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Navajo Nation members pay respect to COVID-19 victim Arnold Billy in Tuba City, Ariz. PHOTO: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

President Biden declared Wednesday that a major disaster exists for the Navajo Nation over COVID-19 and ordered more federal assistance to fight the pandemic at the nation's largest Native American reservation.

Why it matters: The Navajo Nation, like many Indigenous communities across the U.S., faces a housing shortage that has forced multiple family members to share small homes and a lack of running water that create the opportunity for superspreader events.

  • COVID-19 has claimed more than 1,000 lives on the Navajo Nation.
  • More than 28,000 cases have been reported on the sprawling reservation of 173,000 people.
  • The virus recently killed former tribal President Albert Hale.

Details: Under the disaster declaration, federal funding is available to the Navajo Nation and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency protective measures.

  • The declaration came after Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez went with Biden officials to request more COVID-19 vaccines and asked for a disaster declaration.

What they're saying: "The Navajo Nation has also stepped up with millions of dollars of our own funding, health care workers, and resources to fight COVID-19. This is a great step forward and now we have to step up our efforts and coordinate with FEMA,” Nez said.

  • The Navajo Nation declared a Public Health State of Emergency on March 11, 2020, just days prior to its first confirmed case of COVID-19.

What’s next: The Navajo Nation now must get enough health care workers in place to administer the vaccine and work with state officials in New Mexico, Arizona and Utah to ensure its tribal members living off tribal lands also get vaccinated.

  • Other tribal communities may seek a disaster declaration where the virus has disproportionately hit their members.

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
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Americans increasingly see China as an enemy

One in three Americans, and a majority of Republicans, now view China as an enemy of the United States, according to a new survey from Pew Research Center.

By the numbers: Just 9% of Americans consider China a "partner," while 55% see Beijing as a "competitor" and 34% as an "enemy."

Scoop: Leaked HHS docs spotlight Biden's child migrant dilemma

A group of undocumented immigrants walk toward a Customs and Border Patrol station after being apprehended. Photo: Sergio Flores/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Fresh internal documents from the Department of Health and Human Services show how quickly the number of child migrants crossing the border is overwhelming the administration's stretched resources.

Driving the news: In the week ending March 1, the Border Patrol referred to HHS custody an average of 321 children per day, according to documents obtained by Axios. That's up from a weekly average of 203 in late January and early February — and just 47 per day during the first week of January.

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Mounting emissions data paints bleak picture on Paris climate goals

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Researchers keep finding new ways to reveal that nations are together showing very few signs of getting on track to meet the Paris Agreement's goals.

One big question: That's whether a spate of recent analyses to that effect, and scientific reports coming later this year, will move the needle on meaningful new policies (not just targets).