Maryland to join DC and Va. in offering racial data on coronavirus

Virginia and D.C. have been offering a detailed racial breakdown of their coronavirus cases, and now Maryland will be doing that as well.

Gov. Larry Hogan said Tuesday that the state health department will post the information on its website by the end of the week. The breakdown will be updated daily along with the state’s other coronavirus data at around 10 a.m.

“However, I want to caution that 90% of testing is being done by doctors and hospitals who are sending tests to private labs outside of the state, which have not been keeping such data,” Hogan said.

“We do anticipate having significant gaps in the initial data that will be available to us.”

Hogan said he directed the department to publish everything available regarding racial and ethnic demographic information.

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Public data already offers information on a patients’ gender, age and county of residence.

Hogan has faced pressure from dozens of state lawmakers who urged him to make the racial data available in order to tackle “health disparities in communities of color.”

Black people in the U.S. tend to have higher rates of underlying health conditions, including asthma and diabetes, that could put them at a greater risk of complications from the virus.

U.S. cities with large black and brown populations such as Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee and New Orleans, have emerged as hot spots of the coronavirus outbreak.

Black residents in Chicago accounted for 72% of deaths from COVID-19 complications in the city and 52% of positive tests for the coronavirus, despite making up only 30% of the city’s population, according to the city’s public health agency.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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