The Limits Of CDC Data On COVID In Native Americans : Short Wave A recent CDC report estimates Native Americans and Alaskan Natives are 3.5 times more likely to get COVID-19 than white people, and those under 18 are more likely to test positive.

This report is the first time the federal government has released hard numbers on the coronavirus in tribal nations, but it is most notable for what it does not say about how the virus is affecting Native Americans and Alaskan Natives. And some scientists believe that the CDC's current numbers are an underestimate.

Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, reporter and deputy managing editor of Indian Country Today, explains why the CDC data is so limited in scope — and her efforts to bring more data transparency to the table.

Jourdan wrote about the CDC's findings here. Support the work of Indian Country Today here.

Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.
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The CDC Doesn't Know Enough About Coronavirus In Tribal Nations

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The CDC Doesn't Know Enough About Coronavirus In Tribal Nations

The CDC Doesn't Know Enough About Coronavirus In Tribal Nations

The CDC Doesn't Know Enough About Coronavirus In Tribal Nations

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/916824718/917035487" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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The Centers for Disease Control headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia on April 23. Tami Chappell/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Tami Chappell/AFP via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia on April 23.

Tami Chappell/AFP via Getty Images


A recent CDC report estimates Native Americans and Alaskan Natives are 3.5 times more likely to get COVID-19 than white people, and those under 18 are more likely to test positive.

This report is the first time the federal government has released hard numbers on the coronavirus in tribal nations, but it is most notable for what it does not say about how the virus is affecting Native Americans and Alaskan Natives. And some scientists believe that the CDC's current numbers are an underestimate.

Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, reporter and deputy managing editor of Indian Country Today, explains why the CDC data is so limited in scope — and her efforts to bring more data transparency to the table.

Jourdan wrote about the CDC's findings here. Support the work of Indian Country Today here.

Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

This episode was produced by Maddie Sofia and Brent Baughman, edited by Geoff Brumfiel, and fact-checked by Maddie and by Berly McCoy. Special thanks to Jessica Atwell at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.