Biden Administration Makes Race Crucial for Getting COVID Treatment

The Biden administration recently made another controversial decision.

This could exacerbate race relations in the United States via guidance making race a potentially decisive factor for the administering of live-saving drugs against COVID-19.

Race Now Can Be Used for Life-Saving Decisions

According to the guidance, people in need of treatment for a coronavirus infection could fall into a “high risk” category because of their “race or ethnicity.”

Thus, as a result of a person being of a certain racial or ethnic background, he or she may be eligible to qualify more quickly for oral antiviral medications and monoclonal antibodies.

This becomes clear from a fact sheet the Food and Drug Administration issued to healthcare providers, as cited by Fox News.

The FDA authorized the emergency use of monoclonal antibody sotrovimab only to those patients who are considered to be “high risk.” Their ethnicity or race is one of the key factors to determine whether they fall in that category.

Besides race and ethnicity, other factors which may see a coronavirus patient in the United States considered high-risk by the FDA include obesity, pregnancy, older age, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease.

At the same time, certain states such as New York and Utah declared they are going to prioritize race as a factor for the distribution of COVID-19 treatments.

‘Race and Ethnicity Alone’

A document released last week by the Department of Health for the State of New York, outlined the new racial requirement for getting COVID treatments.

One of the “risk factors” is if a patient’s race or ethnicity is non-white; that is explained in the document with mentions of long-time “systemic health and social inequities.”

The memo in question reads “non-white race” or “Hispanic/Latino ethnicity” ought to be deemed “a risk factor” since “systemic inequities” in health are contributing to heightened risks of “severe illness and death” from COVID.

Utah also released guidelines to that end; the guidelines state the administering of monoclonal antibodies is partly dependent on the patient’s race and ethnicity.

The Utah guidance notes the national guidance of the Biden administration issued through the FDA “specifically states” ethnicity and race could be taken into account.

Minnesota is another state which issued framework advising the health system that their clinicians ought to consider “race and ethnicity” to determine coronavirus patients’ eligibility for monoclonal antibody therapies.

Minnesota’s framework even noted the “FDA’s acknowledgment” could be construed to mean “race and ethnicity alone” can be used to determine whether a patient is eligible for treatments.

The Minnesota document declared it to be further “ethically appropriate” to factor in race and ethnicity in COVID-19 treatment eligibility decisions when the available data indicates an “elevated risk of poor outcomes” for people of color.