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Nowhere Is Remote Anymore


The coronavirus virus outbreak in the Navajo Nation is showing that nowhere is as remote as it might have once seemed. And the reservation is not prepared. My nation is held together by a culture of togetherness — but that tradition of gathering also makes the spread of the virus worse.

On March 20, the Navajo Nation issued a stay-at-home order after 14 cases of the coronavirus were confirmed. An 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew has been set. There are 1,197 confirmed cases as of April 18 and 44 deaths. Most are being treated in border town hospitals.

The sweeping effects of the coronavirus on the Navajo Nation expose underlying vulnerabilities that already face my people. The lack of running water, electricity, grocery stores, infrastructure and low numbers of emergency and medical personnel are ongoing issues. According to research conducted by students and faculty at the University of Arizona, 35 percent of the 357,000 residents of the nation do not have running water in their homes.

According to the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, which provides electricity, water, gas and communication services to the Navajo Nation, about 15,000 residents do not have electricity.


Read entire article at The New York Times