Navajo Nation surpasses New York state for the highest Covid-19 infection rate in the US

The Navajo Nation has surpassed New York and New Jersey for the highest per-capita coronavirus infection rate in the US -- another sign of Covid-19's disproportionate impact on minority communities.

Posted: May 19, 2020 2:11 PM
Updated: May 19, 2020 2:11 PM

The Navajo Nation has surpassed New York and New Jersey for the highest per-capita coronavirus infection rate in the US -- another sign of Covid-19's disproportionate impact on minority communities.

The Navajo Nation, which spans parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, reported a population of 173,667 on the 2010 census. As a result, with 4,002 cases, the Native American territory has 2,304.41 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people.

By contrast, New York state now has a rate of 1,806 cases per 100,000 and New Jersey is at 1,668 cases per 100,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez told CNN's Sara Sidner of its rate on the "Situation Room" Sunday night.

The nation has one of the strictest stay-at-home orders in the country, mandating that residents not leave their homes unless there is an emergency or they are essential workers.

Even those who leave home for work must have documentation on company letterhead with a verifiable contact number for a manager in order to go.

For the last few months the nation has been on weekend lockdowns to prevent members from being out and risking infection but case numbers have continued to rise.

Other minority groups also have been hard hit by the coronavirus.

Of the 39 states and the District of Columbia reporting the race and ethnicity of residents who have died of Covid-19, African Americans make up about 13% of the population in those places but 27% of Covid-19 deaths, according to an analysis from the American Public Media (APM) Research Lab.

In California, Latinos make 53% of the state's cases, despite making up the 39% of the state's population, according to California Department of Public Health data.

Spike in cases

Nez said there has been a huge spike in cases among the population, resulting in 140 deaths for the entire nation as of this weekend.

A press release from the Navajo Nation issued Saturday said that experts projected cases would peak in their population in mid-May.

Part of the reason for the spike is increased testing capacity, Nez said. More than 23,791 members, or 11% of the population of the Navajo Nation, has been tested for the virus.

Multiple reasons for increased spread

Another reason for the large number of cases is that multiple generations live in one home, Nez said.

"When one person gets Covid, goes home, they turn to infect the rest of the family," Nez said.

Additionally, 30% to 40% of residents do not have running water, Nez said. That prevents everyone from being able to wash their hands as often as recommended.

Another challenge: the nation is a "food desert," which means that more people are at the few grocery stores, convenience stores and gas stations to purchase food, Nez said.

"When we run out of food or supplies we have to go to the stores and there is a lot of people there and I believe...the spread is happening there as well as at home," Nez said.

In a Saturday press release, Nez urged residents to continue to stay in lockdown as much as possible and maintain good hygiene practices.

"With every passing day, we are a day closer to beating COVID-19. Whether we realize it or not we are winning the war on this virus," Nez said in the press release. "We have to stay the course when it comes to staying home as much as possible, wearing masks in public, washing our hands often, and taking every precaution to ensure our health and safety especially for our elders and children."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 51079

Reported Deaths: 2756
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion12019693
Lake5588248
Elkhart353959
Allen2939134
St. Joseph210669
Hamilton1691101
Cass16449
Hendricks1454100
Johnson1340118
Porter82638
Tippecanoe7709
Vanderburgh7276
Clark69544
Madison67464
LaPorte61628
Howard59858
Bartholomew59745
Kosciusko5754
Marshall5449
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LaGrange4849
Boone48244
Jackson4783
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Morgan34231
Monroe34028
Grant31826
Dubois3046
Henry30018
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White27410
Dearborn25823
Decatur25632
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Harrison21722
Greene19432
Miami1932
Jennings17912
Putnam1738
DeKalb1694
Scott1649
Wayne1546
Daviess15017
Perry14710
Orange13723
Steuben1362
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Ripley1307
Franklin1278
Gibson1202
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Fayette1067
Whitley1066
Starke1043
Newton10010
Huntington942
Jefferson862
Wells821
Randolph794
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Knox710
Jay700
Washington681
Pulaski661
Clay645
Rush613
Posey570
Spencer541
Owen521
Benton510
Sullivan501
Adams491
Brown431
Blackford402
Fountain352
Crawford330
Switzerland320
Tipton321
Parke270
Martin260
Ohio230
Vermillion200
Warren151
Union140
Pike110
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 64214

Reported Deaths: 3036
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin11724445
Cuyahoga8979393
Hamilton6781207
Lucas2952305
Marion274539
Montgomery244035
Summit2327209
Pickaway222241
Mahoning1928239
Butler182147
Columbiana137860
Stark1214114
Lorain112069
Trumbull104578
Warren97725
Clark80010
Delaware69815
Fairfield66717
Tuscarawas60410
Lake58923
Medina58232
Belmont56922
Licking56812
Miami50631
Portage49259
Wood48851
Clermont4737
Ashtabula44744
Geauga42543
Wayne37253
Richland3715
Allen35641
Greene3439
Mercer29910
Erie27122
Holmes2595
Darke25626
Huron2402
Madison2169
Ottawa17324
Sandusky16015
Washington14620
Ross1443
Coshocton1423
Athens1391
Crawford1385
Putnam13715
Hardin12312
Morrow1201
Auglaize1094
Jefferson1092
Muskingum1001
Union931
Preble901
Monroe8917
Hancock861
Lawrence830
Guernsey823
Clinton811
Hocking809
Williams762
Shelby744
Logan711
Ashland672
Carroll673
Fulton670
Scioto670
Wyandot635
Brown611
Fayette550
Defiance533
Knox531
Champaign511
Highland501
Van Wert471
Perry441
Seneca412
Henry330
Paulding300
Jackson280
Pike280
Adams261
Vinton232
Gallia201
Noble140
Harrison131
Meigs130
Morgan110
Unassigned00
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