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Navajo Nation Suffers Third-Highest COVID-19 Infection Rate in U.S. with Limited Healthcare & Water

We get an update from two doctors treating patients with the Navajo Nation, the largest Indigenous reservation in the country, which has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Michelle Tom is a member of the Navajo Nation and a family physician treating COVID-19 patients at the Winslow Indian Health Care Center and Little Colorado Medical Center in northern Arizona near the Navajo reservation. In Gallup, New Mexico, Dr. Sriram Shamasunder is leading a medical volunteer group of 21 nurses and doctors from the University of California, San Francisco as part of the HEAL Initiative. He says the coronavirus hit harder on the Navajo Nation due to a “trajectory of an underfunded health system,” and notes the Indian Health Service is funded at one-third the rate per capita as Medicare. “The level of inequity that you’re seeing … it’s part of this pattern.”

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