Gov. Whitmer forms Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities

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Posted at 4:28 PM, Apr 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-09 16:28:28-04

LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — Gov. 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 Gov. 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 health care 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 Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said that in Michigan, African-Americans have comprised 33% of COVID-19 cases. More than 40% of deaths in Michigan are African-Americans, but only 14% 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.