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.

5 thoughts on “Native Americans dying from COVID twice as fast as Anglos

  1. Bilagáana says:

    (Feb 3, 2021) “President Biden declared Wednesday that a major disaster exists for the Navajo Nation over COVID-19 and ordered more federal assistance to fight the pandemic at the nation’s largest Native American reservation.”
    “Under the disaster declaration, federal funding is available to the Navajo Nation and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency protective measures.
    The declaration came after Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez went with Biden officials to request more COVID-19 vaccines and asked for a disaster declaration.”
    Navajo Times: “A virtual memorial service for former Navajo Nation president Albert Hale is set for Friday, Feb. 5, at 11 a.m.
    The service will be live-streamed on Facebook (@NezLizer 2018), Navajo Nation OPVP Communications’ YouTube channel and KTNN (AM 660, FM 101.5 or KKNS AM 1310).
    Hale, 70, died Tuesday of complications of COVID-19. He had tested positive for the disease about three weeks ago.”

    Navajo Times – Diné bi Naltsoos

  2. p/s says:

    “It all started with a Facebook post. That’s what Roanhorse Consulting Director Olivia Roanhorse said about their project New Mexico Native-Led Organizations, a resource map for New Mexico Native American communities who have been affected by COVID-19.”

    “Discover Native-led NGOs, grassroots, nonprofits and stakeholders interested in moving resources to NM Native American communities deeply affected by COVID-19.”

  3. p/s says:

    (El Defensor Chieftain, Socorro NM 12/24/20) ALAMO­ NAVAJO – With the arrival last week of 30 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, medical personnel here may be feeling a bit less stressed. The two-dose vaccine will cover 15 front-line workers of the several dozen employees at the Alamo Wellness Center, according to Amy Ellis, director.
    Separated from the large Navajo (Diné) nation, the small community is remote and often the last to access services. But they became the subject of national attention early in the pandemic when three prominent members of the community died from the disease. Marcus, Marie, and Ira Pino all died within six weeks bringing into sharp focus the challenges of many.

  4. p/s says:

    “A broken system: Why the number of American Indian and Alaska Natives who have died during the coronavirus pandemic may never be known”
    Urban Indian Health Institute report card grading U.S. States’ quality of COVID-19 racial data and their effectiveness in collecting and reporting data on American Indian and Alaska Native populations. (Feb 15, 2021)

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