I'm shooting in the dark here, I haven't done any research but if it's complaining about reading /var/lib/dpkg/status why don't you just try backing up the file and seeing if apt/dpkg recreate it in a manner they'll be happy with.
mv /var/lib/dpkg/status /var/lib/dpkg/status.bak
Run your apt-get or dpkg again and see what happens. If it works then great, if you get a different error then you can always put the file back. (If it won't let you mv the file try sudo mv.)