The state of New York said it will prioritize non-White people in the distribution of COVID-19 treatments in short supply.
New York’s Department of Health released a document detailing its plan to distribute the treatments, such as monoclonal antibody treatment and antiviral pills.
The plan includes a section on eligibility for the scarce antiviral pills that people must meet to receive the treatment, including a line stating a person needs to have “a medical condition or other factors that increase their risk for severe illness.”
One such “risk factor” is being a race or ethnicity that is not White due to “longstanding systemic health and social inequities”
“Non-white race or Hispanic/Latino ethnicity should be considered a risk factor, as longstanding systemic health and social inequities have contributed to an increased risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19,” the memoreads.
The Empire State’s plan received backlash online for discriminating based on ethnicity and skin color.
Erin Silk, a spokesperson for the New York Department of Health, told Fox News in a statement that the state’s “prioritization guidance comes directly from the CDC” and that neither “race nor ethnicity would disqualify an individual from receiving treatment.”
“Systemic poverty, which has clearly proven to be a risk factor in populations in New York State and nationwide, is added to the algorithm of prioritization similar to all other risk factors. It is merely mentioned as a factor that increases risk,” she wrote.
New York’s plan to distribute medical treatment comes as the state sees a record number of COVID-19 cases.
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