New York will consider race when distributing COVID treatments

The city of New York will take into account the race of the patient when distributing COVID treatments that can save lives, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene revealed on its website.

The city “consider race and ethnicity when assessing individual risk,” the official guide of the agency, which adds that “long-standing systemic social and health inequities” may contribute to an increased risk of dying from COVID-19.

The guide applies to both the distribution of monoclonal antibodies and oral antivirals such as Paxlovid and Molnupiravir.

Monoclonal antibody treatments have prevented at least 1,100 hospitalizations and at least 500 deaths among people treated in New York City, the city said in October.

The race-based approach to treatment has already started to have real-world consequences. A Staten Island doctor said he filled two prescriptions for Paxlovid this week and was asked by the pharmacist to reveal the race of his patients before the treatment was authorized.

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In my 30 years of being a doctor, I have never asked that question when I have prescribed a treatment, said the doctor, who requested anonymity. “Just having to ask this question is very dangerous,” he told NYPost.

Both patients, who are white, finally received their prescriptions.

A recent Request for Proposals form on behalf of the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene emphasized the agency’s commitment to racial fairness.

New York began

Racial equity does not mean simply treating everyone equally, but allocating resources and services in a way that explicitly addresses the barriers imposed by structural racism (i.e., the institutional policies and practices that perpetuate racial inequity) and the privilege of children. white, he said.

It is unclear if the new “racial” guidance has yet to exclude whites from receiving treatment, but observers and doctors fear that a system is being created that could lead to racial exclusions in the future during a drug shortage or a crisis. increase in cases.

Medical experts said it is correct for COVID treatment to be assigned based on who is at highest risk, but emphasized that race was not a biological risk factor.

“I have not seen race as one of the risk factors for serious illness and death,” Martin Kulldorff, an epidemiologist and Harvard professor, told The Post. “The reason so many African Americans have died in New York, which is true, is because the rich and the wealthiest worked from home while the working class was exposed.”

The confinements have discriminated against minorities. They have basically discriminated against the working class, and minorities are a larger proportion of the working class, Kulldorff added.

In a public notice, the state Department of Health said last week that non-white race or Hispanic / Latino ethnicity should be considered a risk factor, placing you in a class with other COVID risk factors such as age and obesity. .

There is a severe supply shortage for all outpatient COVID-19 treatments, warn city health officials, urging providers to follow state guidelines.

New Yorkers of color have been hit the hardest by this pandemic due to structural racism and the legacy of divestment in many minority communities, Michael Lanza, a spokesman for the city’s Health Department, told The Post.

Lanza added that the data was only being collected “to assess equitable distribution” and that race would never be used as a reason to deny treatment.

Antiviral treatment for coronavirus infection represents the forefront of virus treatment. Interest in therapy has peaked with the advent of the new variant of Omicron and its widespread ability to evade the vaccine.

On December 22, the federal Food and Drug Administration approved an emergency use authorization for Paxlovid “for the treatment of mild to moderate coronavirus disease” for anyone 12 years of age or older. Molnupiravir received its emergency use authorization a week later.

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