New York State stated that it will prioritize non-Whites in the distribution of COVID-19 treatment in short supply. The New York Department of Health published a document outlining its plans to distribute monoclonal anti-viral treatment and antiviral medications.
The plan contains a section about eligibility for the rare antiviral drugs that people need to be treated. It also includes a line that states that a person must have “a medical condition” or other factors that could increase their chances of severe illness.
A race or ethnicity that isn’t White is one such “risk factor”. This is due to “longstanding systemic inequalities and health problems”. The memo states that non-white races and Hispanic/Latino ethnicities should be considered risk factors because they pose a greater risk of serious illness and death due to COVID-19.
Online backlash against the Empire State’s plan for discriminating on the basis of skin color and ethnicity has been received.
In a statement, Erin Silk, a spokesperson from the New York Department of Health, stated that the state’s priority guidance “returns directly to the CDC” as well that no “race or ethnicity would prevent an individual from being treated.”
“Systemic poverty has been clearly shown to be a risk factor for New York State residents and nationals alike. It is now added to the algorithm that prioritizes risk factors in the same way as all other risk factors. She wrote that it is only mentioned as a risk factor.
New York’s plans to distribute medical treatment come as the state experienced record numbers of COVID-19 patients. Five people were also arrested Monday by police for protesting the New York City vaccination mandate.
Protests against vaccine passports are common across Europe. Protesters criticize governments for not allowing unvaccinated people to live normal lives.