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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: April 7, 2020 01:59 PM
From: Representative Jake Wheatley, Jr.
To: All House members
Subject: Legislation Requiring the Release of all Socio-Eonomic Demographic Data Related to COVID-19
Although Coronavirus does not discriminate between racial, economic or gender lines, during this unprecedented global pandemic, affordable and equitable access to care and treatment is essential to saving lives and slowing the spread of the Coronavirus. Typically, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tracks virulent outbreaks and typically releases detailed data that includes age, race, and location of the people affected. However, during the coronavirus pandemic, the CDC has released data on location and age data, but not race.  

Health care providers have begun to express their concerns that Black and Hispanic people are less likely to have access to testing, which is crucial to tracking and containing the virus within a community. As a result, minority populations have higher rates of chronic diseases such as asthma, heart disease and hypertension which puts them at higher risk. These co-morbidities render people of color more susceptible to severe respiratory complications and deaths resulting from COVID-19, thus are “highly vulnerable” to exposure. 

I am introducing legislation requiring the Department of Health, Department of Human Services and all sub-agencies to work closely with localities and private labs to collect better data to address health disparities in low-income communities. My bill will require the monitoring and release of all data in alignment with the CDC’s collection of information, in order to produce a better response for Pennsylvania to the Coronavirus.  

Without demographic data, policy makers and researchers will not have adequate information to identify and address ongoing disparities and health inequities that risk accelerating the impact of this Pandemic.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this critical legislation.