While states across the country are starting to take steps to reopen, some communities are still extremely vulnerable. In particular, the Navajo Nation is currently dealing with the highest COVID-19 infection rate in the United States.
The Navajo Nation is the largest reservation in the U.S., with 173,000 people spread across Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. As of May 18, more than 4,000 people have tested positive for the virus, and 142 people have died. This means that the virus has penetrated 2.3% of the population, compared to New York’s 1.8% penetration rate, according to CNN.
As we know, racial and ethnic minority groups are being hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak. But in the case of Navajo Nation, there are multiple reasons for the alarming number of cases:
- There are high rates of pre-existing conditions such as heart disease
- 30% of residents do not have running water, making hand washing virtually impossible
- Many families live in multigenerational homes, which means it's hard to social distance
- There are only a handful of grocery stores for residents to frequent
To prevent the situation from getting any worse, the Navajo Nation is on lockdown. Doctors Without Borders has sent a medical professionals to help.
And where's the federal government in this? Too slow to help, according to the reservation's president.
The 1MMASKS team is now hard at working getting PPE including KN95 masks, surgical masks, shields, gloves and sanitizer – to dozens of Native American tribes across the country. In partnership with Shift7, we have successfully delivered 30,000+ masks to Western Navajo, Oneida, Minonimee, Hopi, and Apache.