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CDC data shows people of color disproportionately impacted by coronavirus

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Posted at 5:14 AM, Jun 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-17 07:14:17-04

New statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show people of color are being disproportionately impacted by coronavirus.

Starting in August, along with a nasal swab, labs must also collect race and ethnicity data of those being tested for coronavirus.
This is a step the Trump administration is being criticized for not taking sooner.

"I personally want to apologize for the inadequacy of our response," said Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC.

The COVID-19 racial data tracker — a collaboration by the Antiracist Research and Policy Center and The COVID Tracking Project — is finding that black Americans are dying at rates nearly twice their population share.

In more than 40 states, Latino cases comprise more than their share of the population. Native Americans and Alaska natives are also being disproportionately impacted.

Dr. Utibe Essien, assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh, says we likely don't have the full picture yet. His analysis found many states have incomplete or no demographic data, making it difficult to distribute limited resources.

"Really this pandemic has laid bare the social inequalities in our system as a whole but particularly in our health system," Essien said.

In Buffalo, New York, Urban Family Practice's response in hard-hit minority communities has been driven by data to help determine where to dispatch mobile testing vans. The data also helps determine where to host community clinics and better address the needs of the families they serve with many living in multi-generational households.

"We knew about the generations, the essential workers, all that stuff we knew in march so we activated because we knew no one was going to do anything," said Dr. Raul Vazquez with Urban Family Practice.

The pandemic is revealing dangerous health inequalities, say those on the front lines, across the nation. The data reported by states will be stripped of identifying information and made public.

For more on the COVID-19 racial data tracker's breakdown, click here.