Yanomami Tribe vulnerable to new pandemic

Images adapted from: Survival International and Reuters

Social distancing is currently one of the most effective ways to keep ourselves safe from the virus. But for those already isolated from the rest of the world, the outbreak is something they cannot fully prepare for.

On Wednesday, 8th April, the first case of COVID-19 reached one of the Amazon’s largest, isolated tribes – the Yanomami Indians.

Doctors fear the virus can spread to tribes

Image credit: Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

In Roraima, a 15-year-old Yanomami tested positive for the virus after he returned home from school last month due to suspended classes. It hasn’t been reported where the boy had returned from.

He is currently treated at a hospital in Boa Vista, but public health officials worry that the virus could be devastating to the tribe if it manages to spread. There is also a chance it could spread to other indigenous communities.

Not the first epidemic the tribe has faced

Image credit: Washington Post

Throughout history, the Yanomami faced influenza and measles – just to name a couple diseased brought from the outside world.

However, the Yanomami are only one of many Amazon tribes reported to have confirmed cases. Due to these communities’ isolation, these diseases have a larger impact on them since they don’t have the same immunity resistance as us.

Always stay prepared

Some tribes, aside from the Yanomami, are planning to separate into smaller groups and hide in the forests to wait out the pandemic like in the past. Officials are hoping for the tribes to adapt to safety measures such as social distancing within themselves. 

No matter where you are in the world, you must always look for warning signs and always be prepared for dramatic changes.

Until then, we hope the tribe gets as much help as they can from outside their communities.

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