A Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report presented to lawmakers revealed the disparate impact that COVID-19 is having on racial and ethnic minorities. The report found that while African Americans make up 13% of the U.S. population, they constitute 27% of all coronavirus cases. Hispanic or Latino Americans constitute 28% of all cases, while making up only 18% of the U.S. population. While the rate of infection varies among the American Indian/Alaska Native population, the Navajo Nation currently has the highest per-capita infection rate of COVID-19 in the United States. This demographic data is not complete as it has only been available in 47.9% of cases.
These racial disparities and lack of comprehensive demographic data have caught the attention of Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.). Rep. DeLauro serves as the Chairwoman of the House Appropriations HHS and Education Subcommittee. She told reporters that she wanted more funding to be appropriated to address and get more information on these health disparities. “I will continue to push for funding to reduce health disparities in subsequent relief packages as well as in the appropriations bill which we will begin to write for 2021,” Rep. DeLauro said. According to Rep. DeLauro, it would take approximately $750 million over a few years in order to get quality health data. The CARES Act, which was passed in response to the pandemic, allocated $500 million for public health surveillance and analytics.
Throughout the pandemic, NCUIH has fought to obtain access to coronavirus funding for UIOs in order to ensure that American Indians and Alaska Natives are not left behind during this crisis.