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May 21, 2020

Reps. Pressley, Bass, Lee, & Kelly Slam Inadequate CDC Report on COVID-19 Racial and Demographic Disparities

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswomen Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Karen Bass (CA-37), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Barbara Lee (CA-13), and Robin Kelly (IL-02), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust, issued the following statement in response to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) report to Congress on the racial and demographic breakdown of COVID-19 cases and fatalities.

“The 2.5-page report on racial and demographic data issued by the CDC this week is absolutely unacceptable.  Early on in this crisis, as it became clear that this virus was disproportionately impacting Black and Latinx communities, Congress took action to require the CDC to immediately begin collecting and reporting racial and demographic data on COVID-19 cases and fatalities. This data is critical to understanding the scope of this crisis and ensuring our federal relief efforts are being targeted to those communities hardest hit by this pandemic. We need detailed data and analysis of the disparate harm this virus is causing for communities of color. Unfortunately, this pathetic excuse for a report makes it abundantly clear that the CDC and this Administration are more interested in skirting the law than meaningfully addressing the stark racial, health, and wealth disparities revealed by this crisis.   

More than 90,000 people across our country have now tragically died from this virus. The utter failure of this administration to meet the scale and the scope of this crisis is inexcusable. Every day that we fail to take bold action informed by data and science results in even more lives being unnecessarily stolen by this virus. This is unacceptable. We will continue to hold this Administration to account and demand data-driven action to stop the spread of this virus in our communities and save lives.”

On April 14, 2020, Reps. Pressley, Bass, Lee and Kelly introduced the Equitable Data Collection and Disclosure on COVID-19 Act to require the CDC to collect and report on racial disparities in COVID-19 cases and fatalities. Key tenets of the bill, including the requirement for CDC to issue a report on racial disparities within 21 days, were included in the Paycheck Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement Act that was signed into law on April 24, 2020.


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