Atlanta Mayor Bottoms issues orders to address racial disparities amid COVID-19 pandemic

Keisha Lance Bottoms 11
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“The color of one’s skin or ZIP code should not determine the state of your health or the length of your life.”

–Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms 

ATLANTA—Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has issued an Administrative Order to address the racial and ethnic disparities underscored by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bottoms’ order includes the development of a detailed report examining racial and ethnic disparities in the City of Atlanta and a series of virtual town halls. The first town hall is set for Saturday, Oct. 10, World Mental Health Day. The discussion will center around COVID-19 and emotional wellness among women.

Based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, social and structural factors place Blacks, Hispanics, Latinos, and American Indian or Alaska Natives at an increased risk for COVID-19. These communities are diagnosed, hospitalized, or killed by COVID-19 at higher rates than other racial and ethnic groups, Bottoms said.

“Systemic racism and healthcare inequities continue to ravage communities of color in what could be the most devastating public health crisis of our lifetime,” said Mayor Bottoms. “The color of one’s skin or ZIP code should not determine the state of your health or the length of your life. We are taking action to improve the well-being of all Atlantans and to ensure this form of racial injustice is a thing of the past.”

Bottoms’ Administrative Order directs the City’s Chief Health Officer to:

  • Develop and publicize a report on COVID-19 racial and ethnic disparities in the City of Atlanta;
  • Convene an advisory council of community partners to outline recommendations to address the COVID-19 racial and ethnic disparities identified in the report;
  • Establish a COVID-19 mask campaign to promote awareness about COVID-19 disparities among the most vulnerable populations; and
  • Schedule and plan a series of virtual town hall discussions concerning the effects of COVID-19.

Administrative Order 2020-37 can be viewed online here.

A comprehensive list of actions taken by Mayor Bottoms during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found online here.

The City has also posted prevention information and additional resources related to COVID-19 on its ATLStrong website here.

Chief among the City’s guidance to residents and visitors are the following preventative measures:

  • Wear a face mask or covering if you leave your home.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • If you have recently returned from a country with ongoing COVID-19 infections, monitor your health and follow the instructions of public health officials.

Additional recommended CDC safety guidelines can be found online here.

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