Review: Illinois public health officials release racial and ethnic demographic data on COVID-19 patients
Illinois public health officials released racial and ethnic demographic data about COVID-19 patients, which showed that of the confirmed cases in Illinois as of March 27, 2020, 39% were White, 28% were Black, 4% were Asian, and 7% were Latino.
According to this article, African Americans are overrepresented in infection rates in Illinois (4.6 percent of the state population but 28 percent of confirmed cases of the coronavirus), while whites (76.9 percent of the Illinois population and 39 percent of the confirmed cases) and Latinos are significantly underrepresented (7.4 percent of the state population, and 7 percent of the cases. Some lawmakers have written a letter to the Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to include racial data in the testing of COVID-19. Any attempt to contain COVID-19 in the United States will have to address its potential spread in low-income communities of color, first and foremost to protect the lives of people in those communities, but also to slow the spread of the virus in the country as a whole,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. The letter notes that: “Any attempt to contain COVID-19 in the United States will have to address its potential spread in low-income communities of color, first and foremost to protect the lives of people in those communities, but also to slow the spread of the virus in the country as a whole….This lack of information will exacerbate existing health disparities and result in the loss of lives in vulnerable communities.”
About the Author: Seema Mohapatra
Seema Mohapatra is an Associate Professor of Law and Dean's Fellow
at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, She teaches Introduction to Health Care Law and Policy, Genetics and the Law, Torts, and Bioethics and the Law. Seema Mohapatra is an expert in the areas of health care law, public health law, bioethics, torts, and international health and family law. Her research interests include the intersection of biosciences and the law, assisted reproduction and surrogacy, international family and health law, health care disparities in the United States, and informed consent. Her work has been published in several journals, including the Wake Forest Law Review, Colorado Law Review, Brooklyn Law Review, and the Harvard Journal of Law & Policy. Professor Mohapatra currently teaches Torts, Introduction to Health Care Law, Bioethics, and Genetics and the Law. She has authored articles and book chapters on topics such as insurance coverage of infertility and assisted reproduction, genetics and health privacy, international surrogacy laws, and equity in healthcare coverage. Professor Mohapatra regularly presents her research nationally and internationally at legal and medical conferences and symposia. Prior to teaching, Professor Mohapatra practiced health law in Chicago at Sidley & Austin and Foley & Lardner. She earned a J.D. degree from Northwestern University School of Law and has a master’s degree in Public Health with a concentration in Chronic Disease Epidemiology from Yale University. She earned a bachelor of arts in Natural Sciences (with a minor in Women's Studies) from Johns Hopkins University.