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 infe...

Posted: May 18, 2020 5:01 PM
Updated: May 18, 2020 5:01 PM

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 strictest 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.

Other 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.

Spike in cases

Nez said there has been a huge spike in cases among the population, resulting in 140 deaths for the entire nation as of this weekend.

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.

Multiple reasons for increased spread

Another reason for the large number of cases is that multiple generations live in one home, Nez said.

"When one person gets Covid, goes home, they turn to infect the rest of the family," Nez said.

Additionally, 30% to 40% of residents do not have running water, Nez said. That prevents everyone from being able to wash their hands as often as recommended.

Another challenge: the nation is a "food desert," which means that more people are at the few grocery stores, convenience stores and gas stations to purchase food, Nez said.

"When we run out of food or supplies we have to go to the stores and there is a lot of people there and I believe...the spread is happening there as well as at home," Nez said.

In a Saturday press release, Nez urged residents to continue to stay in lockdown as much as possible and maintain good hygiene practices.

"With every passing day, we are a day closer to beating COVID-19. Whether we realize it or not we are winning the war on this virus," Nez said in the press release. "We have to stay the course when it comes to staying home as much as possible, wearing masks in public, washing our hands often, and taking every precaution to ensure our health and safety especially for our elders and children."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 154878

Reported Deaths: 2206
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah31824528
Washington21099212
Marion18373285
Clackamas13328175
Lane10200126
Jackson8315111
Umatilla763982
Deschutes593459
Yamhill376764
Linn357756
Malheur334458
Polk303942
Klamath278455
Douglas244754
Josephine232849
Benton232516
Jefferson195128
Coos144019
Union128119
Columbia124821
Wasco122026
Lincoln112820
Hood River106429
Morrow104614
Clatsop7756
Crook77518
Baker6507
Curry4246
Tillamook4142
Lake3746
Harney2736
Grant2221
Wallowa1424
Gilliam531
Sherman530
Wheeler221
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3559311

Reported Deaths: 51794
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles118923221241
Riverside2894503767
San Bernardino2860772783
Orange2607213982
San Diego2589823260
Santa Clara1102371777
Kern102627811
Fresno950151422
Sacramento929611464
Alameda802791241
Ventura77395834
San Joaquin665691082
Contra Costa62164674
Stanislaus55887946
Tulare47784746
Monterey42138327
San Mateo38872515
San Francisco34138398
Santa Barbara31763407
Solano30024164
Merced28915395
Sonoma28004298
Imperial26855589
Kings21951218
Placer19763232
San Luis Obispo19612227
Madera15414209
Santa Cruz14588183
Marin13136197
Yolo12787185
Shasta10969174
Butte10922160
El Dorado9095100
Napa899869
Sutter884597
San Benito575259
Yuba573336
Lassen560119
Tehama508152
Tuolumne394659
Nevada394074
Mendocino379643
Amador344841
Humboldt318033
Lake314140
Glenn221923
Colusa212813
Calaveras190547
Siskiyou174014
Inyo128736
Mono12114
Del Norte9875
Plumas6536
Modoc4524
Mariposa3957
Trinity3675
Sierra990
Alpine810
Unassigned00
Medford
Cloudy
40° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 36°
Brookings
Mostly Cloudy
40° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 40°
Medford
Cloudy
40° wxIcon
Hi: 26° Lo: 13°
Feels Like: 36°
Medford
Cloudy
40° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 36°
Klamath Falls
Mostly Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 28°
Drying out and warming up
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events