Health and Medicine

‘We’re vulnerable’: On the Navajo Nation, a rush to curb the coronavirus

This is what real poverty looks like, folks. No electricity, no plumbing, no Internet, no television, no healthcare. The same kinds of conditions you find in rural South Asian, sub-Saharan African, Latin American, Middle Eastern, and South Pacific regions.

By Kurtis Lee

Los Angeles Times

Road closures, mask mandates and weekend curfews have not stopped a troubling upward trajectory of coronavirus-related deaths on the Navajo Nation, a high desert landscape with underfunded hospitals and overburdened doctors stretching across three states.

As more states begin to ease stay-at-home orders, a desperate attempt to halt coronavirus cases is underway on the country’s largest reservation, which spans Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. But such efforts have proved difficult, because of the remoteness of the reservation and the lack of electricity and running water in some homes.

“We’re getting the message out through radio … from word of mouth, door-to-door. There shouldn’t be anyone who says they don’t know what’s going on with COVID-19,” Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said during a virtual town hall this week. “It’s up us to translate to our grandma and grandpa; it’s our obligation to keep our citizens safe.”


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