The state of New York announced that it will prioritize non-White people for the distribution of COVID-19 treatments that are in low supply.
The plan to distribute the treatments, which include monoclonal antibody treatment and antiviral pills, was announced in a document released by New York’s Department of Health.
In the plan, there is a section on eligibility for the antiviral pill that a person must meet in order to receive the treatment.
One line says a person must have “a medical condition or other factors that increase their risk for severe illness”.
A “risk factor” can involve being a race or ethnicity that is not White due to “longstanding systemic health and social inequities”.
The eligibility section says “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 plan has been increasingly criticized on social media for discrimination. America Matters Executive Director Jim Hanson tweeted “There’s a word for discrimination by skin color in medical treatment”.
Erin Silk, a spokesperson for the New York Department of Health, told Fox News that the “prioritization guidance comes directly from the CDC” and 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,” Silk said.
As New York sees a record number of COVID-19 cases, many have been arrested for protesting the city’s vaccine mandate.