Racial health gap reflected in COVID-19's black community impact

As government and medical officials continue to combat COVID-19 a harsh reality is emerging in Michigan.

Pontiac Mayor Deirdre Waterman who is also a physician, spoke about the disproportionate numbers.

"Although the African-American population makes up 14 percent of state's population but we now have 33 percent of the infection and 40 percent of the deaths," Waterman said. "In some areas of country there is an even higher disproportion."
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan also tackled the topic earlier Thursday.

"What the coronavirus is doing is exacerbating the racial health gap that has existed in this country for a very long time," he said.

RELATED: Michigan confirms another 117 deaths, 1,158 cases of COVID-19 on Thursday

Duggan, who used to run the Detroit Medical Center also pointed to underlying medical conditions as a factor.
"The life expectancy of African Americans is shorter than it is for Caucasians," he said. "That chronic disease whether it be hypertension, diabetes, is much higher in the African-American community."
But one Michigan lawmaker who is now recovering from COVID 19 is pointing the finger at President Donald Trump.

"By failing to heed warnings he received about the crisis Donald Trump has failed black Michiganders," said Rep. Tyrone Carter. "He didn't create the virus; he didn't create racial disparity but he did let it become a crisis." 

Michigan Republicans disagree.

"Instead of solving the real issues that we should be focusing on, we're playing politics because that's what Democrats want to do," said Oakland County GOP leader Andrew "Rocky" Raczkowski.
One area all sides can agree on is that data needs to be collected to understand why COVID-19 is impacting African Americans at higher rates.

"I was really pleased today that the governor today established a task force on the racial disparities that are being exposed in this country by COVID-19."