Giving Compass' Take:

• Since Black Americans are disproportionately experiencing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, health practitioners could benefit from more precise data to implement tailored interventions.  

• Where can donors play a role in funding research and data for health practitioners? 

• Read more about this disproportionate impact.

Though black Americans make up 13 percent of the country's population, they account for 22 percent of the deaths connected to COVID-19, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We see this disparity—another manifestation of decades of systemic racism and deeply entrenched inequity in America—in individual cities and states across the country. In Chicago, 30 percent of the city's population is black but they have accounted for 45 percent of COVID-19 deaths. In Louisiana, 32 percent of the state's residents are black and they have suffered 53 percent of the COVID-19 deaths.

Public health officials trying to respond to this racial disparity in COVID-19 outcomes may understandably resort to solutions that are as broad and blunt as the available data on the deaths, which typically account for little more than racial background. However, the responses that will be most effective may not be as universal as the problem appears to be for black Americans. The best responses can and should vary from person to person or community to community, according to experts, from the authors of a recent viewpoint in the Journal of the American Medical Association to researchers writing in the July 2019 issue of Proceedings of the National Academies of Science.

This lack of perfect and complete data on COVID and race in the United States puts lives at risk. It inhibits the creation of effective, nuanced, and targeted interventions. One option is to collect more and better data, a difficult process that is slowly rolling out. Effective August 1, laboratories will be required to include demographic data when they report coronavirus test results to the government. In addition,  the Equitable Data Collection and Disclosure on COVID-19 Act has been introduced in the US House of Representatives and Senate to require and fund the Department of Health and Human Services to report detailed demographic data about the coronavirus, such as race, socio-economic status, and disability status.

Read the full article about more precise data on COVID-19's disproportionate racial impact by Yael Caplan, Nick Stewart, Peter Smittenaar & Sema K. Sgaier at Stanford Social Innovation Review.