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 Is the Navajo Nation at a Severe Disadvantage During the Pandemic?

 Is the Navajo Nation at a Severe Disadvantage During the Pandemic?
April 25
06:53 2020

 Is the Navajo Nation at a Severe Disadvantage During the Pandemic?

National Public Radio (NPR) is reporting that other than New York and New Jersey, the highest COVID-19 infection rate in America is on the Navajo Nation. According to the report, Dr. Deborah Birx, who is often seen during the daily White House Coronavirus Press briefings, says the Nation is using strike teams to attack the issue.

But while strike teams are effective in most areas, on the Navajo Nation they are dealing with a vast area, mostly rural, that involves three states; Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. Therefore, contact tracing, or tracking people who have Covid-19 patients may have infected, is made so much more difficult.

Currently, there are about eighty contact tracers at work on the Nation. But their work is made much herder because of things such as people not owning phones, and it takes a lot of time to reach such families by motor vehicle.

NPR spoke with the Navajo Nation’s Epidemiology Chief on the Covid-19 strike force, Shawnell Damon, who spoke of the difficulties that are unique to the Nation.

Another issue is that many do not have clean running water, in which to wash their hands regularly. Electricity is also, at time, in short supply in the far reaches of the Navajo Nation.

In the NPR article, Navajo President Jonathan Nez spoke up about what he feels are shortcomings in how his people are treated, compared to everyone else in the country.

“We are United States citizens but we’re not treated like that,” said President Nez. “You can hear the frustration, the tone of my voice. We once again have been forgotten by our own government.”

More than 150 years ago, the Navajos, and many other tribes, signed treaties with the federal government giving up their land in exchange for funding of things like housing, infrastructure and health care. But apparently, for decades, that hasn’t happened.

 

 Is the Navajo Nation at a Severe Disadvantage During the Pandemic? - overview

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