The damage of the coronavirus on African Americans and other minorities may never be fully known due to an ongoing delay in gathering data on race and ethnicity by the Trump Administration.
Four months into the pandemic, health experts continue to put pressure on the administration to fix the data problems. Fifty two percent of reported coronavirus cases in the U.S. are still missing information on race or ethnicity and federal guidance on gathering this vital information won’t start until August.
Epidemiologists and researchers warn that the lack of data weakens efforts to contain the pandemic and racial inequities that pre-dated the pandemic could go unchecked in the near and long term.
“Unless we use data and focus concretely on race, we are going to let Covid-19 bake in a whole new generation of disparities,” said John Kim, executive director of the racial justice research and policy organization Advancement Project California. The impact will be felt for a decade or more, he added.
Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s data on deaths or the number of minorities getting tested is not easily accessible. A recent two and half-page report to Congress failed to detail the impact of the virus and data gaps on racial and ethnic minority groups.
MORE ON THE PANDEMIC
The number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continues to climb in several states. As of Saturday, coronavirus cases were still increasing in 18 states. In 17 states, the numbers were trending downward, and numbers remained steady in 13 states. [READ MORE]
Texas and North Carolina set record highs in people hospitalized with coronavirus this past weekend. Some restaurants and bars in Florida were forced to again temporarily close their doors after several staff members tested positive for Covid-19.
The states where numbers surged: Oregon, Nevada, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Alabama and South Carolina recorded an increase of over 50% in the past week as compared to the previous one.
Despite efforts by many cities to stop evictions, renters in several states report that landlords are using harassment and threats to force them out for non-payment of rent during the pandemic crisis. Many renters who lost their jobs because of the coronavirus, are still waiting on unemployment or stimulus checks. Tactics by landlords include shutting off utilities, changing locks, constant harassment via phone calls or texts, or sending maintenance workers to demand renters leave.
2020 Census door knockers are preparing to start visiting homes that have yet to fill out forms for the national count as early as mid-July. Census participation has been severely diminished due to the coronavirus outbreak. As of Thursday, more than 90 million households have participated in the count online, over the phone or through the mail, bringing the national self-response rate to 60.9%.
Census results are used to determine each state’s share of congressional seats, Electoral College votes and an estimated $1.5 trillion a year in federal tax dollars for public services over the next decade.
As the number of coronavirus cases in Oklahoma continues to rise by record levels, the director of the Tulsa Health Department, Bruce Dart, says he wishes Trump would again postpone a planned campaign rally in Tulsa.
“I think it’s an honor for Tulsa to have a sitting president want to come and visit our community, but not during a pandemic,” Dart said. “I’m concerned about our ability to protect anyone who attends a large, indoor event, and I’m also concerned about our ability to ensure the president stays safe as well.”
The BOK Center, where the rally is scheduled to be held, has canceled all other events through the end of July. The Trump campaign has acknowledged the risk and is requiring all attendees to sign a waiver that absolves the campaign of any responsibility should people get sick.
The NBA announced that it will test players and staff for coronavirus every other day beginning June 23 and will take place every other day until all teams head to Orlando to restart the season at Walt Disney World.