CUMMINGS DISAGREES WITH MARYLAND GOVERNOR’S CALL FOR TESTING THAT DOES NOT COLLECT RACIAL DATA
By Debbie Veney
BALTIMORE, April 10, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives /PRNewswire/ –representing Maryland’s 7th Congressional District, issued the following statement in response to COVID-19 data released yesterday by the state of Maryland and related statements by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan:
“Yesterday, Governor Hogan released data showing that black and brown people in Maryland are disproportionately among those infected with COVID-19. I am saddened, but not surprised to hear confirmation of a pattern we began to see last week in several other states across the country. Black are brown members of the community are experiencing not only higher rates of COVID-19 infection, but also higher mortality rates than their white counterparts.
We must act now to save lives. It is critically important that we share this information broadly, and that we continue to collect data. The governor expressed concern that a racial/ethnic data requirement might cause private testing companies to be unwilling to run Maryland tests. We need this requirement. In fact, we need to have this data released by zip codes.
I agree with the governor’s priority to rapidly contain this virus and stem mortality. And I believe an important step in doing that is to make sure vulnerable groups are aware of their risks. Just weeks ago, many people believed the virus would only be deadly among the elderly or those with underlying medical conditions. Today we know that young, healthy people are not immune. Through data collection, young people saw high rates of infections in people aged 20-40, which prompted them to adopt behavior changes. We need to make sure African Americans and other people of color are educated about their likelihood of infection based on the evidence.
The data make it clear that melanin, or darker skin color, is not a protective factor against COVID-19. It may in fact be a higher risk factor. Thanks to all the legislators who sounded the alarm on this matter. The data requirement should now be codified into law.
Maya Rockeymoore Cummings is a candidate for U.S. Congress. Her vision of HOPE for Baltimore City, Howard County, and Baltimore County includes: Healthy and safe communities, Opportunities for youth, Prosperous families, and Equitable development. Maryland’s Democratic primary will take place on June 2, 2020.