SALT LAKE CITY — India needs masks in the same way that the Navajo Nation needed help in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At that time, the Navajo Nation was among the hardest-hit areas of the United States. While tribal officials said the U.S. federal government was slow to respond, donations poured in from across the country and from as far away as Ireland.
Now the Navajo Nation is paying some of that goodwill forward. They have donated cloth masks to the people of India, where COVID-19 infections have risen enormously in the past few weeks. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said they sent 1,200 masks to the Indian Embassy in Washington, DC. And they’re hoping to send more.
“We received some inquiries from our Navajo citizens and organizations . . . that are willing to make more and send them to India,” President Nez told KSL Newsradio.
President Nez says the Navajo Nation is gradually re-opening as new cases diminish and more people are vaccinated. About 54% of those who use health care facilities on the reservation have been fully vaccinated. Many of those people live off the reservation. Nez said about 71% of residents are vaccinated.
“Our goal is to get 75% of our people fully vaccinated and we are going to consider re-opening our Navajo Nation to our visitors,” he said.
President Nez said anyone is welcome to donate to help send masks to India. Those who are interested can call 928-871-7000 to make a contribution.
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