LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) For months, especially in the Spring of 2020, there were alarming reports saying communities of color were being hit the hardest by the coronavirus.
“In March and in April although we account for 14% of the total population at that point we were accounting for more than 40% of the people who died and more than 38% of the people who had contracted COVID-19,” says Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist.
Fast forward six months to November, Black people accounted for only 9.7% of overall coronavirus infections in Michigan. So what changed?
Some say because many people of color knew first hand the affects of the virus, they took the disease serious, sooner. In the summer, studies show Black people were more likely to wear a mask and practice social distancing.
Michigan also formed a racial disparities coronavirus task force headed by Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist. The group helps connect people to health insurance and distributes masks and money to groups dealing with the crisis. But now, Gilchrist says the task force is tackling a new issue.
“We need people to get vaccinated.”
In December, a study from Pew Research shows although 71% of Black participants knew someone who was hospitalized or died from complications of the virus, but less than half would get a vaccinated.
Gilchrist says, the task force is launching a campaign alongside NBA star Blake Griffin to get the word out that the vaccine is proving to be safe, and provide resources for people who have questions.