NEW YORK.- In New York, the worst seems to have found its end. After what has been weeks of pain and loss, the case and death rates from
they mark a sustained drop in the dreaded curve.
Its title as the epicenter of the pandemic in
in relation to the number of inhabitants has come to an end. Now, the Navajo Nation has become the most infected territory in the country
Navajo Nation is a United States Indian reservation that occupies part of the states of Arizona, Utah and New Mexico
. According to information revealed in the
national of 2010, a total of approximately 170 thousand people live in the territory that covers about 70 thousand square kilometers (an area equivalent to Belgium and Switzerland together).
Today more than
4 thousand individuals
Covid-19 positives have been tested, which means that, per 100 thousand inhabitants, it is the most affected area of the country by the respiratory virus
Despite having one of the most restrictive quarantines in the country, which includes the prohibition of exits except only for emergencies or for those who must fulfill essential jobs,
2,300 infected per 100,000 inhabitants have been registered
. The figure is over 1,800 cases per 100,000 New Yorkers.
With 140 deaths accumulated last weekend, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said the peak of the contagion curve in the territory seems to have been registered.
The president also stressed that one of the reasons for the high figures is the capacity for testing in the territory: 11 percent of the population has received the coronavirus test.
The Navajo Nation is one of the most vulnerable communities in the country.
40% of the population is below the poverty line, and many of the multigenerational homes are rudimentary buildings without access to running water, limiting an adequate sanitation process and increasing exposure to the virus
The vast territory encompasses the places most visited by tourists for its natural splendor. In the Navajo Nation there are some of the most sublime panoramas, the concentration of unique scenarios such as the Antelope Canyon, among other attractions that year after year attract thousands of people, and that today are closed to the public until further notice.
The distances are immense.
According to data from the last census, an average of two people live per square kilometer. But the truth is that families live grouped in mostly desolate areas
. Away from access to health care centers and businesses such as supermarkets, the life of these communities in times of coronavirus has increased what were already daily difficulties.
“We are citizens of the United States, but they don’t treat us that way,” said Nez.
. The President of the Navajo Nation remarked that the urbanization processes have been a long-standing promise of the federal government. A promise that never met its fulfillment.
“Once again we have been forgotten by our government,” stressed the president.
According to the Navajo Nation authorities, government aid does not come quickly enough to deal with the crisis. The government of
He provided in his economic relief package $ 8 billion for indigenous communities, but representatives of the Navajo Nation have remarked that the distribution of those funds has not been appropriate.
President Jonathan Nez announced that – along with ten other tribes in the country – they have filed legal actions against the United States government “for a fair distribution of national financing.”
In that context, Doreen McPaul, Attorney General of the Navajo Nation noted: “The Navajo Nation has been devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Our nation’s government urgently needs support for the medical and community needs of our people.” And he remarked: “We are literally fighting for dollars to save lives.”
The most vulnerable, the most beaten
In the last eight weeks, different parts of the country have fallen into closure and confinement measures to prevent the spread of the respiratory virus. Still, housing conditions and the need to fulfill essential work tasks have put the neediest communities at greater risk.
According to information revealed by the American Public Media Study Center (APM) Lab, the latest Covid-19 death rate nationwide indicates that deaths of African Americans and Latinos in the United States
doubles the death rate
of Caucasian citizens.
In this context, access to health care for members of the Navajo Nation can be an odyssey. With the huge distances, traveling to a clinic or health center can mean hours traveling, which has also contributed to the contagion and mortality rates having escalated so much.
Felicity Jones, a woman from the indigenous community, is one of five family members who have contracted and survived the virus. “I didn’t want to go to the hospital, I didn’t want to leave my children,” she said, as she burst into tears in a television interview with CNN. He did not want to seek medical attention because many of the people in his immediate circle were never able to return home alive.
Doctors Without Borders, an organization known for providing health services in areas of warfare, has now sent a task force to collaborate in the fight against the coronavirus from the Navajo Nation. The group is scheduled to stay in the territory until the end of June, although they will look at trends in the infection and mortality curve to find out what will happen after that.