According to the latest figures released by the government’s Special Indigenous Health Service (SESAI), at least 13 Xavante have killed people in the past five days, and another 50 cases have been confirmed in the same period.
At first, the community did not believe the virus would enter Xavante’s territory, Lucio Lucio Terowa’a, secretary of the Alliance of Indigenous Peoples and Organizations of Mato Grosso, told CNN. Local authorities have not drawn up an emergency plan to fight the virus or raise awareness of safeguards, he added. “That’s why we have this rapid pollution,” Terowa’a said.
About 22,000 natives live in the territories of Xavante, surrounded by soybean farms and livestock ranches. As of last Tuesday, 126 people of Xavante have been infected with Covid-19, and another 46 people are suspected, according to SESAI.
In Barra dos Garças, the municipality where the indigenous land of São Marcos lives, where Terowa’a and his family live, two-thirds of all hospitalizations last week were Xavante people. Terowa’a is worried the hospital will collapse in the coming weeks. “If (the virus) spreads further, it will not be able to offer treatment to everyone,” he said.
According to SESAI, 156 Indigenous people in Brazil have died since June 30, and 6,488 have been infected with the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.