Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist announced Thursday that the state has made progress in protecting minority communities from COVID-19.
Related: Lt. Gov. Gilchrist: Racial task force to address vaccine concerns among communities of color
An interim report from the Michigan COVID-19 Task Force on Racial Disparities, which is chaired by Gilchrist, found that the average number of cases per million per day among African Americans in Michigan dropped significantly.
According to the report, the case rate went from 179 cases per million people in March and April to 59 cases per million people in September in October.
In that same period, the report said the number of probable deaths per million per day among African Americans dropped from 21.7 to just 1.
“The coronavirus pandemic has shined a light on the health, economic, and educational challenges that communities of color face daily,” Whitmer said in a release. “Today’s report shows that significant progress has been made toward our goal to reduce these disparities over the past six months. But as cases continue to rise, we need to recognize that our work is not done because each of us have a role to play to make sure that we defeat this virus. When we successfully make it to the other side of this pandemic, we will hug each other a little tighter, check in on each other a little more, and be proud of the work we did to make each other’s lives better.”
“From the beginning, our administration has listened to medical experts and taken a fact-based approach to eliminating COVID-19 in our most vulnerable communities, and we have seen significant progress,” Whitmer added.
Other data from the report showed that more than 24,000 COVID-19 tests have been administered in undeserved areas through 21 neighborhood testing sites run by the state. All offer free testing without prescription or ID.
“When it became clear that the Black community was disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Whitmer and her administration took crucial action to eliminate that disparity and save lives,” said Maureen Taylor, Task Force member and state chair of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization. “Michigan has been recognized as a nationwide leader in addressing health disparities that have come to light as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic because the governor and lieutenant governor have dedicated themselves to ensuring equitable support for our most vulnerable communities throughout this crisis. We have made great strides, but we will remain vigilant and work day and night to protect the Black community from COVID-19 until this virus is gone for good.”
According to the state, the task force will continue working to protect minority communities and they have identified other areas to focus on during the winter.
On top of that, they are working to close the digital divide and grow access to telehealth and virtual learning for all Michiganders, increase enrollment in health insurance, build mobile testing infrastructure and more.
You can read the report below.
COVID-19 Task Force on Racial Disparities Interim Report by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 Detroit on Scribd
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