Despite recently surpassing New York to have the highest COVID-19 infection rate in the country, Navajo Nation president Jonathan Nez said on Memorial Day that “the curve is flattening on the Navajo Nation.”
As of Monday, the Navajo Nation had 4,794 cases of COVID-19 and the number of deaths associated with the disease reached 157. Nearly 1,500 people have recovered from the virus, according to updated numbers from the Navajo Department of Health.
The infection rate in Kayenta outpaces even the worst-hit ZIP codes in New York City, although New York ZIP codes have far more COVID-19 deaths.
According to Nez, “The curve is flattening on the Navajo Nation, even as we test aggressively.”
“The Navajo Nation continues to test at a higher rate per capita than any state in the country,” he said in a statement Monday, adding that 14.6% of citizens have been tested so far. Meanwhile, 2.3% of the population in Arizona has been tested, according to the National Association of County and City Health Officials.
“Testing, contact tracing, and the public health orders that were implemented months ago requiring protective masks in public and weekend lockdowns are working and flattening the curve,” Nez said in the statement.
“The numbers are high, but it’s great to see that overall the rate of new cases is flattening, so let’s keep up the good practices and continue to pray for everyone,” Vice President Myron Lizer said in the statement.
Franklin Graham spends Memorial Day on Navajo Nation
Nez spent time on Memorial Day with Franklin Graham, son of the late Rev. Billy Graham and president of both the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse.
Graham visited the Navajo Nation on Monday and discussed a coronavirus response plan, according to tweet from Graham.
“We are here to visit and just talk with their leadership because the locals here have just been decimated by coronavirus,” Franklin’s son Edward Graham said in a video on Twitter.
Graham, Nez and Lizer discussed a plan to place a Samaritan’s Purse field hospital on the Navajo Nation to help in the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
Samaritan’s Purse is an nondenominational evangelical Christian organization that provides medical aid to those in need around the world, according to their mission statement.
Written by: Tina Giuliano