BOCA RATON, Fla., March 20, 2020 — America’s first people are among the hardest hit by the tide of coronavirus infection now washing across the country: The Navajo Nation is second only to New York in the per capita rate of COVID-19 cases.
The same forces that have meant the infection has disproportionately struck African-Americans and poorer Americans have also exacted a deadly toll on members of the Navajo tribe. Facing less access to information and higher rates of medical risks, at least 140 members of the Navajo community have died from the virus and more than 4,000 have tested positive. The virulent spread has led New Mexico’s governor to put the community under some of the most drastic lockdown conditions.
But help is on the way.
Now, with every purchase of an emotional support animal letter, ESAD Int’l will donate and ship a box of KN95 face masks to the Gallup Indian Medical Center in Gallup, N.M.
“From our family to theirs, from our heart to theirs,” said Chaz Stevens, Director of People / Chief Dog Lover of ESAD Int’l., “we need to lend an immediate helping hand.”
Stevens was moved to act when he heard that the Navajo community in Gallup doesn’t have adequate cellular service and only limited internet access. It means that tribal members cannot get regular announcements from public officials, who are trying to make the most of a drastically underfunded and overextended health care system. Dire shortage of masks, gowns, and gloves have emerged as the number of cases has spiraled out of control.
Stevens and his team are at the ready with fresh supplies.
The Boca Raton-based company offers animal-assisted therapy services and other telemedicine services including one that allows those worried about COVID-19 to begin to get an answer without leaving the comfort of their home.
“Today, it’s Gallup, tomorrow perhaps Biloxi. To the great Navajo Nation, you are not alone. We proudly stand #NavajoStrong with you,” said Stevens.
Founder and CEO, ESAD Int’l.
Chaz Stevens is an entrepreneur, former journalist, and well-known activist who has appeared on the front pages of Time, Miami Herald, Guardian, Slate, and the Huffington Post. He’s also appeared on The Daily Show, the Colbert Report, and Fox News.
Chaz lives in South Florida with his two rescue dogs. Before launching ESAD International, he could be found working on IT for IBM, Microsoft, and The Walt Disney World Company. But his favorite job is the one he’s now doing full time — helping people get to a better place.