Members of Congress have called a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report on the racial and ethnic deaths related to the coronavirus, “lazy.”
According to BuzzFeed, Congress asked the CDC to collect national data on the race and ethnicity of coronavirus cases and deaths and set Wednesday as a deadline. The agency responded March 15, which primarily featured a page of links that referred back to its public website.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) tweeted last week that the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the CDC, should be ashamed.
“HHS should be embarrassed by the lazy, incomplete, 2.5-page copy-and-paste job it calls a “report” on the racial disparities of COVID-19 cases,” Warren tweeted. “I’m going to keep fighting until we get this monthly demographic data as required by law.”
The director of the CDC, Dr. Robert Redfield, sent the report to Congress on March 15, which includes a link to the CDC’s data on coronavirus cases and deaths in the U.S. However, the data only includes racial and ethnic information on less than half of the country’s 1.7 million positive cases.
The report also includes a page on hospitalizations broken down by race and ethnicity, but that page only includes data from specific network hospitals in 14 states. That data breaks down to about 10% of the U.S. population. The CDC also didn’t respond to questions on how the data was obtained or how long it will take to update the data.
“This wholly inadequate response tells us nothing except what we already knew: the Trump Administration would prefer to ignore the disproportionate impact this crisis is having on communities of color,” Sen. Patty Murray, the lead Democrat on the Senate Health Committee, said in a released statement.
Redfield did say in the report that CDC data does suggest “a disproportionate burden of illness and death among racial and ethnic minority groups,” adding that “studies are underway to confirm these data.”
However, it was not specified what studies are being conducted.
African Americans and Latino Americans are getting infected and dying of coronavirus at a faster rate than other races. The inability to telecommute for work, being forced to interact with the public in jobs that place them on the front lines, and a lack of adequate health coverage all increase the risk of getting infected.