Gold Fever, COVID-19 and the Genocide of the Yanomami –
A year ago: As of June 22nd, there were at least 168 cases of COVID-19 in Yanomami communities; five deaths and three more suspected deaths from the virus. Now there are far more. Gold miners are vectors of the disease. The gold miners also bring violence; two Yanomami from the Xaruna community in Parima were murdered by gold miners last year. Now, beginning in May 2021, the situation has escalated and Yanomami communities are being attacked by gold miners with automatic weapons and gas bombs.
What I’ve been dreading since the first cases of COVID-19 were reported in Brazil on February 25th has happened. After testing positive for coronavirus, a 15 year old Yanomami boy died on April 10th in the hospital in Roraima, the Brazilian state where most of the Yanomami reserve is located. The teenager complained of chest pains, difficulty breathing, a sore throat and a fever. Reportedly, his community had to threaten the health team after his transportation request was denied in order to have him taken to the General Hospital of Roraima. When he arrived at the hospital, he was sent to the intensive care unit and intubated. The boy was from a community on the Uraricoera river which has long been plagued by gold miners.
As of December 31st, there are over 1600 confirmed cases of Covid-19 among the Yanomami and…
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