While most of the United States is still hit hard by COVID-19, the Cherokee Nation has successfully lowered the impact of the pandemic. The Cherokee Nation made wearing masks mandatory in spring 2020. They have kept local hospitals well stocked with protective equipment, and the Tribal Chief has been clear and consistent with messaging to the public. However, other tribal areas have not been as successful, with COVID-19 rates 3.5 times higher than in the white population. For example, the Navajo Nation has had almost 13,000 cases and 602 deaths among its 170,000 citizens. In contrast, the Cherokee Nation, with about 140,000 citizens on its reservation in northeastern Oklahoma, reported only 4,000 cases and 33 deaths. This is because the Cherokee Nation started taking action against COVID-19 in late February 2020. They held meetings with local experts twice a day, organized screenings of thousands of employees, protected elders, ensured people had access to healthy food, and educated people about COVID-19 in both English and Cherokee language. The Cherokee Nation’s public health doctors also looked at previous responses to serious infections (such as Ebola) and immediately set up contact tracing to identify people who had come into contact with infected individuals). As a result, the Cherokee Nation has not seen any cases of spreading of COVID-19 in the workplace, and schools reopened for fall 2020. This reminds us that leadership matters, and that even in hard times with limited resources, you can make a huge difference.

Source: https://bit.ly/3fZqT3P

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