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Christine Samuel-Nakamura and Felicia Schanche, Native Peoples Amid the COVID-19 Threat, Hodge School of Nursing University of California, Los Angeles, Ca April 19, 2020
American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) are among the most disadvantaged of groups in the United States. A history of trauma plagues this group, as they have suffered attempts of genocide, biohazard and environmental contamination, mass death due to viruses and diseases, and other more recent traumas that include health inequities and disparities in access to healthcare services. The recent COVID-19 pandemic that is spreading throughout the nation is of particular threat to AI/ANs. Problems of communication, isolation, close living quarters and late notification of the coronavirus negatively impacts surveillance. Each of these are of significant concern and together, they amount to serious vulnerability and potential threats to the life of an indigenous population. Although there are over 500 federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native tribes and groups, there are some common threads to communication, living conditions, and response to health threats that impact COVID-19 mitigation and surveillance.