LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Congressman Steven Horsford (NV-04) introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives Tuesday to highlight the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus pandemic on communities of color across the United States. The Congressman also cosponsored the Equitable Data Collection and Disclosure on COVID-19 Act, to collect the data on and publicly report racial and ethnic demographic information related to COVID-19 testing, hospitalizations, and mortality.
“During this National Minority Health Month, we must ensure that people of color in our country have access to the quality health care that every American deserves. Health care disparities have long-plagued communities of color across the country, and the chasm in care quality is now exasperated by the ongoing spread of COVID-19,” Congressman Horsford said. “It is unacceptable that across the country, people of color are disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus, and are more likely to have negative outcomes if they fall ill–and that we do not have the full extent of the data needed to understand the health disparities currently present in our country. This resolution and legislation reinforces that the color of one’s skin should not impact their access to quality care or whether they survive a global health crisis.”Congressman Steven Horsford, D-NV
Currently, the CDC is not regularly collecting and reporting data on the racial and ethnic demographics of persons tested and treated for COVID-19, Horsford’s office said. To date, at least eleven states have begun releasing preliminary racial data, including Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. The preliminary data depicts strong racial disparities in COVID-19 outcomes that are likely occurring nationwide.
Health experts say the coronavirus pandemic has particularly affected Black communities across the country. To date, the novel coronavirus has infected over 350,000 people in the United States, with over 12,000 deaths. About 1 in 3 people who become sick enough to require hospitalization from COVID-19 are Black Americans, according to hospital data from the first month of the U.S. epidemic released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to Horsford’s office, even though 33 percent of those hospitalized patients were Black, African Americans it constitute 13 percent of the U.S. population. By contrast, the report found that 45 percent of hospitalizations were among white people, who make up 76 percent of the population. In Clark County, white Nevadans account for 21 percent of coronavirus cases, despite comprising 42 percent of the county’s total population.