Editorial: Black people must decide for themselves what’s safe!

Gradually states across the country are lowering their stay-at-home restrictions and allowing specific business and public facilities to open their doors despite the extraordinary number of Americans stricken by COVID-19 and the risks to the general public. It’s a conundrum most Americans face which has been exacerbated by inept leadership, particularly on a national level.

President Donald Trump has given many mixed signals from the very beginning of this health crisis. In the beginning, he described the coronavirus as a hoax created by the Democrats in efforts to thwart the upcoming election. The White House Coronavirus Task Force has the task of keeping the American people safe from the virus, as well as protecting them from Trump’s ridiculous proclamations. The Task Force is still reeling from Trump’s recent insane suggestion to inject or ingest disinfectant to cure coronavirus.

To make matters worse, governors in eight states, with seven more to follow on April 30, are opening their doors and leaving constituents to their own devices to determine if it’s safe. And it’s hard not to question whether recent reports that the virus disproportionately affects African Americans have given other Americans a false sense of security.

Dr. Reed Tuckson, former D.C. health director and currently managing director of Tuckson Health Connections, LLC, recently established the Black Coalition Against COVID. Ambrose Lane Jr., chairman of Health Alliance Network, has joined forces. The message, Tuckson told members during a recent meeting of the Anacostia Coordinating Council in Southeast, is that Black people must understand that COVID-19 is still a severe disease and it will remain so for the next two years. He says not only should leaders in African American communities raise their voices and attack the reopening of cities but they have to communicate in a manner of love and respect to intervene on their community’s behalf.

Tuckson warned that African Americans’ long history of distrust of the government and government intervention, along with its distrust of the medical community “will kill us.” He said African Americans must sign up to become contact tracing monitors and participate in clinical trials for a vaccine. Without their participation, Black people will continue to be disproportionately impacted by this deadly disease and by whatever may come next. He is correct.

(Reprinted from the Washington Informer)

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