Virus Rampages Across Vast Navajo Lands, Close-Knit Families

May 11, 2020

The Navajo reservation spans three western U.S. states and has some of the highest rates of coronavirus in the country.

A hand-painted sign points the way to the Chilchinbeto Church of the Nazarene in Chilchinbeto, Ariz., on the Navajo reservation at sunrise on Sunday, April 19, 2020. The Navajo reservation has some of the highest rates of coronavirus in the country. If Navajos are susceptible to the virus' spread in part because they are so closely knit, that's also how many believe they will beat it.
Credit AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

With roughly 175,000 people living there, the tribe has seen 3,122 cases. At least 100 people have died. The numbers continue to grow. Handwashing and isolation are the most basic measures to fight the spread of the virus. But that can be difficult when many families live in close quarters and don't have running water. If Navajos are susceptible to the virus’ spread in part because they are so closely knit, that’s also how many believe they will beat it.