The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act requires the Trump administration to submit reports on coronavirus testing that includes available “data on demographic characteristics, including in a de-identified and disaggregated manner, race, ethnicity, age, sex, geographic region, and other relevant factors of individuals tested for or diagnosed with COVID-19,” and “information on the number and rates of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths as a result of COVID-19.”
The four-page report from CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield acknowledged that there are disparities in how minority groups are affected by the virus but contained no new or original data. Furthermore, the included list of six different items with links to CDC data didn’t differentiate data by race.
“What Congress required was a comprehensive report on health disparities related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), a ranking member of the Senate health committee, said. “What we got from President Trump was a lazy, four-page copy and paste project that links to a handful of limited, previously available data sets. 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.”
‘Woefully inadequate and completely unacceptable’
Data has shown that blacks and other minority groups have been hit particularly hard by the virus in some parts of the U.S. In New York City, for example, coronavirus has killed blacks and Latinos at twice the rate of whites.
Majority-black counties are three times more likely to have coronavirus cases and have almost six times the death rate as white-majority counties. In Louisiana, in particular, 70% of more than 1,600 coronavirus fatalities are African Americans, even though they are just 32% of the state’s population.
Congressional Democrats had been calling on the White House to step up their efforts to help vulnerable minority communities. But according to Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the Trump administration’s report is “woefully inadequate and completely unacceptable.”
Most cities and states haven’t been reporting race when they provide case and fatality counts, complicating the task.
“Congress mandated this report in order to better understand how the coronavirus impacts different demographic groups with the intention of using that information to provide resources and support to help close gaps in COVID-19 health outcomes,” Pallone stated in a press release.
The statement added that “instead of compiling a comprehensive report, the Trump administration chose to provide Congress with a few website links to already existing and incomplete demographic data sets. There’s no context or explanation regarding missing elements required by the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act.”
Pallone concluded that the result “leaves both Congress and the American people in the dark.”
Adriana is a reporter and editor for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @adrianambells.