COVID-19 poses critical concerns to Native American communities. Prior to this pandemic, Native Americans already had higher rates of infectious disease severity and death than any other population in the U.S. Many of the Native peoples we serve live in crowded, multi-generational homes; effective home isolation for those at highest risk will be very difficult. Food and water insecurity already impacts 25-40% in many rural tribal communities. Estimates indicate that more than 80% of children in many communities rely on getting their breakfast and lunch at schools that have been closed. For many families, the COVID-19 pandemic will be devastating, economically and otherwise. Our public health teams on the frontlines know how important this work is and how vitally needed supplies and public health expertise are a lifeline for families and communities. The Center is launching a multi-pronged strategy to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic including a rapid public health response, an effort to produce and source Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health care providers and responders, research, and public health communications.
Thanks for Your Support
In response to this public health crisis, an army of generous friends of the Center have made contributions to our COVID-19 Emergency Fund and are helping make the following work possible. We are grateful for these and every gift to this critical fund.
Materials Development for Tribal Use
Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health is producing materials related to COVID-19 for tribes to distribute. Some materials can be customized with tribal name and local contact number. Read more.
Emergency Food, Water, and Basic Relief Supplies
As rural tribal communities grapple with COVID-19, our team is working to help contain the virus, protect families from infection, and get urgently needed food, cleaning supplies, and other materials to families in need. Read more.
Surveillance and Contact Tracing
Native Americans are the most vulnerable population in the U.S., with a history of being decimated by respiratory illnesses. Our Center has deployed over 40 technical specialists in infectious disease, mental health, behavioral health, training, and communications, as well as more than 200 boots on the ground—Native American health workers in their own communities serving courageously during this time. Read more.
In previous pandemics of respiratory viruses such as the 1918 and 2009 H1N1 outbreaks, Native American children and adults experienced markedly higher rates of both disease and death, in some cases 4-5 times higher than the general U.S. population. As of April 1, 2020, over 170 cases of COVID-19 have been detected on the Navajo Nation, the largest Native American reservation, located in the four corners areas of the southwestern U.S. Read more.