African Americans account for 14 percent of Michigan’s population, and yet account for 40 percent of COVID-19 deaths in the state.
Thursday, Governor Whitmer announced the creation of the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities which will be spearheaded by Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist.
“This virus is holding up a mirror to our society and reminding us of the deep inequities in our country,” said Whitmer.
“From basic lack of access to care, to access to transportation, to lack of protections in the workplace, these inequities hit people of color and vulnerable communities the hardest.”
The task force will consist of government, health care, and community leaders and will start work this week. It will be responsible for recommendations on how to address racial disparities in healthcare during the crisis and provide feedback from impacted communities.
This comes on the heels of the governor’s recent critical comments of the national and local health disparity previously reported by the Michigan Chronicle.
During the COVID-19 crisis, Governor Whitmer has signed a number of executive orders aimed at protecting people in vulnerable communities.These include orders to temporarily ban evictions and tax foreclosures, expand unemployment benefits, and restore running water for families.
“It shouldn’t take a crisis for us to expand unemployment benefits, ensure protections for workers who are sick, or expand access to quality, affordable health care,” said Whitmer.
“We’re going to come out of this, but we must also learn some hard lessons about the deep problems in our economy that we need real, meaningful solutions on.”