Speed Reads

the coronavirus crisis

Navajo Nation trails only New York, Louisiana in coronavirus tests per capita

The novel COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has exposed many underlying issues faced by the Navajo Nation, which has seen 1,197 residents test positive for the virus, including 44 who died, NBC News reports.

Residents have spoken about the difficulty in following guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, such as washing your hands, since some families have limited access to running water. Health-care systems are also underfunded, and underlying conditions are common among the population, which stretches parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. With all that in mind, the fact that people on the Navajo Nation are testing positive at a rate more than nine times higher than the entire state of Arizona sounds alarming.

It certainly is, but The Salt Lake Tribune put a slightly different spin on the figures, noting that the testing rate is actually far higher than in most states. Indeed, if the Navajo Nation were a state, it would trail only New York and Louisiana in tests-per-capita, suggesting it's ahead of the game. It also means the data is likely more accurate, which can lead to a "better understanding of results" so people "can better prepare" and acquire the necessary resources.

Additionally, the Navajo Nation took a proactive approach to the pandemic, declaring a state of emergency on March 11. "[Native American Tribes] are taking the science more seriously," said Jacqueline Keeler, the editor-in-chief of Pollen Nation Magazine. Read more at NBC News and The Salt Lake Tribune.