With data showing that COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting New Hampshire's Black and Latino communities, the Governor's Council on Diversity and Inclusion is asking for a response.
In a letter to the governor, the council asked the state to establish a dedicated team, as well as a plan of action, to address the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19.
Black and Latino residents are testing positive at higher rates than their share of the population, which follows national trends on who’s been most affected by the coronavirus.
The council recommends state health officials examine the factors that contribute to disparities in COVID outcomes, as well as allocate resources to address those inequities.
“Yes you have data that says this is happening in these minority communities. That report will tell you why. And because you know why, you can correct for it,” said Rogers Johnson, chair of the council.
He says the current pandemic has brought long-standing health and other disparities in New Hampshire into sharper focus.
“The inequitable effects of the pandemic in New Hampshire are far reaching and include, but are not limited to: lack of education access for those without technology or experiencing language barriers; and, extreme instability for those not able to benefit from government assistance due to immigration status,” the council wrote in its letter.
And Rogers says he hopes this conversation doesn’t fade once the pandemic is over.
“Because it’s so pronounced during COVID, it’s somewhat alarming. But the problem I have, is that once COVID goes away - and it will dissipate - will the thought, the emphasis behind this dissipate as well?” he said.
In the letter, the council said that analyzing this demographic data “will serve the longer-term health equity of the Granite State.”