April 23, 2020 

LAWT News Service 


In light of the alarming reports of the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on the African American community, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), Chair of the House Financial Services Committee, sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urging the release of all demographic and resource allocation data regarding COVID-19 testing supplies, PPE, ventilators, and other medical equipment and supplies.


“I write to convey my grave concerns regarding the apparent disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on the African American community and other racial minorities,” wrote Congresswoman Waters.


“While the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) did release this week limited data adding to preliminary state findings that there appear to be higher rates of COVID-19 deaths within the African American community relative to their representation in the population, there must be a coordinated effort to collect complete information leading to a response to ensure that the hardest hit racial groups are given sufficient federal support and resources.”


In the letter, Congresswoman Waters outlined the devastating impact of COVID-19 on African American communities, according to preliminary data from various locations across the United States, including Los Angeles County, California where African Americans make up 9 percent of the population and 17 percent of coronavirus deaths, and Milwaukee County, Wisconsin where African Americans make up 27 percent of the population and 70 percent of deaths. She also highlighted the “lack of transparency by FEMA, and a lack of a coordinated strategy between the Administration and the states, whether demographic data on COVID-19 is being properly used in the allocation of medical supplies.”


As a result, Congresswoman Waters requested that HHS and FEMA release the following information to Congress and the American people:


“The comprehensive demographic data on the racial and ethnic characteristics of those treated, tested, and demonstrating symptoms for COVID-19, as collected by HHS, especially the CDC”; and


“A complete and comprehensive explanation as to how FEMA has incorporated any and all data collected by HHS pursuant to request (1) into its medical supply distribution operation.”

Category: News