried," an Arara man told Survival International. At the health post that's near their village, "there is no medicine, no ventilator." The village itself is located three days away from the city and the nearest hospital, he said.

The Arara tribe was first contacted in 1987, relatively recently in societal history, which makes them particularly vulnerable to outside diseases, according to Survival International. "We're asking for protection with these coronavirus cases," the Arara man told Survival international. 

From January 2019 to March 2020, the Amazonian land where the Arara and other indigenous groups live has lost more than 8,000 hectares of forest because of illegal invaders and loggers, and is "one of the most deforested areas in the entire biome," according to a statement from the Federal Public Ministry in the Brazilian state of Pará posted on May 7.

These indigenous groups, made up of roughly 900,000 people, have lived in the rainforest for thousands of years. But Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro has said that indigenous people's lands and cultural rights should be taken away, and they should be integrated into society, according to a previous BBC report.

Originally published on Live Science.

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  • making a logical decision
    No doubt why the odious President Bolsanaro has denied the reality of this virus for so long. Let the virus kill off enough Amazon tribespeople and then his rich and powerful business friends can rape the last vestiges of the Rainforest.
    Reply
  • MM70RJ
    admin said:
    Dozens of indigenous communities are fighting the virus brought in by the outside world.

    Coronavirus devastates indigenous tribes in the Brazilian Amazon : Read more
    MY father is not indigeneus... he is fighting COVID... a virus that was brought from the outside world to him too...
    Less hypocrisies!
    Everybody in this blue planet is f%$^ed!
    Nobody is better or worst than anyone...
    time to finish with this pitiful bullshit!
    Reply
  • MM70RJ
    making a logical decision said:
    No doubt why the odious President Bolsanaro has denied the reality of this virus for so long. Let the virus kill off enough Amazon tribespeople and then his rich and powerful business friends can rape the last vestiges of the Rainforest.
    Bozonario is just despicable! fact!
    But where are you from?
    How much of the original forest in your country is preserved?
    How much effort has been done to revamp the original forest?
    How much noise have you been done in your f&^*%ing country / region for the original forest to be rebuilt?
    Less hypocrisy! More action!
    Time to finish with this pitiful bullshit!
    Reply
  • Rachel Sagar
    MM70RJ said:
    MY father is not indigeneus... he is fighting COVID... a virus that was brought from the outside world to him too...
    Less hypocrisies!
    Everybody in this blue planet is f%$^ed!
    Nobody is better or worst than anyone...
    time to finish with this pitiful bullshit!
    No one said anyone is better or worse than anyone else. There is concern for indigenous tribes in the Amazon because there are so few left and once they are gone we lose all the knowledge they have about the medicinal plants in the rainforest. Also, their existence helps to protect the rainforest from those who would destroy it for logging and cattle-raising. Sorry about your father.
    Reply
  • MM70RJ
    Rachel Sagar said:
    No one said anyone is better or worse than anyone else. There is concern for indigenous tribes in the Amazon because there are so few left and once they are gone we lose all the knowledge they have about the medicinal plants in the rainforest. Also, their existence helps to protect the rainforest from those who would destroy it for logging and cattle-raising. Sorry about your father.
    There is a concern about every single human being in this planet... victimizing indigenous people because they are suffering from a disease that "came from outside" is stupidity...
    All human race is suffering...
    Indigenous people... caucasians... africans... Jews... asians... Everybody!
    Reply
  • JoeF
    I dont know, call me literal-minded, plenty of infections sure but it seems to me there are many fewer old people among indigenous tribes therefore their death rate should be a lot lower. Something wrong here. See this issue in my paper Threescore and ten about low expected death rates in Africa,
    Reply