Friday, July 31, 2020

With Navajo Nation hit hard by Covid-19, this CNN Hero's mission to help vulnerable elders has a new urgency

Before Covid-19 hit, elders living on the Navajo Nation were already among the most vulnerable. As the virus spread, their situation became even more dire. On the Navajo Nation, spanning more than 27,000 square miles across parts of Arizona, Utah and New Mexico, an estimated 30% of residents don't have access to running water, making early hand washing guidance impossible to adhere to. Many other factors put them at greater risk: a lack of resources, information and access to masks and medical care on top of poor infrastructure and insufficient housing conditions. At one point, the Navajo Nation experienced Covid-19 infection rates that were among the highest per capita in the United States. While the number of new cases has been trending downward, Navajo elders are still dying at alarming rates. "There are many, many elderly people on the reservation that are homebound and alone," said CNN Hero Linda Myers, whose non-profit provides lifesaving supplies for Native American elders. "Some of our elders live 60 miles from a grocery store. Many of them are traditional and don't have running water or electricity." To date, the Navajo Nation has reported nearly 9,000 positive cases of Covid-19 and 453 deaths. More than 60% of the deceased were age 60 and older...MORE

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