WASHINGTON — Mazie Hirono is one of 15 U.S. senators and two House representatives — all of them Democrats — calling on the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to make public demographic data for all coronavirus testing.

The request, which was sent to CDC Director Robert Redfield on Tuesday, comes on the heels of a number of news reports highlighting how minority and low-income communities could be hardest hit by the spread of COVID-19.

Coronavirus testing at Kakaako Waterfront Park has provided checks for hundreds of residents. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2020

ProPublica, for instance, published a piece last week showing that early data suggests that black people are being infected at a higher rate and dying from the virus.

The piece also highlighted that most states and localities are not publishing statistics showing how different ethnicities are faring during the pandemic.

Hawaii’s health department does not provide demographic data for people who have tested positive for COVID-19, and only recently started providing maps of where infected individuals lived.

“As COVID-19 spreads into more American communities, government agencies and academic and industry researchers are working hard to understand the depth and breadth of the pandemic and its impact on the health and well-being of Americans,” the lawmakers’ letter to the CDC said.

“To this end, it is important to document if particular groups in the United States are at greater risk for the virus and why.”

Among the specific data points the members of Congress want the CDC to make available are: sex, race, ethnicity and whether a patient is a health care provider. The letter noted that the CDC typically only provides subsets of who tests positives, is hospitalized or dies broken down by age group.

You can read the full letter here.

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