Rosen Co-Sponsors Legislation to Address Racial Health Disparities During COVID-19 Pandemic

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) announced her co-sponsorship of the COVID-19 Health Disparities Action Act. This legislation, introduced by Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), would require new, targeted testing, contract tracing, public awareness campaigns, and outreach efforts to be specifically directed at racial and ethnic minority communities and other populations that have been made vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Longstanding inequities have caused communities of color to be disproportionately affected by the coronavirus,” said Senator Rosen. “In Nevada, our state’s Latino population is being impacted at a much higher rate from COVID-19 than any other group. This legislation will help address racial and ethnic health disparities by increasing testing, contact tracing, and outreach to our most affected communities. We must take concrete steps to overcome these health inequalities now and for the future. I will continue working to protect the well-being of all Nevadans.”

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 Health Disparities Action Act would:

·       Require the Trump Administration to develop an action plan to address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 among racial and ethnic minority, rural, and other vulnerable populations. 

·       Require states to revise testing and contact tracing plans to address racial and ethnic minority, rural, and other vulnerable populations experiencing health disparities related to COVID–19. 

·       Authorize the development of targeted public awareness campaigns about COVID-19 symptoms, testing, and treatment directed at racial and ethnic minority, rural, and other socially vulnerable populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

·       Ensure that federally funded contact-tracing efforts are tailored to the racial and ethnic diversity of local communities.  

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some members of racial and ethnic minority groups are at increased risk of getting COVID-19 or experiencing severe illness, regardless of age. 

In Nevada, Hispanics and Latinos account for 43% of the state’s confirmed COVID-19 cases, though they make up just 29% of the state’s population.

The bill is supported by the National Hispanic Medical Association, Families USA, the National Alliance against Disparities in Patient Health (NADPH) the Friends of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), and the National Council of Urban Indian Health (NCUIH).