New Task Force Aims to Examine COVID-19 Health Inequities
By Amy Tolchinsky
When the novel coronavirus first appeared in the United States, little was known about the virus that spread so swiftly throughout the country. Each day we are learning more, but there are still many unanswered questions, especially about the health inequities of COVID-19.
Preliminary data has shown us that racial and ethnic minority groups are disproportionately impacted by the disease. In the midst of this emergency, it has been difficult to collect consistent data on COVID-19 cases, and there may be under-reporting of data on racial/ethnic minorities, socioeconomic status, disability or mental health status, and other at-risk populations. We need to know more.
The CDC Foundation and the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine are partnering to establish the Health Equity Task Force (HETF) to address the many unanswered questions about health inequities and COVID-19.
The HETF will monitor and assess the unequal impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable populations, including, but not limited to, racial/ethnic minorities, people living with disabilities, and those of lower socioeconomic status. In addition, a COVID-19 data consortium will be created to ensure consistency of COVID-19 data at the national, state and local level.
Judy Monroe, MD, President and CEO of the CDC Foundation, stated, “Racial and ethnic minority groups deserve to know why they are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, and through this critical partnership with Satcher Health Leadership Institute we hope to provide some understanding to these health inequities.”
Disparities in health outcomes for vulnerable populations have been present for many years. Minority groups suffer from higher rates of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, asthma, obesity and other conditions that make them more susceptible to the effects of COVID-19. This initiative will help to examine the disparate nature of this pandemic and other diseases, with solutions and implications towards equitable health for all.
Knowing more about the impact of COVID-19 on these groups allows all of us—government, philanthropy and business—to do more. We look forward to learning and sharing more so that we can all act on what we learn.