Guest Post

Brandon Brice: The aftermath of COVID-19 suggests a new direction needed for Metro Detroit (Wayne County)

Brandon Brice: The aftermath of COVID-19 suggests a new direction needed for Metro Detroit (Wayne County)

A New Direction

Millions of Americans are struggling with health and finances during the pandemic, but those in minority communities could be the hardest hit.

New information released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that patients with underlying health issues in the U.S. are most likely to need hospital treatment or an intensive care unit.

They also have a higher likelihood of dying according to earlier epidemiological data from the U.S. and China.

One question on many people’s minds is what’s in the cards for Metro Detroit in the midst of the pandemic — and how will people recover?

This has West Side native and political commentator Brandon Brice concerned that a new direction is needed for Metro Detroit.

A Major Crisis

In a video interview with One Detroit, Brice said: “This is a crisis on top of a crisis.”

“What coronavirus has done is shown the major gaps not only in our healthcare system, but it has also exposed poverty.”

“You can’t tell people to wash their hands when people don’t have running water,” says Brice.

Brice says the pandemic is beginning to feel real to Detroiters who are losing people they care about to the virus. “As more Detroiters begin to lose relatives, friends and colleagues, they’re going to realize it’s not the governor asking you, it’s the governor telling you to stay at home,” says Brice.

“As more people begin to realize people close to them have the virus, they will begin to take it more seriously.”

Brice says at this stage, Metro Detroiters want to know the truth and critical information so that they can keep their friends, neighbors and family safe. He says the real heroes are the doctors, nurses and postal workers.

“These people are already at ground zero and we need to give them a big thanks.” On the flip side, Brice says this virus is going to have major consequences on the redevelopment and investment projects in the city.

He says people may need to consider a new direction for leadership in their communities. “Some of these small businesses may not recover, so how are we preparing the next generation of workers in Metro Detroit?”

The Local Economy

“Coronavirus highlighted the plight many metro Detroiters already knew existed,” says Brice. He says it’s the local government’s responsibility, not just to look after and protect the economy, but to provide access to quality and affordable healthcare.

He says it’s also important to get Metro Detroiters back to work as soon as it’s safe in order to create sustainable communities. “Some metro Detroiters that have known poverty, plight, crime and underdevelopment will most likely continue with the status quo, in survival mode,” says Brice.

“However, the ‘New Detroiters’ that are a part of the city’s economic renaissance will struggle in this crisis and their businesses will suffer.”

Back to the Basics

“We need to be looking at planning and budgeting,” says Brice. Brice says this is a time when families need to hold back so they can make ends meet. “My biggest concern is that people will get their stimulus checks and spend them or run through them.”

Brice says this is a time people need to get back to the basics and focus on simple essentials like groceries and day-to-day living needs. “They used to say when we were kids: ‘not the things you want, but the things you need’.”

The Upside

Brice says one of the upsides of the crisis is that it brings families together. “Families are coming together, sticking together,” says Brice. “In the end it makes America, Michiganders and Detroiters a lot stronger to know no matter our differences, we’re still a family and at the end of the day, we’re still Americans.”

At the same time, Brice still thinks it’s important for Metro-Detroiters to understand the magnitude of the pandemic and educate themselves about their local government. He says many residents don’t know who their elected official is and what services the government can provide.

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