COVID-19: Māori bearing brunt of outbreak with warning 7000 could be infected by Christmas

Māori are bearing the brunt of the Delta outbreak, with one doctor saying they've been left out of the team of five million.

Of the 222 new cases on Tuesday, more than half are Māori. And with Māori vaccination rates so low, there are fears that number will rise.

"Based on the most recent numbers today [Tuesday], the modelling would tell us that if cases continue at this rate, we could be looking at 6800 cases by Christmas," Dr Rariwi Taonui tells Newshub.

Testing has ramped up in west Auckland as Māori make up a large portion of the current COVID cases.

"We've done about 4500 every week," Aubama Wijesunbara from the Henderson testing site says. 

"That's how many tests we are processing. Every day we are processing about 6-700 tests per day."

During a COVID vaccination briefing, Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield confirmed Māori are bearing the brunt of this outbreak.

"Of course we want to do our best to prevent that," Dr Bloomfield said.

"In fact, anyone but obviously particularly Māori, and hence the ongoing efforts to vaccinate."

The Government is being urged to wait for vaccination rates among Māori to ramp up before moving to the traffic light system. 

Currently, 77 percent of Māori have had at least one dose of the Pfizer vaccine, with 61 percent fully vaccinated.

"The Prime Minister used to talk of us being a team of five million but she doesn't mention that anymore and that's because Māori people are not part of that equation," Dr Taonui says.  

The COVID-19 Response Minister says Māori aren't being left behind. 

"We know that in some areas we've got a real challenge on our hands, so in Northland, Tairawhiti, we've got to do better there," Chris Hipkins says. 

But in the race between Māori COVID cases and vaccine rates, COVID is so far winning.

Watch the full story above.