Actor Sean Penn visits Navajo Nation to help with COVID-19 efforts

Posted at 4:55 PM, May 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-02 19:55:01-04

Actor Sean Penn and his disaster relief organization, Core Response, visited the Navajo Nation on Friday to assist with providing supplies and testing to the area, which has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, according to a tweet from Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez.

"A big thank you to actor Sean Penn and his organization @CoreResponse coming to the Nazlini, AZ today to collaborate and help the Navajo people with resources to increase testing and to help fight COVID-19 on the Navajo Nation! We look forward to working together. Ahe’hee’," Nez's tweet said.

Nazlini is a rural community within the Navajo Nation in northeastern Arizona. It is located about 30 miles from Arizona-New Mexico state line, or 100 miles northeast of Holbrook, Arizona.

In a Facebook Live video from his Facebook page, President Nez said Penn, Johns Hopkins University, and other organizations were in Nazlini to assist with testing and to help distribute food and supplies. He estimated that they helped out 100-150 families in Nazlini on Friday, according to the video. In an updated Facebook post, Nez said over 400 families were assisted in within the communities of Teesto, Greasewood Springs, and Nazlini.

During the video, Penn said his organization has brought 45,000 COVID-19 tests to the Los Angeles, California and is looking to expand nationwide. In regards to the Navajo Nation, he said Core Response would follow Johns Hopkins' lead and would assist where his organization is needed.

It was not immediately clear how long Penn nor Core Response planned to be part of the Navajo Nation.

As of Thursday evening, April 30, (the latest numbers available), the Navajo Nation as 2,141 positive cases of COVID-19 and 71 deaths. More than 8,000 people have tested negative for COVID-19.