Manataba Messenger

Page 2 CONTINUED FROM COVER: 'Enormous And Tragic': U.S. Has Lost More Than 200,000 People To COVID-19 "It's now September, and around 1,000 people are still dying in the U.S. every day, and that's been stable for weeks now." The latest widely cited fatality projection for the U.S. indi- cates nearly 380,000 people will die from COVID-19 by the end of this year. The estimate comes from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, or IHME, a research center at the University of Washington. While that projection is staggering — the loss of life could reach more than 445,000 by the end of 2020 if health and safety mandates are relaxed, the IHME said. Conversely, the estimate drops to fewer than 265,000 deaths if the use of face masks becomes universal in the United States. "The U.S. population is getting numb to these numbers" Huge figures such as those, Bednarczyk said, could con- tribute to another worrying phenomenon: pandemic fatigue. "I am concerned that, by and large, the U.S. population is getting numb to these numbers," Bednarczyk said, "and grim milestones such as 200,000 deaths or nearly 7,000,000 confirmed cases will probably not get people's attention to spur more personal control measures." Many of the first 100,000 people to die of COVID-19 in the U.S. were living in urban areas — densely populated places that are also transportation hubs. But the additional 100,000 deaths reflect a shift away from cities. "It's easier for a virus to get into those locations and spread quickly," Bednarczyk said of cities. "However, as we con- tinue through the summer and early fall, we are seeing a shift in cases to areas that were much less impacted in the spring. These rural settings have seen much higher spread of disease in the last two months, showing that nowhere is safe from the spread of this virus." "We've seen hot spots move throughout the country," Rivers said. "In the spring, Northeastern states were par- ticularly hard hit. Then through the summer, it was states in the South and Southwest, and now we see disease spreading rapidly in the Midwest." As people grieve over friends and loved ones lost to the pandemic, they've also been forced to cope with other life- upending changes, such as losing their jobs or having to turn their homes into virtual classrooms. Many schools and colleges are trying to find ways to reopen safely for in-person classes. As they welcome back students, some are also starting large-scale sporting events, such as college football. "People are trying to find ways to live more normally dur- ing what has been a very long and difficult year," Rivers said. "In places where there is a lot of virus circulating, it won't be safe to hold gatherings in person without mitigation measures," she added. "But by controlling the virus, and by doing things like wearing masks, moving events out- side and observing social distancing, we can gain more flexibility to do things that are important to us." Attempts to return to normalcy present a tricky situation, Bednarczyk said, noting the potential for large gatherings to become "superspreader" events that can cause danger- ous secondary infections. "The need for education is strong, but we won't know the impact of these in-person classes for a while, and by that time, it is possible that the virus will have greatly expand- ed its spread," he said. "My concern with things like col- lege football games is as much for the players and coaches and staff who have to travel as it is for fans who may still gather to watch the games." For six horrible weeks, from late April into May, more than 10,000 Americans a week died from COVID-19, including 17,055 deaths in the week that ended April 18, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The weekly death toll has fluctuated since then. "For deaths, we still see that older adults and people with underlying health conditions are at highest risk of severe illness and death," Rivers said. From the earliest phase of the disease's arrival in the United States, COVID-19 has taken a horrible toll on minority communities, where people have died in dispro- portionate numbers compared with the general popula- tion. According to the CDC, Black people in the U.S. have a coronavirus death rate that's 2.1 times higher than white people. Latinos and Native Americans also have higher death rates. Six months into the pandemic, majorities of Black, Latino and Native American households are facing serious finan- cial problems, compared with 36% of white households, according to a recent national poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Five U.S. states — New York, New Jersey, California, Texas and Florida — have reported more than 10,000 deaths each from the coronavirus. Globally, only 15 coun- tries besides the U.S. have surpassed that tragic mark. In terms of national population, the U.S. has seen more than 60 deaths per 100,000 people – slightly higher than the death rate in Mexico and lower than in Spain, Brazil, Chile, Bolivia and Peru, according to a mortality analysis by Johns Hopkins University's Coronavirus Resource Center. While the U.S. has the highest number of reported coron- avirus cases, India has been reporting new cases at an alarming rate. That country — which has a much larger population than the U.S. — has reported more than 50,000 new cases daily since late July, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins. The U.S. has seen its daily rate of new coronavirus cases fall below 50,000 since early