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'Devastating:' Milwaukee Co. leaders say racial inequity causing spread of COVID-19 in Black community

’Devastating: ’ Milwaukee Co. leaders say racial inequity causing spread of COVID-19 in Black community


MILWAUKEE COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58 ) -- Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases among African Americans continue to grow in Milwaukee County.

Black residents currently account for about 45% of positive cases and more than half of the deaths in the county.

Some leaders call it "devastating," and say it highlights an even greater, already known problem.

“We need more help. We don’t need people blaming us," said Reggie Jackson, head griot of America's Black Holocaust Museum.

Racial inequity is what local officials say is contributing to the spread of COVID-19 within the black community.

“Stability is really the key measurement that is missing," Milwaukee Health Service CEO Dr. Tito Izard said.

During a Friday county conference call Izard, and several other leaders, cited disinvestment, racism and opportunity as barriers to informing and protecting the black community.

“We need to do more than just flag this," Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele said.

“There needs to be a huge investment in not only dollars but also people, creativity and innovation, a willingness to loosen up any red tape," City of Milwaukee Health Department Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik said.

Black residents make up 50 of the 77 COVID-19 related deaths listed on the county Medical Examiner’s website.

All 50 had underlying health conditions, and among those, more than 60% had diabetes and 50% had hypertension.

"If you do get the virus, you’re much more likely to die from them, and you’re much more likely to suffer severe illnesses even if you survive the virus," Jackson said.

Social distancing does not mean social isolation.

So leaders are also urging black residents to do their part to stop the spread.

“It’s important for us to share that message," said Wanda Montgomery, president of the Brown Deer Village Board. “I enjoy going to church, but this is not the time for me to congregate at church."

The Medical College of Wisconsin Institute for Health and Equity partnered with Milwaukee County to develop epidemiological data on COVID-19.

The $145,000 project will help officials better track the origin and spread of the virus.

The Institute also awarded the Milwaukee Health Department with a $500,000 grant "to rapidly improve communication of prevention guidelines to communities of color living in Milwaukee County," said Dr. Jesse Ehrenfeld, senior associate dean at the Medical College of Wisconsin School of Medicine.

Much of the work will focus on piloting online training for community health workers to better respond to public health needs.

"We know that mass crisis communications that do not tailor their messages simply fail when there are cross-cultural differences," Ehrenfeld added.

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Homer 48 days ago

Facts and Statistics are Racist.

Check the Facts and Statistics, not just for Milwaukee, but every other major urban city with large Black populations: Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit...

3 Blacks are dying for every White COVID 19 death everywhere.

Wisconsin's population is about 83% white, 6% black...

Willabove369 49 days ago
6 ounces of lemon juice pureheated to 180° no more than 187° mix in 25 mg Ginko Bala 25 mg ginseng 25 mg garlic stir for 12 to 24 hours you’ll have your COVID-19 care
My antipode is a little simpler & gets sweeter with time. 2 Shots of Korbel Brandy over ice with some Sweetened Arizona Ice Tea. Works like a charm.
Rommel 49 days ago
Here we go with the race card. If blacks have poor health habits and disregard social distancing,then it's someone else's fault. This is total BS, Mexicans,asians and others are dying from COVID19 so it's not a racial thing. The race card is always used in Milwaukee to perpetuate the idea that blacks are unfairly treated,economically and socially. The liberal politicians jump on the bandwagon to look good,especially if it's an election year.
Kevin Rommel 49 days ago
facts are facts - African-Americans are less likely to have health insurance thus access to health care ... not cause and effect just reality. Not really a "card" to be played but to address a problem it helps to be able to SEE the problem.
Jill Rommel 49 days ago
Lack of health insurance does not correlate to spread of the virus. Unwillingness and refusal to social distance does.
Kevin Jill 46 days ago
lack of health insurance could very well mean more underlying health problems because uninsured people dont go to the doctor and we know that underlying health problems make catching this virus more deadly
PhilipSchwigel Rommel 44 days ago
The last time I heard, the Corona Virus Pandemic was just what it is. A killer Virus that preys on humans. You do not see pets or other wildlife seemingly suffering from the virus like us humans are. The Virus is a Killer Virus. It does not look at color before it attacks. It does not care if you are people of color, Caucasian, what you ethnic background is. It looks for the human side of us, which in most cases is always the same. It doesn't care who you are, race doesn't pose a factor. Neither does religion or where you happen to live. It is an airborne virus which means it travels around in the air we breath. It sits ready to attack on the things we touch. Yes, we can somewhat neutralize it's effects & slow the spreading of the virus down by keeping ourselves clean, practicing our social distancing guidelines, & staying self quarantined in our homes. As you venture into the city you find that most folks, even though they now have the virus & are spreading it around, still pose the right to come & go as they please & assure others that this Corona Virus Pandemic is a big hoax. Why do you think they tell you if you have the symptoms, to stay home, contact your doctor, & follow his/her instructions? Because, the virus can be treated from your home. If you show up at a hospital, you are spreading the virus to the folks that are at the hospital which includes the very people who are trying to save you. The virus sees no color, it sees no border. It is a virus the whole world is dealing with at this time. Wise up people. Practice the Social Distancing Guidelines by staying at least 6 feet in distance from others. Shelter at home until the virus has subsided. Stop roaming the streets & shooting at each other. Innocent children are getting shot & seriously injured by your stupidity. Stop stealing cars & running from the cops. If they don't catch you, the virus will. Shelter in home.
Lawrence 49 days ago
Milwaukee must get through this for any of us to get through this.
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