Whitmer takes steps to combat racism, reports case plateau

By David Eggert
Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday announced additional steps to combat racism, declaring it a public health crisis and ordering state employees to complete implicit bias training as the state confronts what she called systemic inequities highlighted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The governor also created an advisory council of Black leaders.

“We have a lot of work to do to eradicate the systemic racism that Black Americans have faced for generations. That’s going to take time,” she said at a news conference updating the public on the COVID-19 outbreak.

Black people account for 39% of Michigan’s nearly 6,500 confirmed and probable deaths related to COVID despite making up 14% of the population. In cases where race and ethnicity are known, the infection rate among Black residents is 14,703 per 1 million compared to 4,160 for white residents.

Whitmer said the overall daily count of new cases has plateaued recently, but she wants to see a decrease. “Now is no time to spike the football,” the Democrat said on a day Detroit’s casinos were allowed to reopen after being closed since March.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive, said ideally the state would see under 10 new daily cases per million people per day and “a trend that continues in that way.” The seven-day average was roughly 38 as of Sunday.


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