Press Release ● Coronavirus
For Immediate Release: 
May 21, 2020
Contact Info: 
Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) sent a letter to the Chair and Vice Chair of the National Governors Association, Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland and Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York, respectively, following up on his previous request that they direct the leaders of all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories to collect demographic data on racial disparities and the coronavirus. His request follows reports that states are not reporting comprehensive demographic data. Of the 1.1 million COVID-19 cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), race is not known in more than half of them. 

“On April 10, I wrote to you to ask that you encourage your fellow governors to direct public health officials in every state, every territory, and the District of Columbia to collect demographic data that will help us better understand the racial disparities occurring with the COVID-19 pandemic,” wrote Leader Hoyer. “I know that both of you have been working extraordinarily hard to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Maryland and New York, and I am grateful for the leadership you have displayed in this common effort.  Now that several more weeks have passed, with more Americans infected with COVID-19 and states having had time to develop additional capacity for testing and data collection, I write to ask once more that you help encourage the broader collection of data on racial disparities in the rate of infection and patient outcomes.”

“I urge you to make this issue a priority,” continued Leader Hoyer.  “Without looking at the full picture of this pandemic and its impact across different communities, we cannot safely begin to reopen large parts of our economy.  We know from the demographic data that has been collected that African American and Latino communities are disproportionately affected, with higher rates of infection, hospitalization, and fatality.  It is crucial to any national response and recovery effort that every single state, every territory, and the District of Columbia all commit to collecting information on this pandemic’s racial disparities and ensuring that such data informs how this crisis is addressed.”

To read the letter in full, see below or click here.

May 21, 2020


The Honorable Larry Hogan                                                        
Chairman                                                                                                            
National Governors Association                                
444 N. Capitol Street                                                                     
Suite 267                                                                                             
Washington, DC 20001                                                 

The Honorable Andrew Cuomo
Vice Chairman  
National Governors Association
444 N. Capitol Street
Suite 267
Washington, DC 20001

Dear Governors Hogan & Cuomo:

On April 10, I wrote to you to ask that you encourage your fellow governors to direct public health officials in every state, every territory, and the District of Columbia to collect demographic data that will help us better understand the racial disparities occurring with the COVID-19 pandemic.  I know that both of you have been working extraordinarily hard to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Maryland and New York, and I am grateful for the leadership you have displayed in this common effort.  Now that several more weeks have passed, with more Americans infected with COVID-19 and states having had time to develop additional capacity for testing and data collection, I write to ask once more that you help encourage the broader collection of data on racial disparities in the rate of infection and patient outcomes. 

As a number of states begin the phased reopening of businesses and public spaces, it is critical that governors and public health officials have access to all the relevant data about local COVID-19 hotspots and communities at higher risk.  It is important to ensure that communities experiencing higher rates of infection and fatality are allocated sufficient resources, such as tests, ventilators, personal protective equipment, and hospital beds.  We cannot do that if we do not collect this data in the first place.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported earlier this week that of the 1.1 million COVID-19 cases reported to CDC officials, race is not known in more than half of them.  At the same time, many states have been drawing on CDC and other data regarding the increase or decline of COVID-19 cases as they consider reopening plans. 

I urge you to make this issue a priority.  Without looking at the full picture of this pandemic and its impact across different communities, we cannot safely begin to reopen large parts of our economy.  We know from the demographic data that has been collected that African American and Latino communities are disproportionately affected, with higher rates of infection, hospitalization, and fatality.  It is crucial to any national response and recovery effort that every single state, every territory, and the District of Columbia all commit to collecting information on this pandemic’s racial disparities and ensuring that such data informs how this crisis is addressed.

Thank you both, once again, for your consideration of this request as well as for your ongoing efforts at the state and national levels to meet the challenge of this pandemic.  I look forward to continuing to work with you to ensure that Congress is partnering with the states to address this crisis in the most responsible and effective way possible.

Sincerely yours,

STENY H. HOYER
House Majority Leader