Michigan says racial disparities of virus have diminished


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan reported Monday that Black residents are no longer being disproportionately infected and killed by the coronavirus, after they accounted for a staggering 40% of deaths and 29% of cases in the early days of the pandemic.

For the last two available weeks of data, African-Americans represented 10% of COVID-19 deaths and 8% of cases. They comprise about 15% of the state’s population.

They still account for at least 38% of confirmed and probable deaths overall, and at least 20% of cases. Some patients’ race is not always reported.

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II chairs a state task force that is addressing virus-related racial disparities. He credited people of color for being more likely to wear masks and follow safety guidelines, and said the disparities’ downward trend has been holding for at least a month.

“We still need to be careful as we come into the fall, as we come into the flu season,” he told The Associated Press. “But thanks to the state of Michigan paying attention to this issue, prioritizing this issue — we have the most muscular response to racial disparities in the country — we can say that those disparities have flattened. That’s a testament to people of Michigan and the work of the experts on the task force.”

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