Navajo Nation upholds masking as New Mexico lifts its mandate

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While New Mexico’s governor earlier this week announced that the state was lifting its indoor mask mandate, the president of the Navajo Nation told members that the state’s decision did not apply to them.

“The State of New Mexico lifted its indoor mask requirement, but this does not apply to the Navajo Nation. Keep wearing your masks in public and get fully vaccinated for COVID-19,” Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said in a statement posted to Twitter

“Our frontline warriors are fighting this invisible monster every day in our health care facilities. We must do everything we can to fight for them by taking precautions that reduce the spread of COVID-19,” he continued. “Please take extra precautions in public and keep pushing back together on this virus.”

On Friday, the Navajo Nation reported 11 new cases and two deaths. A total of 1,641 members of the Navajo Nation have died from the virus since the start of the pandemic. 

On Thursday, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced that the state would be lifting its mask mandate since the state readopted the COVID-19 protocol last August. New Mexico Health and Human Services Secretary David Scrase noted, however, that masking rules would still be imposed in certain settings, such as in hospitals.

A number of states have signaled that they are lifting or intending to lift mask mandates as the nation seeks a downward trend of cases. The director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signaled on Wednesday during a White House briefing that the agency intended to update guidance on protocol like masking in the next few weeks.

While cases are trending downward, it does not mean that Americans have seen the latest of the pandemic. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy announced on Friday that he, his son and his wife had tested positive for COVID-19 following his 4-year-old daughter’s initial positive test.

“When you’ve been as safe as you can, getting COVID-19 can be frustrating and disappointing. I’ve felt that. It can also be a source of shame. Many people assume you must have been careless to get sick. Our safety measures reduce risk but they can’t eliminate risk. Nothing can,” Murthy said, while promoting the use of vaccines. 

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) also became the latest senator this month to test positive for the virus, his second time.

Tags COVID-19 mask mandate Michelle Lujan Grisham Navajo Nation Roger Wicker Vivek Murthy

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