LANSING, Mich. — Earlier today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order No. 2020-55, creating the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted communities of color throughout our state. While African Americans represent 13.6% of Michigan’s population, they represent a staggering 40% of the deaths from COVID-19.
The task force will act in as an advisory capacity to the Governor, studying the causes of racial disparities in the impact of COVID-19 and recommend actions to immediately address such disparities and the historical and systemic inequities that underlie them.
“COVID-19 has taken a disproportionate toll on Michigan’s communities of color and I am confident this task force will help us identify the factors driving this disparity and to identify actions we can take to create a more equitable Michigan for everyone,” Gov. Whitmer said. “Each of the task force members will provide a unique perspective and play a vital part in identifying these barriers and ensuring all Michiganders have equal access to critical resource when they need them most.”
The task force will investigate the causes of racial disparities in the impact of COVID-19, recommend actions to address those disparities, and suggest ways to:
· Increase transparency in reporting data regarding the racial and ethnic impact of COVID-19.
· Remove barriers to accessing physical and mental health care.
· Reduce the impact of medical bias in testing and treatment.
· Mitigate environmental and infrastructure factors contributing to increased exposure during pandemics resulting in mortality.
· Develop and improve systems for supporting long-term economic recovery and physical and mental health care following a pandemic.
The task force will also work with different groups of community action stakeholders.
The Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities will be chaired by Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist and include Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon, Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh S. Khaldun, and high-standing doctors s appointed by the Governor. You can view that complete list of experts on the official order's transcript here.
The Task Force will continue its work until 90 days after the termination of the declared states of emergency and disaster, or such other time as the Governor identifies.