Del. Nick Mosby and 80 of his fellow members of the Maryland House of Delegates are calling on Gov. Larry Hogan to instruct the Maryland Department of Health to release a racial breakdown of the state’s coronavirus cases.
In a letter to Hogan on Monday, Mosby said releasing COVID-19 data by race would provide “a complete picture of the impact this deadly virus is having on Marylanders.”
The health department currently reports the county, age and gender of Marylanders who have tested positive for COVID-19.
The department also reports the number of new confirmed cases each day, the change in the total number cases over time, the number of hospitalizations ever due to the coronavirus, and how many individuals have been released from isolation.
80 Maryland legislators join Del Nick Mosby in pushing state to start releasing racial data about Coronavirus pic.twitter.com/ceY80Di8QL
— Jayne Miller (@jemillerwbal) April 6, 2020
Reporting patients’ race would help curtail racial discrimination and biases in healthcare when it comes to testing and treatment for the virus, Mosby’s letter said.
“Racial health disparities and discrimination produce persistent negative outcomes on poor communities of color,” he said. “Access to care, implicit bias, and other barriers to diagnosis and treatment further imperil communities already on the frontlines of multiple public health threats.”
The lawmakers asking for the number of COVID-19 tests, confirmed cases, inpatient hospitalizations and deaths broken down by race.
They are also asking for the department to report the number of positive and negative COVID-19 cases by the resident’s zip code.
Prior to today’s letter, Mosby, who is running for Baltimore City Council President, has publicly nudged Hogan spokesperson Michael Ricci for the data to include race.
Mike, In speaking with healthcare data experts, all @MDHealthDept has to do is release the full #COVIDー19 data set. The fact that MDH is able to disaggregate gender and age, means MDH has the ability to do the same for race. Its standard healthcare data. We need the data now.
— Nick J. Mosby (@Nick_Mosby) April 2, 2020
The Washington D.C. government on Monday began releasing a racial breakdown of the city’s coronavirus data, revealing that black residents comprised a disproportionately larger percentage of D.C.’s COVID-19 deaths.
Per Monday’s data, of the the 1,097 D.C. residents who tested positive for COVID-19 as of Sunday, 28 percent were black and 12 percent were white.
Yet of the 24 D.C. residents who have died from COVID-19, 58.3 percent were black and 16.6 percent were white.
Other cities that have broken down their coronavirus data by race have followed a similar trend.
In Chicago, 70 percent of the patients who have died from COVID-19 were black, while black people make up less than 30 percent of the city’s population.