Graham Kilmer

David Bowen, Gwen Moore Talk COVID-19 From Quarantine

Two black political leaders share their story and why social distancing is key.

By - Mar 26th, 2020 07:52 am
Rep. David Bowen and Congresswoman Gwen Moore participating in a conference call via Zoom.

Rep. David Bowen and Congresswoman Gwen Moore participating in a conference call via Zoom.

Two Wisconsin politicians are speaking up about the importance of social distancing, as COVID-19 erupts in their districts and across the country.

State Rep. David Bowen represents District 10, which includes some of the hardest hit areas of Milwaukee County for COVID-19. And he himself has tested positive for the disease. Bowen said he was exposed to the virus in a rather innocuous way, underscoring how easily transmitted it is.

“Really to think nothing of it,” he said. “You see a friend in a cafe, you sit down, you talk… it is a lot more dangerous than a lot of us think.”

Bowen said he thinks there are many in the community who aren’t taking the virus as seriously as they need to be. “If it is not essential for you to head out of the door, something that has nothing to do with groceries or essentials with medical needs, please make sure you are staying home.”

Staying home, health and government officials have repeatedly said, is the number one way that lives will be saved during this pandemic. It is the most reliable thing the public can do to lessen the burden on health care workers and first responders dealing with COVID-19, as infections rapidly escalate locally and around the country.

“It started for me with body aches not being able to get warm,” said Bown of his infection. “I was literally walking around my house with a winter hat on and the heat on blast.” He said it the impact could then be felt in his lungs. “Thank God I do not have asthma, but there are a lot of people in our community that do.”

There are 343 cases in Milwaukee County, with 267 cases in the City of Milwaukee as of Thursday morning. And the positivity rate for COVID-19 tests is rising, according to Jeanette Kowalik, health commissioner for the City of Milwaukee. On top of that, the latest data from the State of Wisconsin suggests the spread of COVID-19 is accelerating.

U.S. Congresswoman Rep. Gwen Moore said, “I am really taking the stay at home message to heart.” She has self-quarantined after having been exposed to someone with the virus. Moore said she has lost count of the number of contacts she’s had with people who were later diagnosed with COVID-19.

She is a cancer survivor, which puts her at high risk for health complications from COVID-19. “I am doing very well on oral medication, chemo treatment. But what this means is I have a deficient immune system,” Moore noted.

Bowen and Moore both lamented the high rate of infection on Milwaukee’s North Side among the city’s African-American community. Bowen noted that while he is feeling better, the disease has already taken someone he knew. “My mentor Lenard Wells, who also contracted the virus, did not survive.”

Wells was a professor, former police officer for the City of Milwaukee and highly-regarded advocate for racial equity. He was 69, when he succumbed to health complications from COVID-19, the Journal Sentinel reported.

African-American men have the highest rate of infection in the city right now. Kowalik said the racial disparities in COVID-19 appear to mirror general racial health disparities that are the legacy of racism and segregation in cities like Milwaukee.

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Categories: Health, Politics

2 thoughts on “David Bowen, Gwen Moore Talk COVID-19 From Quarantine”

  1. agoodings says:

    David Bowen, Gwen Moore Talk COVID-19 From Quarantine

    Two black political leaders share their stories and why social distancing is key.

    David, I find it disturbing, uncomfortable, polarizing to use phase Two “Black” political leaders. Why can’t you describe the individuals as Two political leaders, your readers are smart enough to get the picture. On the other hand, If they were “White,” you would not describe them that way, that would be uncomfortable, uncivilized behavior. However, I celebrate with you for this sentence. Two Wisconsin politicians are speaking up about the importance of social distancing, as COVID-19 erupts in their districts and across the country. I believe your intentions are pure, but conflicted messages divide our nation. We are one nation under God indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
    A Goodings.

  2. Bruce Murphy says:

    A Goodings, you raise a good point. They are political leaders, not simply “black” political leaders, though in this case they are addressing an issue of particular interest to African Americans, since the COVID-19 pandemic is having most of its impact so far on Milwaukee’s black population. As you may have seen, we have written about this disparate impact in several stories, and we are doing all we can to get the message out that social distancing has to be practiced. And it was with that worrisome trend in mind that we used a racial identifier in the subhead.

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