Milwaukee Leaders Launching Coronavirus Awareness Campaign Focused on African Americans

State Rep. David Bowen and U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore are urging members of the Milwaukee community to take stay-at-home orders seriously to blunt the spread of coronavirus in the city. (Photo: Journal Sentinel files)

Milwaukee leaders are launching a public awareness campaign about coronavirus symptoms and prevention that is focused on African Americans as they work to determine why a number of confirmed cases are clustered on the city’s north side, officials say.

During an online news conference with reporters, Milwaukee Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik said that of the city’s approximately 250 confirmed cases as of Wednesday afternoon, more than half involve African Americans.

Kowalik later said that of the 248 confirmed coronavirus cases reported as of 3 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, 52% of them involve African Americans. While that’s just slightly more than half of the cases, it’s important to note that African Americans make up about 39% of the city’s population.

What percentage of the total people who have been tested in the county were African American was not immediately available.

The seven people who died in Milwaukee County as of Thursday afternoon are African American.

“The deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) is spreading fast among Milwaukee’s African American population, and it has already claimed the lives of several African American men here,” Milwaukee Ald. Russell W. Stampe, II, said in a statement Thursday. “But those deaths — and a strict citywide Stay-at-Home order — don’t seem to be getting the attention of enough people in the community.

“The coronavirus pandemic is deadly serious, and all Milwaukee residents need to start getting the message IMMEDIATELY!”

As officials work to track the clusters on the north side — including looking at whether people were exposed at a specific event or gathering — they said they want to get the word out quickly that coronavirus is spreading in the community.

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Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel