California: Tribes face cultural, economic hardships amid coronavirus stay-home orders Lauren J. Mapp, San Diego Union Tribune · April 28, 2020 at 7:30 am From smallpox to the 1918 flu pandemic, Native Americans have been decimated by viral outbreaks. And that gives them good reason to be alarmed about the latest foe: COVID-19. Native Americans have higher rates of chronic health conditions, such as diabetes and asthma, that can make them more susceptible to infections. And tribal members often have limited access to health care. Only seven tribal members have tested positive for the coronavirus in San Diego County as of April 22, according to county statistics. Their remote locations in the backcountry may have shielded them from the brunt of the pandemic. But even if local tribes never see a major outbreak — there are about 43,000 Native Americans living in the county, according to U.S. Census estimates — the economic and cultural impacts of the pandemic could be long-lasting.