Chicago mayor: 'Hyper-local focus' needed to address coronavirus racial disparities

Chicago mayor: 'Hyper-local focus' needed to address coronavirus racial disparities

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) on Sunday addressed racial disparities in coronavirus mortality, which have emerged nationwide but have been particularly pronounced in Chicago, where it has killed black residents at nearly six times the rate of white residents.

While Lightfoot said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that the disparities are “an issue that’s not unique to Chicago,” she outlined several steps the city has taken to address them, including deliberately collecting demographic data during testing and creating a “racial equity rapid response team” that will collect and share such data.

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“You start by making sure that you’ve got the data,” Lightfoot said, adding that “we are going all in on a hyper-local focus.”

CBS’ Margaret Brennan noted that African Americans also make up a large portion of workers deemed essential, including public transit workers, and asked Lightfoot who was responsible for such workers’ protection.

“I think it starts with the employer; we’re calling these people to work, we have a responsibility to make sure they’re taken care of … whether it’s our city employees, our sanitation workers, our public transportation workers,” Lightfoot responded.

Addressing lingering questions about when the U.S. and local economies could reopen, Lightfoot agreed with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D), who appeared in the preceding segment, saying “we cannot open up the economy until we make sure that we’ve got all the health care controls in place.”

“We’ve got to see not just a flattening of the curve but a bending down,” she added. “We’re trending in the right direction, but we’ve got to see a lot more progress on the health care front.”