The Navajo Nation is sending personal protective equipment to India to help that country as it deals with a massive surge in COVID-19 cases.
In an interview with FOX 13 on Thursday, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said they are sending shipments of masks and other supplies to help. He suggested it was a way to pay it forward, noting that when COVID-19 cases were at a high on the Navajo Nation, they saw people all over the world sending relief.
"Friends all across the country, all over the world — even Ireland — helped us out with supplies, monetary donations because we were still waiting for the federal government to give us our share of the CARES Act," President Nez said.
"It’s not just about receiving here on the Navajo Nation. We do have a stockpile of mask that were donated as well as what we’ve made. So what we’re doing is we’re going to package that up and send it to our brothers and sisters in India because they’re getting hit hard and we really know how it feels."
The Navajo Nation once recorded some of the highest levels of COVID-19 spread in the United States. Presently, the nation is seeing vaccinations rise and COVID-19 cases decline. The president said they are closer to reaching herd immunity with close to 70% of people within their borders vaccinated.
Meanwhile, India has become a "global hotspot" in novel coronavirus cases. The Associated Press reported Thursday that the country set another global record in new virus cases. With 379,257 new infections, India now has reported more than 18.3 million cases, second only to the United States. Daily deaths have nearly tripled in the past three weeks, reflecting the intensity of the latest surge. And the country’s already teetering health system is under immense strain, prompting allies to send help.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has faced criticism over the last few weeks for holding huge election rallies, which experts suggest might have contributed to the surge.