The COVID-19 crisis is highlighting the health disparities of disadvantaged and underserved communities. In particular, black and brown people. As the virus spreads rapidly across the nation, Democratic lawmakers are calling on the government to collect racial data on the viral outbreak. There are now over 200,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in America and over 4,000 people have lost their battle to the virus.
PBS originally reported:
In a letter sent Friday to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, both from Massachusetts, said comprehensive demographic data on people who are tested or treated for the virus that causes COVID-19 does not exist. Over the weekend, cities with large black and nonwhite Hispanic populations emerged as new hot spots for the spread of the virus.
“Any attempt to contain COVID-19 in the United States will have to address its potential spread in low-income communities of color, first and foremost to protect the lives of people in those communities, but also to slow the spread of the virus in the country as a whole,” the lawmakers wrote to Azar.
“This lack of information will exacerbate existing health disparities and result in the loss of lives in vulnerable communities,” the letter warned.
While New York City is the epicenter of breakouts in the U.S with more than 83,000 cases, black and brown communities in Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans, and Milwaukee have confirmed a significant amount of cases over the past few weeks. And there have been reports that black and brown people are facing challenges getting tested for the virus.
Given the history of healthcare and the unique health disparities that black and brown people face, lawmakers want to ensure that access to healthcare.
This call for action was made and legislators are hopeful for a positive outcome.
For the latest updates on how the health crisis is impacting the black community, click here.