NewsHealth / April 14, 2020

Indiana Black Caucus Makes Recommendations To Address COVID-19 Racial Disparities

Article origination IPBS-RJC
Indiana Black Legislative Caucus Chair Rep. Robin Shackleford (D-Indianapolis) says the reasons for COVID-19 racial disparities are systemic. - Screenshot of Zoom call

Indiana Black Legislative Caucus Chair Rep. Robin Shackleford (D-Indianapolis) says the reasons for COVID-19 racial disparities are systemic.

Screenshot of Zoom call

The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus has recommendations for the governor on addressing the disparate impact of COVID-19 on the African American community.

Black Hoosiers account for about 18 percent of COVID-19 cases and more than 20 percent of deaths from the virus. Yet African Americans make up less than 10 percent of the state’s population. And many expect those numbers are actually much worse – the data is largely incomplete.

Indiana Black Caucus Chair Rep. Robin Shackleford (D-Indianapolis) says the reasons for the disparity are systemic.

“Socioeconomic and poverty issues, systematic racism, housing disparities, food and pharmacy deserts,” Shackleford says.

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Among the things Shackleford says the caucus recommends: targeted treatment and testing for COVID-19 in African American communities, racial bias training for health care workers, and expansive paid leave for workers.

“Low wage workers are not only contracting the virus at higher rates, but they are also exposing others because they come to work sick or they go home sick," Shackleford says. "Most cannot afford to miss a day at work.”

Black caucus leaders say they have a good relationship with Gov. Eric Holcomb and hope he’ll consider the recommendations.

Contact Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

This is a rapidly evolving story, and we are working hard to bring you the most up-to-date information. However, we recommend checking the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Indiana State Department of Health for the most recent numbers of COVID-19 cases.

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