By: Richard Prince, Journal-isms

Dorothy Tucker, investigative reporter for WBBM-TV in Chicago and president of the National Association of Black Journalists, recently announced that she has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus but has “fully recovered, and my family did not have any symptoms.”

Tucker, who turned 64 on Monday, wrote, “I only experienced mild symptoms — a low-grade fever and a couple of days of fatigue. That was it. “Because of my past travels, I have no idea where I contracted the virus.”

She told Journal-isms by telephone that she “wanted to wait until my husband and my daughter did not have any symptoms” before making an announcement.

Tucker did not want to disclose personal details such as what prompted her to be tested.

What’s most important, she said, is that NABJ members be mindful of their safety and that they take care of themselves. “I was very fortunate,” Tucker added.

“My experience is a reminder that we must be mindful of our health and self-care,” she wrote to members. “Please remember that it is OK to respectfully decline any assignment that makes you feel uncomfortable.

“Make sure you wear protective gear at all times and practice social distancing. We need you healthy so you can continue to do great work. Please join me in sending well wishes to our members who are still recovering from the coronavirus. . . .”

Apart from Tucker’s case, the Chicago city government reported Wednesday that “There have been 10,264 cases of COVID-19 identified in Chicago residents so far and 24,593 in Illinois.” Latinx fatalities were 21.7 percent of the total and black, non-Latinx people were 48.3 percent.

In addition to having more of the underlying conditions that permit COVID-19 to take hold, African Americans are said to have higher rates in part because they did not see themselves in the early news coverage. Some believed they would not be affected.

Actress Kerry Washington said April 6 on NPR’s “Fresh Air,” for example, “It speaks to kind of how separate our communities remain in this country and how… There’s a huge gap between worlds in a lot of ways that we don’t always — if we watch the news and we don’t see somebody who looks exactly like us, we don’t necessarily think that it has to do with us.”

Journalism associations, including NABJ, have been conducting webinars related to how journalists are
affected by the coronavirus. NABJ plans to also hold a Webinar titled: “What To Do If You’re Laid Off During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

The Native American Journalists Association messaged members Wednesday that “NAJA wants to know what you are experiencing professionally and personally due to COVID-19 and how we might support our members during this challenging time.” It asked members to respond to a NAJA survey.

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