Patchwork recordkeeping has hampered the US response to COVID-19’s disproportionate toll on communities of color.
About half of recorded COVID-19 cases are missing race and ethnicity data, Science reports—but local snapshots offer a microcosm of the problem:
- In Philadelphia, Black and Latino pregnant women are 5X more likely to be exposed to COVID-19 than their white counterparts, according to preliminary findings reported in the New York Times.
- In Illinois, where Latinos have the highest COVID-19 infection rates, many Latinos have been counted as non-Hispanic white, The Washington Post reports.
While new federal guidance requires COVID-19 testing labs to report race and ethnicity information to the government starting August 1, that decision came late in the game.
The CDC’s missteps in addressing COVID-19’s impact on communities of color comes amid “ongoing and recurring acts of racism and discrimination” at the agency itself, according to a letter signed by 1,000+ current CDC employees, NPR reports.