The Association of American Medical Colleges is calling for more granular data that reflects the race and ethnicity of people sickened by COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.
The association said the pandemic is illuminating longstanding social, economic and health inequities in the U.S. And it is visible in that people of color, especially Black Americans, are disproportionately getting sick and dying from the coronavirus.
“This is not because the virus is naturally more harmful to racial and ethnic minorities,” said Dr. David A. Acosta, the association’s chief diversity and inclusion officer. “Rather, this is the result of policies that have shifted opportunities for wealth and health to a narrow segment of society. Black, Hispanic, and Native Americans, the poor, the homeless, immigrants, and people who are incarcerated find themselves with fewer economic resources and with physical health conditions that make them and their communities more vulnerable to illnesses like COVID-19.”
The collection of valid data that identifies communities disproportionally at risk and structural interventions are crucial to ensuring just, equitable preparedness and response to the pandemic, said the association.