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National Group Calls For Release Of COVID-19 Racial Data

UVA Health System

Some civil rights advocates say COVID-19 may not be an "equal opportunity disease." They want the race of victims reported to determine if people of color are being more seriously impacted by the virus.

The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law hosted the Monday, April 6 conference call, which included Virginia Doctor Taison Bell.

"And my job is to work in an intensive care unit and it's my job to remain calm. And I'm upset about this," Bell exclaimed, adding he's seeing high numbers of minority virus victims, many of whom are in worse shape than white patients.

One reason, said Lawyers' Committee President Kristen Clarke, is that fewer of them have the option of sheltering in place.

"Only 20% of black workers in the country are able to work from home compared to roughly one-third of their white counterparts."

Clarke's group wants to see racial information included in all COVID-19 reporting. Higher African American death rates have been recorded in Detroit, New Orleans and Chicago. Florida has recently started tracking racial demographics in its COVID-19 reporting. 

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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