WASHINGTON, D.C. – During yesterday’s House Appropriations subcommittee hearing, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield lamented the Trump administration’s failure to properly collect and report on racial disparities in COVID-19 patients and the negative impact it had on states’ ability to properly protect and support black lives during the pandemic crisis. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) stated yesterday that it would finally require labs to report patients’ race, ethnicity, age and ZIP code to the CDC, nearly six months after the first reported U.S. COVID-19 case.
Trump's Inability To Protect Black Lives
“The Trump administration’s lack of urgency, strategy, and transparency has had a direct and disastrous impact on the ability of states to protect communities of color during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US. “The clear majority of the country believes that Black lives matter — be it regarding health outcomes or police brutality — but President Trump’s utter abandonment of majority Black communities across the U.S. during these public health and economic crises signals that his priorities lie elsewhere.”
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As Politico reports, lawmakers criticized the CDC’s four-page report on racial disparities in cases of the coronavirus for including “outdated and incomplete information.”
In response to ongoing concerns about how the Trump administration has distributed resources to health care providers across the nation, government watchdog Accountable.US filed open records requests in Florida, Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota to obtain information about potential disparities in resource allocation between whiter communities and majority-minority communities.
Inadequate Pandemic Response
At the hearing, Redfield said he wanted to “apologize for the inadequacy” of his agency’s response. This administration’s inadequate pandemic response, compounded with decades-long under-investments in Black and brown communities and persistent systemic racism, have contributed to disparities including:
- In New York City, the epicenter of the COVID pandemic in the United States, Black and Latino Americans being hospitalized for COVID-19 at twice the rate of white Americans;
- While Trump proudly touted the U.S. unemployment rate today, he failed to address that unemployment for Black Americans reached a record high this month — a staggering 16.8%, the highest in over a decade;
- According to a Foundation for Aids Research study last month, disproportionately Black counties “account for over half of coronavirus cases in the U.S. and nearly 60% of deaths”; and
- Devastating rates of COVID-19 death for Black Americans potentially reaching three times the rate of white Americans.