This op-ed was co-authored by Andy Keller, president and CEO of the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, and Dr. Octavio N. Martinez Jr., executive director for the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health and senior associate vice president for diversity and community engagement at The University of Texas at Austin. It was originally published by UT NEWS.
While it may be the case that coronavirus doesn’t discriminate, people and health systems still do.
The lack of public data available about the racial and ethnic dimensions of the coronavirus pandemic means we cannot know the true impact this disease is having on our communities. This gap in our understanding blunts the effectiveness of our mitigation efforts and undermines our resilience in the face of this crisis over the long run. The collection and reporting of this data should be a top priority at all levels of government, including the state of Texas.
Even without complete demographic data, early reports highlight historic disparities. Data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list the race and ethnicity of 65 percent of all coronavirus cases as unspecified. While Texas has a much smaller gap of 18 percent missing data as , complete demographic data about this crisis is crucial for allocating resources and prioritizing equity in their allocation. Read more.
A version of this op-ed also appeared in the San Antonio Express News and the Austin American Statesman.