Trump on ‘race-based medicine’ for COVID-19

“The left is now rationing vital race-based therapeutics, discriminating and denigrating, simply denigrating, white people to determine who lives and who dies,” trump said. “If you’re white, you don’t get the vaccine or if you’re white, you don’t get therapy.”

For starters, no one is being denied access to vaccines. The White House has made clear it has enough vaccine doses for every American to be fully vaccinated, including a booster.

The question is in fact about therapies, some of which are in limited supply, but there is also no evidence that white people are being denied COVID-19 treatments. Yet Trump has accused New York State of discriminating against white people, saying its policy of prioritizing treatment for COVID-19 in times of limited resources is “un-American.”

“If you’re white, you have to go to the back of the line to get medical help,” Trump noted, calling on the Supreme Court to “immediately shut down this gross violation of civil rights.”

New York State Prioritization Policy

Trump refers to a New York Department of Health Politics that stipulates : “In times of monoclonal antibody (mAbs) and oral antiviral (OAV) shortages, providers should prioritize treatment-eligible patients based on their level of risk for progression to severe COVID-19. The policy includes a table of risk groups to prioritize for COVID-19 treatments and considers factors such as age, living in a long-term care facility, and medical conditions that put a person at risk. high risk of severe COVID-19.

A footnote indicates,Non-white race or Hispanic/Latino ethnicity should be considered a risk factor, as long-standing systemic inequalities in health and society have contributed to an increased risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 .

Michael Lanza, a spokesman for the New York City Health Department, told us via email that Trump was misrepresenting the policy.

“No one will be denied treatment because of their race and race is not a deciding factor in whether or not a prescription is filled,” Lanza said. “We asked our pharmaceutical partner, Alto, to collect demographic data to assess the equitable distribution of antiviral treatments.”

“New Yorkers of color have borne the brunt of this pandemic due to structural racism and the legacy of disinvestment in many minority communities,” Lanza said. “Throughout the pandemic, the City has recognized this and has focused a lot of work in our Task Force [on] Racial Inclusion and Equity Neighborhoods. Physicians are advised to consider the disproportionate impact felt by these communities in addition to systemic health disparities when prescribing treatments for those most at risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, blacks and Hispanics are two and a half times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than whites, and about twice as likely to die.

“Race and ethnicity are risk markers for other underlying conditions that affect health, including socioeconomic status, access to health care, and exposure to HIV-related virus. occupation, for example, frontline, essential, and critical infrastructure workers,” the CDC says, as it did under Trump, on a web page devoted to health disparities by race and ethnicity.

A CDC Notice in December said: “Longstanding systemic health and social inequalities have put various groups of people at increased risk of becoming ill and dying from COVID-19, including many people from certain racial and ethnic minority groups and People with Disabilities.”

According to the CDC statement, “Studies have shown that people from racial and ethnic minority groups are also dying from COVID-19 at younger ages. People from minority groups are often younger when they develop chronic conditions and may be more likely to have more than one condition.

Asset sharp has a the wall street journal opinion piece which stated that there is no scientific evidence to suggest that any particular breed – per se – is more prone to serious illness or death from COVID. The authors argued that race should be decoupled from other underlying risk factors, such as income or occupation, which may be more indicative of higher risk. They pointed out some studies this Pin up these socioeconomic factors – not race – may cause different outcomes.

“There are no studies we have seen that, controlling for other factors, such as income, education and residence, clearly show that Americans of Hispanic, African or Asian descent are at higher risk. of severe Covid-19,” the authors, John B. Judis and Ruy Teixeira wrote. “There is no valid medical argument to justify the New York State criteria.”

John B. Judis is a journalist and author. Ruy Teixeira is an author and senior fellow at the left-leaning Center for American Progress.

“It is likely that much – perhaps most – of the observed racial disparity in the effects of Covid is attributable to factors that can be loosely grouped under one class: income, education, poverty status, occupation, health insurance status, housing, etc. “, wrote the authors. “Who should receive rare Covid treatments should be based on real medical risk factors such as age and comorbidity, but class disparities may be relevant in deciding where to spend money to increase access to public health benefits, including vaccination and testing.”

They argue that the policy could result in scenarios where wealthy non-white or Hispanic people — who may be less at risk — could be prioritized over poor white people.

America First Legal, an organization founded by Stephen Miller, a former senior adviser to Trump, for follow-up the New York State Department of Health on January 17 on what it called a “racist and unconstitutional” directive.

Echoing some of the former president’s rhetoric, Miller said, “New York’s racist COVID executive orders dispense lifesaving drugs based on the patient’s race or ethnicity. New York decides matters of life or death based on a New Yorker’s ancestry. It is scandalously illegal, unconstitutional, immoral and tyrannical.

The group has also previously threatens lawsuit against the Utah and Minnesota health departments over similar policies that considered race a risk factor to consider in prioritizing COVID-19 treatments. But the two states have since backtracked.

Utah and Minnesota revise their policies

On January 11, the Utah Department of Health wrote: “Given the extreme scarcity of COVID-19 treatments due to the prevalence of the omicron variant, we are re-evaluating the calculator and comparing it to current data to determine which factors best capture those most at risk of serious illness, hospitalization and death.

The department has created a risk score calculator in which “[p]anointed ones are attributed to factors such as gender, age, pre-existing conditions, current symptoms, and race/ethnicity.

While “[n]No one is automatically qualified for treatment based on their race/ethnicity,” the statement read, a person who is not white or Hispanic/Latinx receives two points. Ten points are needed for a vaccinated person to receive treatment, and 7.5 points for an unvaccinated person.

This policy decision was based on research of more than 100,000 Utahans who tested positive for COVID-19 which found that “non-white or Hispanic/Latin people are 35-50% more likely to be hospitalized” , the statement said.

But on January 21, Utah reverse course, announcing that it was removing race and ethnicity from its risk score calculator.

“Instead of using race and ethnicity as a factor in determining eligibility for treatment, UDOH will work with communities of color to improve access to treatment by placing medications in locations easily accessible by these populations. and working to connect members of these communities to available treatments,” the statement read.

Acknowledging the threat of lawsuits, the statement also noted, “As with protected breed class, providing additional points based on gender raises legal issues.”

The Minnesota Department of Health also had included « BIPOC [Black, Indigenous and people of color] status” in its scoring system when prioritizing patients in the event that demand for certain monoclonal antibodies exceeds supply. But in a January 12 notice, the department quietly deleted race of its grading system.

According to Minneapolis Tribune of Stars, “The Minnesota Department of Health in a statement did not explain the timing or reason for the change, except to say that it is constantly reviewing its policies to ensure that “communities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 have the support and resources they need.

While Utah and Minnesota have changed course, New York is not backing down.

Erin Silk, spokesperson for the New York State Department of Health, said Newsweek race-related advice “is based on CDC guidelines that show death rates from COVID-19 are higher among certain demographic groups, including the elderly, immunocompromised, and non-white/Hispanic communities” .

“It’s important to note that no one in New York who is otherwise qualified based on their individual risk factors will be denied lifesaving treatment because of their race or any demographic identifier,” Silk said. Newsweek.

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