"This racism that exists - it translates into different numbers for our fellow Minnesotans"

Sep 30, 2020

Credit Matthew Henry/Burst

Efforts to remedy one of the banes of 2020 fell victim to another one in Minnesota this month.

Public health workers, driving marked vehicles and wearing vests and identification, were tasked by the CDC and the Minnesota Department of Health to conduct Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER) surveys this month.

But the CDC pulled the survey crews out of Minnesota after a series of incidents involving racist remarks and intimidation.

"Unfortunately - really, really unfortunately - the public health workers, while going door-to-door to get this information and offer free testing that's hard to get because of low supplies in the state - were subjected to racial slurs and intimidation.  Intimidation puts it mildly; people were threatened.  It gives me goosebumps."

Epidemiologist Dr. Catherine McCarty says the information the survey crews were collecting was information doctors and researchers really need to help fight the coronavirus pandemic.