The Milwaukee Health Department (MHD) rolled out a series of public service announcement (PSA) videos on March 26, with the goal of providing important information and guidance related to Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The City of Milwaukee has 304 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with the largest concentrations in Central City and North Side neighborhoods with a high density of African-American residents. PSA videos can be viewed and accessed by visiting

“While we are still gathering and analyzing all of the data, it is clear at this point that the communities being hit the hardest by this virus are those where there is a high density of African-American residents,” said Commissioner of Health Jeanette Kowalik. “African-Americans in Milwaukee also face other socioeconomic challenges that can impact a person’s health. We must remember now and in the future that public health goes beyond just diagnosis and treatment and should be considered more holistically.”

The PSA campaign features local community voices including MHD officials; Reggie Moore – Director, Office of Violence Prevention; Homer Blow – Program Director, WNOV; and others. Topics include the basics of COVID-19, prevention, what to do when sick, treatment, testing and more.

“With this virus now in our community and spreading person-to-person we are only as safe as those members who are most at risk, so we must make it a priority to lift those people up,” Commissioner Kowalik added. “This campaign was born out of the idea that we want to make sure those most impacted have accurate and trusted information to remain healthy and safe.”

The lack of bilingual information about the coronavirus has also been of concern for Milwaukee’s large Hispanic population. The local advocacy and service organization Forward Latino has been working with the Centers for Disease Control and Infections (CDC) over a week to address the problem, and help develop the much needed materials.

“We were concerned with the lack of Spanish language information that was being made available regarding the Coronavirus COVID-19, said Darryl Morin, President of Forward Latino. “With the support of Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin and U.S. Representative Gwen Moore, we have been able to secure important resources in Spanish.”

The materials include a complete library of Coronavirus information in Spanish, and the CDC is significantly increasing their Spanish social media presence on Twitter and Facebook. In addition, the CDC will now issue updated guidance in English and Spanish and publish on their website.

The Milwaukee Independent began reporting on what was then referred to as the mysterious “Wuhan Virus” in January 2020. Other local media did not picked-up on the story until many weeks later. Our early features focused on the economic impact, social issues, and health concerns long before other Milwaukee news organizations even mentioned the coronavirus. Over the following year, we have published hundreds of articles about the pandemic and how it has affected the lives of Milwaukee residents. This extensive body of work can be found on our COVID-19 Special Report page, a chronological index of links by month. Our editorial voice remains dedicated to informing the public about this health crisis for as long as it persists.
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