A group of Democratic lawmakers expressed their concern over the seeming lack of racial data when it comes to testing and treatment for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
According to the Associated Press, on Friday, Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Robin Kelly (D-IL) all signed off on a letter sent to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, demanding more comprehensive demographic data around the issue, especially as largely Black and non-White Hispanic populations began to pop up as 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 Democrats emphasized, according to the letter that was shared with the AP. “This lack of information will exacerbate existing health disparities and result in the loss of lives in vulnerable communities.”
The Democrats, which include the three senators who attempted to run for president for this year’s election, encouraged Azar to order subagencies, such as the Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention to make sure the relevant data is being collected across municipalities, states and even within private labs.
“Decades of structural racism have prevented so many Black and Brown families from accessing quality health care, affordable housing, and financial security, and the coronavirus crisis is blowing these disparities wide open,” Warren said in a statement, according to the report. “We need the government to step up in a big way to ensure that communities of color have equal access to free testing and treatment.”
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