Rachel Chimits on Navajo Nation’s Coronavirus Infection Rate Was Higher Than New York State

Relief worker Kim Smith (R) helps another volunteer load supplies into a pickup truck at a farm, used as a base for aid to Navajo families quarantined in their homes due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Hogback, Shiprock, New Mexico, U.S., April 7, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Hay

The Navajo Nation is home of the largest Native American tribe, covering 27,000 square miles in Arizona, New, Mexico, and Utah with over 250,000 Navajos living both inside and outside this territory.

On May 18, Navajo Nation had the highest COVID-19 infection rate per capita in the U.S., surpassing New York state. The nation banded together to flatten the curve and save as many people as possible with the support of several nonprofits and outside teams like World Challenge’s partners.

Although much of the Navajo Nation is very rural, locals are not used to isolation. Small homesteads often don’t have power lines running to them or water piped inside their house; they meet at common spots to get water or depend on family members. This communal way of living becomes much harder while social distancing.

One of World Challenge’s partners in the area began reaching out to help individuals get access to food and water while still keeping themselves and their loved ones safe during the pandemic.

The organization Someone Cares worked together with the Navajo Nation Christian Response Team to make sure that food, hygiene supplies and other essentials were distributed through Navajo pastors and churches to meet the needs in their congregations and communities. NNCRT operates distribution centers where care packages with food and other supplies are assembled and from which they are delivered, both by air and over land.

“NNCRT exists to come alongside people who are feeling hopeless, feeling abandoned, feeling like they have no peace and no hope for the future,” Ty Platero, Incident Commander with NNCRT, reported at the height of lockdown. “We hear stories about families who haven’t eaten in days because of the pandemic.”

World Challenge’s partners donated 1,680 N95 masks through NNCRT to help healthcare professionals who were treating COVID-19 at local hospitals. They also delivered six pallets of fortified rice casseroles and $2,000 worth of paper products. In addition, the team also gave funding for hard-to-obtain items like canned meats, fruits and vegetables for more remote communities.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Rachel Chimits