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Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are one of the fastest-growing populations, yet data collection on the community at the federal and state levels remains "virtually nonexistent," according to a new study published in the Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law.

Why it matters: In 1997, the Office of Management and Budget mandated the disaggregation of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander data from the broader "Asian" category. Yet two decades later, over 30% of federal data sources fail to provide disaggregated NHPI data, a gap that's more pressing than ever due to the pandemic, researchers say.

  • "This information omission has led to structural racism that disproportionately affects roughly 1.4 million Americans through an inability to advocate, a lack of resources and limitations to political power," per a release about the study.

Details: Of the 50 states, only 20 (40%) currently report disaggregated NHPI COVID case data. Only 16 (32%) report disaggregated NHPI COVID-19 death data.

  • In their analysis of the Healthy Places Index, a metric used by California to appropriately allocate COVID-19 resources to high-risk neighborhoods, researchers found that NHPIs are underrepresented despite experiencing the highest case and death rates in the state.
  • In the "vast majority" of states that do report disaggregated data, NHPIs' rates for COVID cases and deaths rank the highest compared to any other racial group, according to the researchers.
  • "This makes us think that NHPIs are experiencing a greater burden of COVID-19 even in states that don’t report their data, but without the data, there is little ability to advocate for needed resources," said Brittany Morey, a public health professor at the University of California, Irvine and corresponding author of the study.

What they're saying: "Although we recognize that NHPI and Asian panracial coalitions continue to collaborate to achieve common goals, when it comes to directing public resources to address social and health problems, more data disaggregation for NHPI and Asian subpopulations are crucial," researchers wrote.

  • "By achieving data equity, our hope is that future generations will be able to achieve health and social equity for all communities of color," ’Alisi Tulua, project director for the NHPI Data Policy Lab and study co-author, said in a statement.

The big picture: AAPI lawmakers and activists have pushed for data disaggregation for years, citing the diversity within the AAPI community and the disparities that are often hidden under the umbrella term.

Go deeper

Updated 15 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: CDC says some immunocompromised people can get fourth COVID shot — FDA panel endorses Pfizer vaccines for 5-11 year olds — Moderna says vaccine shows strong immune response in kids
  2. Health: COVID cases, deaths at meat plants were far higher than previously thought — 96% of Tyson Foods employees vaccinated ahead of mandate deadline — U.S. releases updated vaccination, testing rules for foreign travelers
  3. Politics: Louisiana lifts mask mandate except for some schools — Alabama governor orders state agencies to fight federal vaccine mandate — Axios-Ipsos poll: Confidence in Biden COVID recovery tumbles
  4. Education: Benefits of vaccine for children outweigh risks, FDA says — Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states — LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
22 hours ago - Health

COVID cases, deaths at meat plants were far higher than previously thought

Tyson Foods in Portland, Maine, in 2020. Photo: Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Cases and deaths from COVID-19 among workers at the five largest U.S. meatpacking companies were nearly three times higher than previously thought, according to a memo from the House panel probing the response to the pandemic.

Driving the news: At least 59,000 workers contracted COVID-19 and 269 workers died at Tyson Foods, JBS USA, Cargill, National Beef and Smithfield Foods — which together make up more than 80% of the beef market and 60% of the pork market in the U.S. — according to counts through January of this year.

Judge rejects Southwest pilots' challenge to vaccine mandate

A Southwest Airlines plane leaves the gate at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport on Oct. 21. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

A judge ruled that Southwest Airlines can mandate its 9,000 pilots to be vaccinated against COVID-19, declining a union request for a restraining order on the policy, per AP.

Details: U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn said in her ruling against the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association on Tuesday that the airline was meeting its goal on air transportation safety and "providing 'safe and reasonable working conditions' for pilots, by preventing the spread of disease" with the requirement, the Dallas Morning News noted.