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Senator Murray, joined by Senator Ron Wyden and a bicameral group of colleagues, sent a new letter to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requesting comprehensive demographic data about testing availability, health care access, and more amid ongoing limited access to tests 

Expanded demographic data could help reveal inequities in testing, care for different groups 

Letter follows Senator Murray’s oversight request to the Health Department’s watchdog to investigate the Trump Administration’s testing missteps 

ICYMI: Following calls from Senator Murray, Health and Human Services Inspector General to investigate federal response to coronavirus – MORE HERE FROM KING 5 

Senator Murray, Lawmakers: “It is important to document if particular groups in the United States are at greater risk for the virus and why”

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate health committee, joined U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and 15 of their colleagues in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives today to ask the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to publicly report all available information about who is able to access COVID-19 tests, which continue to be scarce.

The lawmakers requested data broken down by sex, race, ethnicity, disability status, whether a patient is a health care provider, and any other available demographics. The CDC is currently only disclosing a subset of its data, primarily the age groups of those testing positive, hospitalizations, and fatalities. Expanding the kinds of demographic data could help to reveal and quantify inequities in testing between different groups.

"As COVID-19 spreads into more American communities, government agencies and academic and industry researchers are working hard to understand the depth and breadth of the pandemic and its impact on the health and well-being of Americans," Senator Murray and her colleagues wrote. "To this end, it is important to document if particular groups in the United States are at greater risk for the virus and why."

The lawmakers requested the CDC publicly report demographic information collected on the Human Infection with 2019 Novel Coronavirus Person Under Investigation (PUI) and Case Report Form - sex, race, ethnicity, whether a patient is a health care provider and any other available demographics - as a function of: 

  • access to testing; 
  • positive test results; 
  • hospitalizations; 
  • intensive care unit admissions; and 
  • fatalities.

They also requested that any updated PUI and Case Report Form include updated categories for race, ethnicity, sex, primary language, and disability status consistent with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Guidance on Data Collection Standards, as well as an input for “specialty” of the health care worker. To allow government agencies and researchers access to the data, the members also requested that the data be made available as a National Center for Health Statistics public-use data file.

Senator Murray has been working from the start to ensure that coronavirus testing is available to all who need it, pressing the administration to improve testing measures and successfully calling for an Office of Inspector General investigation into the lack of testing available during this crisis.

A digital copy of the letter text is available HERE. 

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