U.S. health department asks labs to add demographic data to COVID-19 results

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FILE PHOTO: Drivers give details to healthcare workers as they queue to be tested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., May 26, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

(Reuters) – U.S. laboratories testing patients for COVID-19 are required to report data such as a patient’s age and ethnicity along with test results, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said on Thursday.

The move aims to better understand why the respiratory illness affects certain demographics such as racial minorities and older Americans more severely than others, the HSS said in a statement.

“As the country begins to reopen, access to clear and accurate data is essential to communities and leadership for making decisions critical to a phased reopening,” the HHS said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says data suggests the disease disproportionately affects certain ethnic groups, although the effects of the illness are still emerging.

Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli

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