Mon. Jun 1st, 2020

Navajo Nation Surpasses New York State For the Highest Covid-19 Infection Rate in the US

The Navajo Nation  has surpassed New York and New Jersey for the highest per-capita coronavirus infection rate in the US — another sign of Covid-19’s disproportionate impact on minority communities.

The Navajo Nation, which spans parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, reported a population of 173,667 on the 2010 census. As a result, with 4,002 cases, the Native American territory has 2,304.41 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people.

By contrast, New York state now has a rate of 1,806 cases per 100,000 and New Jersey is at 1,668 cases per 100,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez told CNN’s Sara Sidner of its rate on the “Situation Room” Sunday night.

The nation has one of the most strict stay-at-home orders in the country, mandating that residents not leave their homes unless there is an emergency or they are essential workers.

Even those who leave home for work must have documentation on company letterhead with a verifiable contact number for a manager in order to go.

For the last few months the nation has been on weekend lockdowns to prevent members from being out and risking infection but case numbers have continued to rise.

Many minority groups also have been hard hit by the coronavirus.
Of the 39 states and the District of Columbia reporting the race and ethnicity of residents who have died of Covid-19, African Americans make up about 13% of the population in those places but 27% of Covid-19 deaths, according to an analysis from the American Public Media (APM) Research Lab.In California, Latinos make 53% of the state’s cases, despite making up the 39% of the state’s population, according to California Department of Public Health data.

A press release from the Navajo Nation issued Saturday said that experts projected cases would peak in their population in mid-May.

Part of the reason for the spike is increased testing capacity, Nez said. More than 23,791 members, or 11% of the population of the Navajo Nation, has been tested for the virus.

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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett

Photographs are Courtesy:   AP

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