COVID-19, The Navajo Nation and Sean Penn

The Navajo Nation received some celebrity help Friday in its fight against Covid-19. Celebrated actor Sean Penn was on hand, along with Navajo President Jonathan Nez, in Nazlini, Arizona, as the actor watched as food was being distributed to Navajo residents. It is part of CORE’s efforts to help where help is needed, anywhere in the world.

Nazlini is situated between Chinle and Ganado, just east of Highway 191.

President Nez (enter) and Sean Penn (right)President Nez (center) and Sean Penn (right)
Sean Penn was on the Navajo nation representing CORE, his non-profit Community Organized Relief Effort (

According to a Navajo Times report, CORE is working in tandem with Johns Hopkins’ Center for American Indian Health. It’s an organized effort aimed at getting more COVID-19 testing to the Reservation here, and other Tribal reservations, as well.

The tests, according to Mr. Nez, will first go to first responders.

Not far from Nazlini, work was being completed on Friday on a COVID-19 over-flow medical facility in Chinle. Representing Washington at the site was Dr. Alex Eastman, who is with the Department of Homeland Security. Dr. Eastman is the department’s chief medical officer.

New medical facility in Chinle
The ward was being built by the Army Corps of Engineers and was expected to be finished Friday night. Patients from Kayenta and Tuba City were expected to be transferred there over the weekend.

According to reports, Dr. Eastman mentioned what he believes are the greatest needs on the Nation in light of the pandemic:

1) Medical resources 2) medical staff 3) food.

The report indicates the doctor assured the Navajo Nation that help from the nation’s capital is on the way.

That help, when delivered, will perhaps help to mend a rift that’s been developing between the Navajo Nation and the Federal Government. Reports have indicated that a promised 8-Billion Dollars in aid money for the Navajo people from Washington, has not yet been delivered.

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