Navajo Nation Has 3rd-Highest COVID-19 Infection Rate in U.S. & Global News

by Debra Brown

Navajo Nation Coronavirus
Each Wednesday, we recap the most important headlines from our global community to keep you up to speed on world news.


Navajo Nation Has 3rd-Highest COVID-19 Infection Rate in U.S.

The Navajo Nation had reported a total of 2,373 cases and 73 confirmed deaths from the coronavirus. With a rate of 46 deaths per 100,000 people, the tribal nation has a higher coronavirus death rate than every state in the country except New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts and has more per-capita COVID-19 infections than any place outside of New York and New Jersey.

At least 70 Navajo Nation members have died from COVID-19. Among them was Valentina Blackhorse, a prominent figure in Navajo Nation as the winner of multiple pageants. She died at the age of 28 on April 23. She left behind a daughter named Poet and a legacy of fierce dedication to her culture and her community.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham invoked New Mexico’s Riot Control Act to lock down the entire city of Gallup, on the edge of the Navajo Nation, the country’s largest Indigenous reservation. The lockdown comes as state and local authorities grapple with one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the United States and a surge in detected cases in places near the reservation. Jonathan Nez, president of the Navajo Nation, said he fully supported the lockdown order. 

Native Americans are being left out of demographic data on the impact of the coronavirus across the US, raising fears of hidden health emergencies in one of the country’s most vulnerable populations.

Here are ways to help the Navajo Nation during the coronavirus pandemic. 


Ida B. Wells Awarded Posthumous Pulitzer Prize For Lynching Investigations

Ida B. Wells (1862-1931) was honored with the 2020 prize in the Special Citations and Awards category “for her outstanding and courageous reporting on the horrific and vicious violence against African Americans during the era of lynching,” the Pulitzer Prize Board said.

After three of her friends were lynched in Memphis, Wells set out to investigate white mob violence and lynchings across the South, the work she became most famous for.

Today, Wells is widely regarded as a fearless leader and dogged reporter who shined a light on lynching as a white tool of political terror against Black people, even as she faced racism and sexism herself as a Black woman.


Prosecutors Recommend Grand Jury to Weigh Charges in Georgia Shooting

A Georgia prosecutor said that he wants a grand jury to consider criminal charges in the death of a man shot after a pursuit by armed men who later told police they suspected him of being a burglar, but whose family say was simply jogging.

Ahmaud Arbery, 25, was killed Feb. 23 in a neighborhood outside the coastal port city of Brunswick. No one has been arrested or charged in the case, prompting an outcry from the local NAACP and others.


Venezuela Detains Two U.S. Citizens After Alleged Coup 

Venezuelan security forces arrested dozens of people, including two Americans, after a beach invasion allegedly aimed at overthrowing President Nicolas Maduro, a plot said to involve US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido. Maduro blamed the attacks on the Trump administration and neighbouring Colombia, both of which have denied involvement. U.S. President Donald Trump said the Venezuela situation “has nothing to do with our government”.


California Sues Uber and Lyft

California’s attorney general and a coalition of city attorneys in the state sued Uber and Lyft, claiming the companies wrongfully classified their drivers as independent contractors in violation of a state law that makes them employees.

The law, known as Assembly Bill 5, requires companies to treat their workers as employees instead of contractors if they control how workers perform tasks or if the work is a routine part of a company’s business. The law took effect on Jan. 1, but Uber, Lyft and other gig economy companies that operate in California have resisted and are not taking steps to reclassify their drivers.

At least one million gig workers in the state are affected by the law, which is supposed to give them a path to benefits like a minimum wage and unemployment insurance that have been traditionally withheld from independent contractors.

California’s move is a significant threat to the gig companies and could influence other states with similar laws to take action against them, labor experts said.


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