People wait to be tested for COVID-19 at a mobile testing station in a public school parking area in Compton, California, just south of Los Angeles, on April 28, 2020. - St. John's Well Child and Family Center is providing COVID-19 testing sites in African-American and Latino communities which have been neglected in terms of testing as compared to wealthier areas of Los Angeles County. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

Documenting Disparity: The Challenges of Collecting Racial Data on Coronavirus

April 29, 2020

As of April 15, each of the nine people known to have died from coronavirus in Richmond, Virginia, was Black.

It’s a dire statistic—and part of a growing mountain of data proving just how prevalent and deadly COVID-19 is in communities of color, which already had less healthcare access pre-pandemic.

Earlier this month, reports from Louisiana showed that Black people made up 70 percent of deaths, compared to their 30 percent share of the population. Also in early April, Latinx people constituted 33 percent of coronavirus fatalities in New York City. Black Chicagoans are dying at a rate six times higher than their White neighbors. In New Mexico, Native Americans are less than 10 percent of the population, but a third of confirmed coronavirus cases. And Asian-Americans are slightly more likely to die from the virus than their White counterparts.

But that data mountain about disparities isn’t growing fast or evenly enough. Last week, Congress passed a $480-billion dollar coronavirus relief package that included a provision to collect and publish information about how coronavirus has affected all Americans. It built off the Equitable Data Collection and Disclosure on COVID-19 Act, previously introduced by Rep. Robin Kelly of Illinois and scores of other congressional Democrats. The relief package will require the Department of Health and Human Services and associated agencies such as its Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to collect and report data to be broken down by “race, ethnicity, age, sex, geographic region, and other relevant factors.”

Read full article at Colorlines