Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is demanding the racial data of those contracting the novel coronavirus, contending that it is “critical to ensuring an equitable and just response to this crisis across the board.”
While the virus appears to be no respecter of persons, infecting more than one million people globally, Warren believes it is “critical” to have racial data to properly respond to the pandemic.
“Our health care system is rife with racial disparities. Racial data on coronavirus will be critical to ensuring an equitable and just response to this crisis across the board,” she wrote in a tweet, referencing an article from the Atlantic.
“But we don’t have that data—yet,” she added:
That’s why last week @AyannaPressley and I sent a letter to HHS urging them to collect and release racial data on coronavirus. I’m grateful that our colleagues @CoryBooker, @KamalaHarris and @RobinLynneKelly have signed on—and I urge others to do the same.https://t.co/M62oNoFZQV
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) April 3, 2020
Several people dismissed Warren’s plea.
“OMG do we really care what color the person was who died? We are all Americans,” one user wrote.
“Really? Even a global pandemic has to be about race?” another asked.
“So the virus discriminates??” another inquired.
“The coronavirus is infecting and killing Americans of all races. But there’s little public data on whether the virus is having a disproportionate impact on some communities,” Ibram X. Kendi, director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University, wrote in the Atlantic piece Warren touted.
Kendi, in the piece, lamented the lack of racial data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website, as well as the Johns Hopkins University database.
“Few states, municipalities, or private labs are releasing their data by race,” Kendi wrote, citing data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, which provides a bit of racial-based data:
And the data showed a pandemic within the pandemic: African Americans are significantly overrepresented in infection rates in Illinois, while whites and Latinos are significantly underrepresented. African Americans make up 14.6 percent of the state population, but 28 percent of confirmed cases of the coronavirus. White people comprise 76.9 percent of the Illinois population, and 39 percent of the confirmed cases. Latinos comprise 17.4 percent of the state population, and 7 percent of the cases. In Illinois, Asian Americans were the only racial group without a significant disparity between their state population, at 5.9 percent, and confirmed cases, at 4 percent.
If we really want to win the battle against the coronavirus, we must know the racial data across the board, Kendi asserted.
“I worry the virus is disproportionately infecting and killing people of color right now—and we don’t even know,” he said.
“I worry the pandemic of racism is worsening the coronavirus pandemic right now—and we don’t even know. And Americans don’t seem to care to know,” he continued.
I suspect that some Americans believe that racial data will worsen racism. But without racial data, we can’t see whether there are disparities between the races in coronavirus testing, infection, and death rates. If we can’t see racial disparities, then we can’t see the racist policies behind any disparities and deaths. If we can’t see racist policies, we can’t eliminate racist policies, or replace them with anti-racist policies that protect equity and life. Without racial data, we can’t see racism, and racism becomes like asymptomatic carriers—spreading the virus, and no one knows it.
Without racial data, we could end up stranded in Trump’s America a year after the worst pandemic in American history, flooded out of truth and justice and fairness, homeless like Black Mississippians in 1927, and needing another Bessie Smith to sing for us.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has followed in lockstep with her progressive counterparts, demanding future coronavirus relief measures to be “drafted with a lens of reparations” to atone for “environmental racism” and a host of other unrelated issues she considers “underlying health conditions”:
COVID deaths are disproportionately spiking in Black + Brown communities.
Why? Because the chronic toll of redlining, environmental racism, wealth gap, etc. ARE underlying health conditions.
Inequality is a comorbidity. COVID relief should be drafted with a lens of reparations.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) April 3, 2020
The Johns Hopkins database shows the pandemic ravaging the globe, infecting an excess of one million across dozens of countries with varying racial makeups.