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A nurse writes a note as a team of doctors and nurses performs a procedure on a coronavirus patient in the Regional Medical Center on May 21 in San Jose, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Department of Health and Human Services moved on Thursday to require that an individual's race, ethnicity, age and sex be submitted to the agency with novel coronavirus test results.

Why it matters: Some cities and states have reported the virus is killing black people at disproportionately high rates. There are gaps in the national picture of how many people of color are affected, since the data has not been a requirement for states to collect or disclose.

The big picture: Health officials have outlined why people of color face heightened coronavirus risks in the U.S., including chronic health conditions and the effects of economic inequality, such as multigenerational housing.

  • Patient demographics must be provided to the agency with all tests results, which includes patients who may have died from the virus or another condition, an HHS spokesperson told Axios.

What they're saying: "The requirement to include demographic data like race, ethnicity, age, and sex will enable us to ensure that all groups have equitable access to testing, and allow us to accurately determine the burden of infection on vulnerable groups," Assistant Secretary of Health Adm. Brett Giroir, the official leading the federal government's coronavirus testing response, said in a statement.

  • "With these data we will be able to improve decision-making and better prevent or mitigate further illnesses among Americans," he said.

Go deeper: Coronavirus hits poor, minority communities harder

Go deeper

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.
Sep 13, 2020 - World

Dozens arrested during lockdown protests in Melbourne, Australia

Lockdown protesters marching from the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne, Australia, on Sunday. Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Dozens of lockdown protesters in Melbourne, Australia, were arrested after facing off with riot police for a second straight day on Sunday, per Nine News.

The big picture: The Victorian state capital has been under a nightly curfew since Aug. 5 amid surging coronavirus cases. From midnight Sunday, the curfew was being cut by an hour to 9pm–5am. Victoria's states of emergency and disaster were extended until at least Oct. 11, as state officials confirmed Sunday 41 new cases and seven more deaths from COVID-19. All other states and territories have reported single-digit or zero cases for weeks.

Go deeper: Australia plunges into first recession in 30 years

Sep 12, 2020 - Science

A place without COVID-19

A "safe little bubble" exists that's isolated from coronavirus — where people mingle without masks, ski, socialize and watch the pandemic unfold from thousands of miles away, AP reports.

The state of play: That place is Antarctica, the only continent without COVID-19. As COVID-19 has shaken diplomatic ties around the world, the 30 countries that comprise the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs decided to keep the virus out. Now, as nearly 1,000 scientists and others who wintered on the ice are seeing the sun for the first time in weeks, a global effort wants to make sure incoming colleagues don't bring the virus.

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