Eagle Butte, South Dakota, the center of the Cheyenne River Reservation, in August 2019. Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) threatened legal action on Friday against the Oglala Sioux Tribe and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe if their coronavirus checkpoints are not removed within 48 hours.

The big picture: Native Americans and other people of color are more likely to become seriously ill from the coronavirus due to chronic health conditions and the effects of economic inequality, several studies have found.

What's happening: The tribes, which have issued strict stay-at-home orders, are allowing reservation residents to travel through South Dakota for essential activities like medical appointments, CNN reports. Health questionnaires must be filled out when residents go through checkpoints.

  • "South Dakota residents who don't live on the reservation are only allowed there if they're not coming from a hotspot and it is for an essential activity. But they must also complete a health questionnaire," per CNN.
  • Stay-at-home orders have not been issued for the state.

Where it stands: No South Dakota counties where the tribes are located are reporting deaths associated with COVID-19, but they are reporting more cases than the surrounding areas, per the state's health department.

  • Most cases in South Dakota are located in Aberdeen and Sioux Falls, on the other side of the state.
  • South Dakota is reporting 34 coronavirus deaths and 1,234 cases as of Saturday.

What they're saying: Noem said Friday the tribes need to make a deal with the state to restrict highway travel. Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe chairman Harold Frazier said on Friday that the tribe consulted with the South Dakota Transportation Department, federal agencies and public schools.

  • "We have not stopped any state or commercial functions as you claim in your request," Frazier said.

Go deeper: The coronavirus' double whammy on vulnerable populations

Go deeper

Aug 18, 2020 - Health

The U.S. didn't learn its lesson on nursing homes

Data: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; Chart: Axios Visuals

Coronavirus cases in nursing homes surged in late July, according to new data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Why it matters: Despite all the rhetorical focus on better protecting vulnerable seniors, long-term care facilities continue to be a major source of community spread in the U.S.

Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

Expand chart
Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Aug 18, 2020 - Health

America's failed coronavirus response hurts people of color most

Adapted from Karaca-Mandic, et. al, 2020, "Assessment of COVID-19 Hospitalizations by Race/Ethnicity in 12 States"; Table: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Two new studies yet again reiterate the fact that people of color have borne the brunt of America's coronavirus outbreak.

Why it matters: The longer we go without improving testing, protecting essential workers, updating ventilation systems, securing nursing homes or ensuring that sick people can safely isolate at home, the more already vulnerable people will continue to suffer.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!