CDC Sued to Force Release Racial Demographic Data on Coronavirus Spread

Systemic racism is blamed for the glaring and tragic racial disparities of the COVID-19 illness in the United States.

Read Time: 2 minutes

July 9, 2020, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Helena, Montana

Brandi Lyon Photography / Shutterstock

Richard A. Oppel Jr., Robert Gebeloff, K.K. Rebecca Lai, Will Wright, and Mitch Smith reveal a pile of demographic data about the spread of the novel coronavirus in the United States, after suing to pry the first demographic data on the pandemic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The data are the first indication from the CDC of the pandemic's racial disparities in the United States.

Early numbers had shown that Black and Latino people were being harmed by the virus at higher rates. But the new federal data — made available after The New York Times sued the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — reveals a clearer and more complete picture: Black and Latino people have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus in a widespread manner that spans the country, throughout hundreds of counties in urban, suburban and rural areas, and across all age groups.

The disparities are widespread, and not confined to particularly urban areas in "Blue States." "The disparities persist across state lines and regions. They exist in rural towns on the Great Plains, in suburban counties, like Fairfax County, Va., and in many of the country’s biggest cities," according to the article. 

For more specificity regarding the racial disparities of coronavirus infections around the country, the article adds this detail: 

Latino and African-American residents of the United States have been three times as likely to become infected as their white neighbors, according to the new data, which provides detailed characteristics of 640,000 infections detected in nearly 1,000 U.S. counties. And Black and Latino people have been nearly twice as likely to die from the virus as white people, the data shows.

Quinton Lucas, who is the third Black mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, a city that reflects the racial disparities of infection found elsewhere in the country, is quoted in the article blaming the public health outcomes of the pandemic in the United States on systemic racism.

The article is of feature length, and supplemented by multiple infographics to illustrate the data.

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