Maryland lawmakers have joined politicians nationwide in asking for the release of data on coronavirus cases by race in order to address potential disparities in the response to the pandemic.
Maryland Del. Nick Mosby called for such racial data to be made available in a series of social media posts Sunday. The Democrat, who is running for Baltimore City Council president, told The Baltimore Sun the data could highlight “health disparities in communities of color.”
“Access to care, implicit bias and other barriers to diagnosis and treatment further imperil communities already on the frontlines of multiple public health threats,” Mosby said on Twitter.
Maryland Del. Jheanelle Wilkins, a Democrat representing Montgomery County, also stated Monday that she supported Mosby’s request.
U.S. cities with large black and brown populations such as Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee and New Orleans have emerged as hot spots of the coronavirus outbreak. In Baltimore, about 62% of the population is black, according to U.S. Census data.
Maryland’s deputy state health secretary Fran Phillips said Monday that she was not sure if state officials had looked into reporting that kind of demographic data, The Sun said, citing a news conference. A spokesman for Gov. Larry Hogan also told the newspaper he did not have an update on Mosby’s request.
The calls comes as U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley urged the U.S. Health and Human Services secretary to direct the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other agencies to ensure racial and ethnic data were being collected on people who are tested or treated for the virus.
The lawmakers pointed out in a letter Friday that there are some chronic health conditions and health care access disparities between white people and people of color “that experts have identified as risk factors for complications from COVID-19.”