By Senator Lena C. Taylor
During the Coronavirus pandemic, local residents are scrambling for the most current and accurate information. Often times, I will share news stories on social media to help disseminate information material quickly to constituents. It has been easy to share the link and hope that constituents will take the time to read a particular story. What I learned from residents is that many people don’t have paid subscriptions to online newspapers. Therefore, after viewing a limited number of free stories, readers were unable to log into critically needed material.
With business closings and record unemployment filings, many Wisconsinites are facing financial challenges during the Coronavirus and “Safer at Home” orders of the state. Yet, there is a real necessity to ask residents to stay at home to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. However, the lack of money should not be a barrier to keeping abreast of the most current news and updates on this current health crisis.
The information is coming non-stop and is constantly changing. For instance, Milwaukee County used the media to sound the alarm that an inordinate amount of positive cases of COVID-19 were located on the northside of Milwaukee. We learned that African American men were being hit hard by the pandemic and truth be told many of us knew three of the men who have since died. Understanding that Milwaukee’s Sherman Park and St. Joseph’s neighborhood had seven people within those bounds test positive for COVID-19—the highest number in Milwaukee County, so far. As a result of that information, residents in the impacted neighborhoods will likely engage differently.
It is for this reason that I appreciate that many news outlets, that have stepped forward to help the community have unfettered access to these updates. The decision, of local newspapers to provide all coronavirus coverage free of charge online, will allow readers to access up-to-date information on COVID-19, and how it’s impacting our local community. It is an important step to help slow the spread of the virus. As a result of their corporate leadership and the work of journalists committed to covering this pandemic, we are all better positioned to make informed decisions during this time. This access will save lives.