Press Release ● Coronavirus
For Immediate Release: 
April 10, 2020
Contact Info: 
Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) sent the following 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, urging them to direct the leaders of all fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and U.S. territories to collect demographic data on racial disparities and the coronavirus.

"I write to ask that you, as the leaders of the National Governors Association, encourage your fellow governors to direct officials in all fifty states, in the District of Columbia, in Puerto Rico, and in U.S. territories to collect demographic data that will help us better understand and address these racial disparities in the coronavirus pandemic in our country,"  Leader Hoyer wrote.  "Both of you have been at the forefront of addressing this pandemic and setting an example of leadership in the face of this emergency.  I hope you will help lead the way on tackling this facet of the pandemic as well."

"Several of my colleagues and I in Congress are already working to raise awareness of these disparities and to find ways to spread the word in African American and Latino communities about the dangers of COVID-19 and the importance of social and physical distancing to stop its spread.  Sadly, much misinformation that circulated in these communities early on in this crisis makes it even more critical that we act quickly to ensure that they have enough resources to fight back against the virus," continued Leader Hoyer.  "House Democrats will continue to be ready to work with our nation’s governors, with our Republican colleagues in Congress, and with the Administration to ensure that communities all over the country have what they need to address the coronavirus pandemic and that workers and small businesses can stay above water until it is safe to return to normal economic activity."   
 
To read the letter in full, see below or click here.

Dear Governors Hogan & Cuomo: 
 
There have been alarming reports in recent days of significant racial disparities among those becoming infected with COVID-19 and in the rate of serious illness and fatalities.  Initial data from some places and anecdotal evidence suggests that African Americans and Latinos are becoming hospitalized and dying at higher rates.  However, one of the challenges in exploring these disparities and mitigating them is that not every state and county is collecting data on who has been tested, who is infected, who has recovered, who is being hospitalized, or who has died of COVID-19.   
 
I write to ask that you, as the leaders of the National Governors Association, encourage your fellow governors to direct officials in all fifty states, in the District of Columbia, in Puerto Rico, and in U.S. territories to collect demographic data that will help us better understand and address these racial disparities in the coronavirus pandemic in our country.  Both of you have been at the forefront of addressing this pandemic and setting an example of leadership in the face of this emergency.  I hope you will help lead the way on tackling this facet of the pandemic as well. 
 
Already, African American and Latino communities face disparities in health care access and economic opportunity that put them at greater risk in this outbreak.  They also present higher rates of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, diabetes, and chronic lung diseases like asthma, that put individuals at a higher risk from COVID-19.  In states like Michigan, Louisiana, and Florida, we are seeing outbreaks beginning to surge in counties with higher minority populations, many of which lack sufficient resources to provide lifesaving and life-sustaining care, and where economic disruption would have a more severe impact.  We cannot wait to begin collecting data that will help us fight the spread of coronavirus in communities that are the most vulnerable.  We must have reliable, public data to help us ensure that federal resources and assistance are being directed where they are most needed and will make the biggest difference.   

Several of my colleagues and I in Congress are already working to raise awareness of these disparities and to find ways to spread the word in African American and Latino communities about the dangers of COVID-19 and the importance of social and physical distancing to stop its spread.  Sadly, much misinformation that circulated in these communities early on in this crisis makes it even more critical that we act quickly to ensure that they have enough resources to fight back against the virus.  House Democrats will continue to be ready to work with our nation’s governors, with our Republican colleagues in Congress, and with the Administration to ensure that communities all over the country have what they need to address the coronavirus pandemic and that workers and small businesses can stay above water until it is safe to return to normal economic activity.   
 
I thank you both for considering this request and for your help in this important effort.  I thank you again as well for all you are continuing to do, along with the rest of our nation’s governors, to provide leadership during this challenging time. 

Sincerely yours, 

Steny H. Hoyer
House Majority Leader