April 17, 2020

TRANSCRIPT: Warren Remarks on Press Call About Her Bill to Require Release of COVID Demographic Data -- Including Race and Ethnicity

Boston, MA - Today, United States Senator Elizabeth Warren joined Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust Representative Robin Kelly (D-IL-02), Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-MA-07), and Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA-13) for a press call on their Equitable Data Collection and Disclosure on COVID-19 Act. 

Read more about the legislation here

Read an op-ed by Senator Warren, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Representative Karen Bass (D-CA-37), and Representatives Kelly, Pressley, and Lee on why this bill needs to be included in the next relief package

Transcript of Warren's opening remarks: 

Senator Warren: Alright thank you very much and thanks to all of you who are joining us today. We're here to talk about a very disturbing fact. Coronavirus is hitting communities of color, people with disabilities, low-income communities, and Indian Country especially hard. 

Generations of structural racism have left people of color more vulnerable to this virus. You can't fix what you can't see. Without full information about whose being tested and the results of those tests, we cannot be sure that everyone is receiving appropriate care. So Representatives Kelly, Lee, Bass, Pressley and I have a bill to require the CDC to collect and to make public COVID-19 demographic data -- including race and ethnicity. 

We want these data on a timely basis so that we can make adjustments and deal with hot spots immediately, not just talk about what went wrong after the fact. 

If we want to slow the spread of the virus and ensure our response is robust and equitable, we need comprehensive data on who is getting tested, who is getting treatment, and who is dying. 

We've seen some states and cities report some demographic data and it's alarming. For example, partial data from Boston shows that among people whose race was reported, more than 40 percent of people infected were Black -- even though Black people are only 25 percent of the Boston population. 

The city of Chelsea in my state -- a predominately Latinx community -- has been reported as a hot spot in this outbreak.

We need full national data to understand and confront a national crisis. Congress must include our bill in the next relief package. That is how we can truly contain COVID-19 and save lives.

I want to thank my colleagues who are on this call for their leadership on this important issue. Representatives Kelly, Lee, Bass and Pressley have just been extraordinary. They've jumped on this issue, stayed on it, and raised public awareness all around the country and I'm very grateful for their work. 

I have to offer my apologies that I can't stay on the call. The Senate Democratic Caucus is having a meeting right now with the Vice President so I'm going to have to go. But I'm going to turn this over to Representative Robin Kelly who has been doing incredible work on this.