Whitmer announces task force dedicated to address racial disparities during COVID-19 crisis

Posted at 3:27 PM, Apr 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-09 23:31:51-04

(WXYZ) — Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced a new task force dedicated to addressing racial disparities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities will be chaired by Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist.

"This virus is holding up a mirror to our society and reminding us of deep inequities in our country," Whitmer said. “From basic lack of access to health care, transportation, and protections in the workplace, these inequities hit people of color and vulnerable communities the hardest. This task force will help us start addressing these disparities right now as we work to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan.”

She said the task force will consist of leaders from local communities and healthcare professionals.

The task force will start meeting this week and provide recommendations on how to address racial disparities and how to provide help during the COVID-19 crisis.

Chief Medical Executive Joneigh Khaldun said that in Michigan, African Americans have comprised 33 percent of COVID-19 cases. More than 40 percent of deaths in Michigan are African Americans, but only 14 percent of Michiganders are African Americans.

It will outline steps to address lack of access to care, transportation and equity in the workplace.

"We will continue working to ensure that Michiganders can put food on the table, can get to work safely and have workplace protections they need," Whitmer said.

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