The state of New York has decided to distribute anti-covid treatments in part on the basis of race and ethnicity. It will discriminate against Whites in providing access to therapeutics in short supply, which monoclonal antibody treatment and antiviral pills currently are.
The policy sets forth a list of eligibility criteria for oral antiviral treatment, all of which must be satisfied to receive treatment. They include factors of age, weight, covid test result, and mildness of symptoms. So far, so good.
But the last criterion, medical condition and other risk factors, includes this:
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.
Thus, the last criterion can be satisfied by virtue of being Black or Hispanic/Latino, but not by being White. As Wesley Smith puts it:
People of color and Hispanics would be eligible for antiviral treatment even if they did not meet all the listed medical criteria required of similarly situated white or non-Hispanic patients to obtain the antivirals.
This amounts to race discrimination, pure and simple. The policy should, and I assume will, be challenged in court.
Erin Silk, a spokesperson for the New York Department of Health which formulated this policy, told Fox News that the state’s “prioritization guidance comes directly from the CDC” and that neither “race nor ethnicity would disqualify an individual from receiving treatment.” She added:
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.
It doesn’t matter what the source of a racially discriminatory policy is. The CDC can’t bless violations of the law.
The claim that neither race nor ethnicity will disqualify an individual from receiving treatment is disingenuous. It’s true that Whites aren’t absolutely disqualified from receiving treatment. But some white individuals who would receive treatment if they were Black will miss out on treatment because they are White. That’s illegal.
As to poverty, the policy doesn’t give priority to the poor, it gives priority to non-Whites. And it gives them priority whether or not they are poor. It favors non-poor Blacks over poor Whites.
Throwing in the phrase “systemic poverty” doesn’t help the state’s position. Whatever “systemic poverty” might be, there’s no plausible, non-tautological case that Whites never experience it.
The policy itself tries to justify the discrimination with the assertion that “longstanding systemic health and social inequities have contributed to an increased risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19.” But non-Whites are capable of living healthy lifestyles of the kind that minimizes risk from the coronavirus.
Even if “inequities” have rendered non-Whites disproportionately vulnerable to the virus, that’s no reason to grant preferences to non-Whites who, due to their choices or just plain luck, don’t have indicia of increased risk — e.g., obesity.
New York’s policy is an instance of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in action. It is an application of Race Marxism to medicine. In this article, Laurel Duggan describes broader applications of Medical Race Marxism that are seeping into patient care and research, for example.
This is a movement that needs to be taken on and stopped. New York’s discriminatory covid treatment policy is a good place to start.