(CBS DETROIT) – As the coronavirus continues to grow in Michigan, one community has been devastated by the virus.

“Though black people make up 14% of the population in the State of Michigan, but thus far we have made up 40% of the people who have died of Covid-19,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist

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This disturbing trend of high death rates due to Covid-19 in black communities throughout the state, gained the attention of Governor Gretchen Whitmer. In order to address this serious issue, the governor created the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on racial disparities, lead by Gilchrist.

“To bring together a set of medical and public health experts as well as stake holders in the community to think about how we can directly and specifically work to decrease this mortality rate amongst black people and people of color,” said Gilchrist.

He says there are several contributing factors that puts black and minority communities at a higher mortality rate. One being pre-existing conditions that has plagued black communities for generations, like diabetes and high blood pressure. Also lack of proper healthcare and environmental factors.

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Gilchrist says he has experienced these disparities first-hand.

“I’ve lost 15 people in my life to Covid-19 and I have other friends and family members who have tested positive or who are in the hospital. So this is real for people and we need to act, we need to act as quickly as we responsibly can so we can make a difference,” he said.

Gilchrist says everyday matters in this pandemic and he wants to put intervention on the ground quickly. The task force will meet twice a week starting tomorrow.

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