A study conducted by Duke University has shown some progress from Governor Whitmer’s Coronavirus task force, in terms of racial disparities. The study, released by the Governor’s Office on Tuesday, was conducted by the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices. It found that Governor Whitmer’s Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities has made significant progress towards its goal of reducing health-based racial disparities associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governor Whitmer created the taskforce, last April in response to disparities found in the response to the impact of COVID-19 on communities of color. Although African Americans represent 13.6% of Michigan’s population, during the early stages of the pandemic it was found that they represented 40% of all COVID-19 deaths.

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“Our administration took swift action to address the pre-existing racial inequities in health that were dangerously exacerbated by the pandemic, and we are proud of the progress we’ve made towards eliminating COVID 19’s disproportionate impact,” said Governor Whitmer. We all have a personal responsibility to slow the spread of the pandemic and eliminate the virus as quickly as possible so we can return to a strong economy and get back to normal daily activities.

Since April of 2020, the case study found that Governor Whitmer and the Michigan Task Force have substantially reduced the number of confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths among Michiganders of color. Additionally, under Governor Whitmer’s leadership, six million free masks were distributed, more than 24,000 free COVID-19 tests were administered in underserved communities and 30 community organizations were funded to address community needs.

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