Native Americans dying from COVID twice as fast as Anglos

Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune
Funeral in Standing Rock Sioux Nation

American Indians and Alaskan Natives are dying at almost twice the rate of white Americans, according to analysis by APM Research Lab shared exclusively with the Guardian.

Nationwide one in every 475 Native Americans has died from Covid since the start of the pandemic, compared with one in every 825 white Americans and one in every 645 Black Americans. Native Americans have suffered 211 deaths per 100,000 people, compared with 121 white Americans per 100,000.

The true death toll is undoubtedly significantly higher as multiple states and cities provide patchy or no data on Native Americans lost to Covid. Of those that do, communities in Mississippi, New Mexico, Arizona, Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas have been the hardest hit.

The findings are part of the Lab’s Color of Coronavirus project, and provide the clearest evidence to date that Indian Country has suffered terribly and disproportionately during the first year of the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

Here in New Mexico, this is a daily story. Sometimes, more. Even folks like me – who has a “used to be” connection with one of the First Nations in the region still hears from folks on the res. Reading reports in local press, I search, first, for the Indian Health Service.

We all think we know why this is so, wholly or partly. Doesn’t mean anything useful is being done. Yet. On the local, statewide scale? Yes. By the Feds? Damned if I know.