In Milwaukee, the majority of the confirmed coronavirus cases are in the African-American community. More specifically, most of the cases involve middle-aged African-American men, health commissioner Jeanette Kowalik confirmed earlier this week.
Although Kowalik did not offer a specific number or percentage of the community that is impacted of the 158 cases that were confirmed as of Monday afternoon, health officials in the city are working to bring more awareness to the Black community to help with prevention, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
According to the report, a lot of those who tested positive in the city have not traveled abroad, with Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett saying that officials are trying to communicate “as fast as we can and as deeply as we can into these neighborhoods to let people know that this is not just about people who had been in China.”
Kowalik also emphasized that the city’s history of segregation could be a factor in the current concentration of cases.
“Looking at the maps of Milwaukee, and looking where people live, looking at the history of redlining and segregation and how that crosses over into today when we’re talking about various health outcomes like infant mortality, childhood lead poisoning, you see very similar distributions,” she told the Journal Sentinel.
The first three Milwaukee patients who died after contracting the virus were all Black men in their 50’s or 60’s. The patients did have underlying conditions, including high blood pressure or diabetes, the report notes.
To help spread correct information and bring more awareness about the virus, its symptoms and who it can affect and impact the most, health officials are planning to focus public service announcements on the Black community.
Kowalik also assured that officials will be focusing on the Latinx community as well, where cases have been surging.
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