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Fighting racial disparities when it comes to COVID-19

Black, Brown communities hit hard by virus

DETROIT – When the COVID-19 outbreak began, the virus hit Black and Brown communities hard with unspeakable losses.

Since April, the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities has been working to eliminate the impact COVID-19 has had on communities of color.

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They’ve made progress by making testing more accessible for communities of color, including drive-thru, walk-up and mobile testing sites. They’ve helped people find primary care physicians, handed out millions of masks and reminded people to wear them through marketing.

They also recommended implicit bias training be a requirement for all medical professionals. The data showed early on that it was working -- but now, with cases going up -- will it be enough? Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist heads the task force.

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“I think the recommendations that we made will continue to need to be implemented as they happen,” Gilchrist said. “And I thank the public servants and say government and the partners for who’ve stepped up to do that. We just funded another 20 million pounds with the projects called Rapid Response Initiatives.”

The task force also recommended that Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declare racism a public health crisis in the state. Gilchrist said this gave every state department permission to revisit their policies and their impact. He said when you can name it and quantify it, then the conversations can be had about what reform looks like.

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