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Week 7/12/21

PUBLISHED: July 17, 2021

In an effort to better acquaint you, the reader, with the VQR staff, members of our team will share excerpts from our personal reading—The Best 200 Words I Read All Week. From fact to fiction, from comedic to tragic, we hope you find as much to admire in these selections as we do. 


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Indigenous populations around the world are more likely to be infected by or die of Covid-19. In countries like Canada and Brazil and in the US, Indigenous people are dying at disparate rates to the general population. However there is one notable exception; Indigenous Australians (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders). Despite having a life expectancy around 8 years less than non-Indigenous populations and overall worse health outcomes, Indigenous Australians were six times less likely to contract Covid-19. Zero deaths and just 148 cases of coronavirus were reported for 800,000 Indigenous people across the country.

How did they achieve such a remarkable result? In contrast to previous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders health policies and interventions, the Australian government worked collaboratively with Indigenous communities. They provided flexible grant funding in March 2020 to 110 remote communities, allowing local Indigenous controlled health agencies to run a culturally aware response. As the scale of the pandemic became apparent, the government funding increased with $6.9 million invested in the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and $123 million available over two financial years for targeted measures to support Indigenous businesses and communities to increase their responses to COVID-19.

Business Manager Diane John
“Protecting Indigenous Populations from Covid-19: The Australian Example,” by William A. Haseltine, in Forbes



The morning turns transparent, then

suddenly alive, the way a dream lifts

in stages from a body. Down in the orchard

mist glows like glass. These are my fields,

but still–I’m in the far country.

The trees are full of staring crows.

After we die, our lives take up no space at all.

The same is true of love. The black structures

of the cattle have been carried away in trucks.

What troubles the grass now is just wind.

Reader Rob Shapiro
“Troubles,” from The Dream of Reason by Jenny George


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