Utah, Minnesota face legal threats for using race as a factor to determine COVID treatment eligibility as non-whites were at greater risk for hospitalization
- The Utah and Minnesota Department of Health both published guidelines for medical professionals to consider race and ethnicity as risk factors for COVID-19
- The Utah agency also asks doctors to use risk score cards that give “non-white” status two extra points when determining eligibility for antibody treatment
- America First Legal, a conservative law group, called the policies racist and in violation of federal law for discrimination based on race
- The Utah Department of Health defended its policy, citing that no one is eligible solely on race and that COVID has had greater impact in communities of color
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The Utah and Minnesota Department of Health both published guidance notifications that stated race and ethnicity could be considered when determining eligibility for COVID Monoclonal antibodies treatment due to the virus’ greater impact in communities of color.
Utah’s policy also included a Covid-19 Risk Score card for medical professionals to numerically weigh the risks through several medical factors, with ‘Non-White race or Hispanic/Latinx ethnicity’ scoring two extra points.
America First Legal, a conservative law group founded by former Donald Trump adviser Stephen Miller, claimed the policies violated federal law through ‘blatant discrimination.’
‘Using a patient’s skin color or ethnicity—rather than the unique and specific medical circumstances of an individual patient—as a basis for deciding who should obtain lifesaving medical treatment is appalling,’ the group wrote in letters to Fox News on Wednesday.
The Utah Department of Health asks medical professionals to use this score card to determine which patients are most at risk. Being non-white grants the patient two extra points
The Minnesota Department of Health said it was following through the recommendations of the FDA, which acknowledge a racial disparity in COVID-19 cases and said race and ethnicity ”may also place individual patients at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19′
The Utah and Minnesota Department of Health both published guidance notifications that stated race and ethnicity could be considered when determining eligibility for COVID Monoclonal antibodies treatment
‘The color of one’s skin is not a medical condition akin to hypertension, heart disease, or obesity, which are known to aggravate the risk of death or severe illness among those infected with COVID-19,’ the letters continued.
‘Directing medical professionals to provide or deny medical care based on immutable characteristics like skin color, without regard to the particular health conditions of the individual patients who are seeking these life-saving antiviral treatments, is nothing more than an attempt to establish a racial hierarchy in the provision of life-saving medicine.’
The Utah Department of Health defended their decision in a press release on Tuesday, explaining that those who were ‘non-white race or Hispanic/Latinx people are 35-50% more likely to be hospitalized’ than their white counterparts.
‘For those who do not automatically qualify, the risk score was developed to include other factors proven to increase risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19,’ the agency said.
‘Each factor in the risk score represents a condition or characteristic that has been shown to put a person at elevated risk for severe disease or hospitalization.’
Nobody automatically qualifies for treatment based on their race or ethnicity through the Utah or Minnesota policies.
The Minnesota Department of Health did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.
In the state’s policy, the MDH said it was following through the recommendations of the FDA, which acknowledge a racial disparity in COVID-19 cases and said race and ethnicity ”may also place individual patients at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19.’
Miller told Fox that the policies were discriminatory against white people.
‘These racist policies decide questions of life and death based on skin color and must be rescinded immediately. It’s an abomination,’ he said.
‘They radically violate federal law, the United States Constitution, and the sacred principle of equal justice for all.
‘No right is safe if the government can award or deny medical care based on race. End this horrid injustice.’
It comes as the US continues to see a surge in the highly infectious Omicron variant.
The nation reported 752,387 new cases in the past day after hitting a record 1,465,525 daily cases on Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University.
While death are trending lower, the US reported 2,641 deaths on Wednesday.
More than 63 percent of those eligible are fully vaccinated against COVID, and at least 78 percent have gotten at least one dose.