BALTIMORE (AP) — The NAACP in Baltimore has started circulating a sound truck blasting requests to “stay-at-home” during the coronavirus pandemic.
The truck, which features messages from local celebrities, politicians and athletes, has started driving around areas where residents have continued to gather despite Gov. Larry Hogan’s stay-at-home order, The Baltimore Sun reported. The messages tell people to remain in their homes when possible, practice social-distancing guidelines, wash their hands frequently and wear masks.
Spokesman Joshua Harris said the 40-foot sound truck made its first rounds on Wednesday and will target low-income and “hard to reach” areas of the city for six to eight hours a day in the upcoming weeks.
“It’s clear that the mobile education unit grabs the attention of people who are not at home,” said the Rev. Kobi Little, president of the NAACP’s Baltimore branch.
They’re focused on giving information about the virus outbreak to people who aren’t tuning in for public health updates on the news or social media.
Baltimore Health Commissioner Letitia Dzirasa said there has also been prevalent misinformation that the virus does not affect African-Americans, who make up 60% of the city’s population.
Across the nation, African-Americans are being disproportionately harmed by the virus. According to the latest figures from the Maryland Department of Health, black people represent about half of the state’s 10,784 cases and 459 deaths.
African-Americans also account for 25 of the 36 deaths related to coronavirus in Baltimore, according to the city’s Health department.
The truck represents the first part of NAACP’s “#StayHomeBaltimore” campaign. The second will include local celebrities and influencers who will share virus safety messages on social media.
The Baltimore Police Department also has recordings that broadcast social-distancing guidelines to people who gather in the city.
Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
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