Navajo Nation honors lives lost to COVID-19

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FARMINGTON N.M- It’s been a somber week for the Navajo Nation.

Wednesday marked a year since the first COVID case was identified, and a candlelight vigil was held, each candle representing the over a thousand Navajo people that died from COVID since the start of the pandemic.

“You know what, we are still standing here today, ladies and gentlemen, one year later one year later," said Navajo Nation President Johnathan Nez.

On Friday, nation leaders gathered again to remember the lives lost. U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland was also present, virtually.

“This virus has taken more than 539,000 Americans from us one out of every 438 of those people were citizens or residents of the Navajo Nation. I want you to know that the nation is grieving the loss of every single person of the Navajo Nation during this pandemic,” said Haaland.

Now a year later, the Navajo Nation has made some progress. The nation even doing a soft reopening last week, and more people getting vaccinated.

“187,096 have gone into the arms of the Navajo people 74,188 have received their full vaccination and that’s 84.5% of what we have received gone into the arms of the Navajo people,“ said Nez.

Nation leaders also signed a proclamation to recognize March 19 as Navajo Nation Day of Prayer in honor of those who passed. Still, Navajo Nation leaders say the pandemic is not over, and people should continue to take precautions.