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April 24, 2020

Chairwoman Johnson Statement on the Need for Racial and Ethnic Data Concerning COVID-19 Tests, Diagnoses, and Treatments

(Dallas, TX) – Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the first Federal report showing that people of color are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Particularly, this early data shows that minority populations are being hospitalized and dying at higher rates than others living in the very same town, city, or state. Pre-existing health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease can lead to more severe complications if a person is infected by COVID-19. Food insecurity, unemployment or limited job opportunities, housing and working conditions, and lack of access to health care can also worsen health outcomes.

Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) made the following statement.

“We’ve begun to see how longstanding health and economic disparities in the United States are accelerating the effects of COVID-19 in vulnerable communities. To make the best-informed decisions on this issue Congress needs sound data science. However, the reports coming in are inconsistent and sporadic. I’m all too familiar with how gaps in data and research can limit our ability to provide relief to those most affected. We need accurate data collection to ensure communities of color, tribal communities, and other vulnerable populations can access testing and treatment services, minimize exposure, and be included in clinical trials down the road. Furthermore, we must assess whether the Federal research enterprise is being leveraged as effectively as possible to understand the challenges and inequities facing people of color during this pandemic. COVID-19 does not discriminate and neither should our response.”