Hoyer Presses States to Collect Data on Racial Disparities and COVID-19
WASHINGTON – House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer urged the National Governors Association Friday to direct its members to collect demographic data on racial disparities and the coronavirus outbreak.
Hoyer’s request, directed to Govs. Larry Hogan, of Maryland, and Andrew Cuomo, of New York, the chair and vice chair, respectively, of the association, comes in the wake of mounting evidence that black and Latino communities in the U.S. are being particularly hard hit by the virus.
Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services have yet to release coronavirus data broken down by race, an analysis of state data conducted by the Associated Press found that nearly 3,300 of the nation’s 13,000 deaths thus far — about 42% — were black.
This at a time when blacks account for only about 21 percent of the total population in the areas covered by the analysis.
The AP’s analysis is one of the first attempts to examine the racial disparities of COVID-19 cases and deaths nationwide.
It involved examining more than 4,450 deaths and 52,000 COVID-19 cases from across the country, relying on the handful of state and local governments that have released victims’ race.
In New York State, Attorney General Letitia James said Wednesday that the state needs to do more to produce racial data after preliminary numbers showed 28% of coronavirus deaths in New York City were black and 34% were Latinos.
New York has the highest number of cases in the country and New York City alone has more cases than scores of states.
New York, however, has still not produced any racial breakdown of its cases.
James thanked Gov. Cuomo for his efforts to address the disparities, but said “we must all continue to do more.”
“Public health crises like this both reveal and exacerbate the depths of inequality in our society,” she said.
In his letter to the National Governors Association, Hoyer said if all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and all U.S. territories collected demographic data on those who become ill or die during the viral outbreak, it will “help us better understand and address these racial disparities in the coronavirus pandemic in our country.”
Addressing the recipients personally, he added, “Both of you have been at the forefront of addressing this pandemic and setting an example of leadership in the face of this emergency. I hope you will help lead the way on tackling this facet of the pandemic as well.”
Hoyer said he and several of his congressional colleagues are already working to raise awareness of these disparities, and to find ways to spread the word in African-American and Latino communities about the dangers of COVID-19 and the importance of social and physical distancing to stop its spread.
“Sadly, much misinformation that circulated in these communities early on in this crisis makes it even more critical that we act quickly to ensure that they have enough resources to fight back against the virus,” Hoyer said.
In The News
WASHINGTON - House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters at his weekly pen and pad session that the House will vote later this month to remove the bust of Chief Justice Roger Taney from the U.S. Capitol. Taney wrote the infamous majority opinion in the 1857... Read More
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court on Monday struck down a Louisiana law regulating abortion clinics, reasserting a commitment to abortion rights in the first big abortion case of the Trump era. Chief Justice John Roberts joined with the liberal wing of the court in ruling that... Read More
Climate change is increasing the likelihood of low birth weights, premature births, and stillbirths in minority communities, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study’s authors said while they found detrimental impacts to to pregnancy among all populations,... Read More
WASHINGTON - A policing reform bill proposed by the Senate's lone Black Republican failed to garner enough votes to pass on Wednesday after Senate Democrats said its proposed reforms didn't go far enough in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd and other African Americans... Read More
WASHINGTON - New legislation would commemorate June 19 as a federal holiday 155 years after Major Gen. Gordon Granger issued the order signifying the end of slavery in the United States. In accordance with the Emancipation Proclamation, in 1865 Granger would give “General Order No. 3”... Read More
WASHINGTON - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Thursday ordered the removal of four portraits in the Capitol of previous House Speakers who served in the Confederacy. The move is the latest in her effort to expunge honorifics for Confederate figures from the Capitol complex. Last... Read More