August; since then, it has wavered around the 40,000 mark. More can be done to reduce death toll, experts say Both Rivers and Bednarczyk say the U.S. still has a chance to reduce the pandemic's tragic toll. "The U.S. response has been chaotic, but there is always time to chart a better course," Rivers said. "I would like to see the U.S. continue to scale up diagnostic testing and case-based interventions like contact tracing." Another positive step, she said, would be to use data col- lected from coronavirus case investigations "to identify high-risk settings and activities, so we can focus on those specifically." Noting the lack of strong and consistent control measures in the country, Bednarczyk said, "It is still possible to pre- vent a much larger number of deaths if people consistently wore masks and practiced good physical distancing." But he added, "I worry we'll see more gatherings without masks, which will keep allowing this virus to spread." CONTINUED FROM COVER: CRIT awarded four Bureau of Reclamation grants There are four humanmade water "returns" to the river; some of the returns are old United States Geological Survey sites measuring the number of pollutants, salt lev- els, dissolved solids, and the volume of water that is leav- ing the reservation. These sites are in bad condition, and the tribes recently entered into a partnership with the USGS and the Bureau of Reclamation, permitting them to repair the existing monitors. Water Smart Marketing Grant The Colorado River Indian Tribes is the first tribe to receive the Water Smart Marketing Grant last April 2019. One of the only tribes to independently negotiate with the United States government on this high level to set the legal framework for the tribes to protect it's water rights. The Colorado River Indian Tribes, first and foremost, do not, cannot, would not sell any of its rights. Essentially the tribes are following through with it's promise to protect its water. This first step will eventually enable the tribes to receive economic fairness for its water if it chooses to lease any unused amounts. A privilege that others have already been entitled to, and as a sovereign entity, CRIT will have the power to enter into individual agreements with other tribes that may need water, other water districts, town- ships, communities, or cities at their discretion. CRIT is a giant in the water industry and has proven itself success- fully in the various Fallowing (water conservation) pro- grams and, despite this, did not have the authority to lease its unused water at a rate comp with 2020 marketing val- ues. Now that goal is within sight. A series of events will be taking place in 2021/2022 for CRIT Tribal members to further our water education and assist our tribal council with this practical first step. Re-Regulating Reservoir Design and Build Grant Last month the Colorado River Indian Tribes won a grant to design it's own Water Re-Regulating Reservoir. The new reservoir will be just north of Lat 73, just past the 12- mile slough. The odd-shaped unused land there will be its location. A re-regulating reservoir is a brilliant move to make, and this is why. For one, it's a smart storage tank, and when you have as much water as we do, storage is always a good thing. It can store water to be used later. It can provide flood control that might otherwise endanger property or infrastructure protecting the valley below. Of course, they promote our beautiful wildlife that we have an abundance here. The main reason for this one is to help our farming industry, regulate fluctuating water levels, help conserve more water for our southern boundary farmers, and water irrigation availability when they need it most. A building grant will be sought in the ensuing years. Streamlining Funding for Conservation The CRIT Water Resources department just finished nego- tiations with the Natural Resources Conservation Service to streamline funding for local farmers' water conserva- tion projects on their land and funding for larger conser- vation projects the tribe is starting. The CRIT Tribal Council approved a Memorandum of Understanding recently with NRCS clearing the way; it has been a decade at least since the NRCS has given any money to the tribal membership. CRIT Water Resources has numerous appli- cations submitted and predicts they will be getting multi- ple grants out of NRCS and also applying for more under these projects, and more they have planned. Fiber=Fast, High-Speed Internet Runs Advanced Monitoring Systems The CRIT Tribal Council has successfully negotiated T lines recently in the valley that branch off a fiber optic cable laid previously down Mohave road. A trunk line on the main network cable is a communications line or link designed to simultaneously carry multiple signals to pro- vide network access between two points. This means that very soon, and as a matter of public safety, various depart- ments and sites in Poston will be getting high-speed inter- net. So far, those verified to receive it will be CRIT Water Resources Poston Shop, CRIT Environmental Protection Office, and CRIT Fire Department. High-speed internet will allow CRIT Water Resources to monitor the Irrigation system using camera sensors, independent of the weather and in real-time, which helps high-security capabilities, and eventually, the ability to monitor the entire system to our southern boundary. This will greatly assist with future essential services as needed. Contributors: CRIT Water Resource Director Devin Heaps, timber-,, .