With Racial Rationing of COVID Treatments, What Can’t States Dictate on the Basis of Race?

Commentary

The Chinese coronavirus has been manipulated and exploited to the detriment of liberty and justice in myriad ways, from the erosion of vote integrity, to the usurpation of our natural rights via lockdowns, pervasive censorship by Big Tech, and the advent of a biomedical security state mandating vaccines and demanding total submission to its whims.

But the seemingly blatantly illegal and unconstitutional, not to mention immoral and repugnant, racial rationing of COVID-19 treatments might represent the most pernicious development of all.

It combines the worst elements of our new regime of Wokeism and Scientism. It’s racist under the guise of “anti-racist” “equity,” and political under the guise of medicine.

Fundamentally, it means states will determine who lives and who dies based on their skin color.

That such an anti-American policy is being foisted on citizens across the country in places as diverse as New York, Utah, and, until the last several days, Minnesota, makes this an issue that should be of paramount importance to every single American.

Yet where are our purported political leaders on this? This policy implicates, as we will demonstrate momentarily, not just state officials, but the federal government. The silence across the board therefore is deafening.

If the life-and-death consequences raised herein seem overstated, consider the policies states are enacting in doling out limited supplies of COVID-19 treatments that, it bears noting, serve as an inadvertent admission as to the inefficacy of the vaccines—at the very moment the Biden administration is imposing a mandate to coerce millions of Americans into getting jabbed.

New York has deemed being non-white a COVID-19 “risk factor” that gives such infected patients priority in receiving oral antiviral treatments that are being allocated according to specific criteria given their limited supply. Those who aren’t white automatically become eligible (pdf) to receive treatment provided they’re of a certain age, exhibit mild-to-moderate symptoms, and can start treatment within five days of disease onset.

Glenn Greenwald raises one hypothetical demonstrating the perverse and discriminatory nature of the policy: “a healthy twenty-year-old Asian football player or a 17-year-old African-American marathon runner from a wealthy family will be automatically deemed at heightened risk to develop serious COVID illness … while a White person of exactly the same age and health condition from an impoverished background would not be automatically eligible.”

Setting aside class-based critiques, others have noted there are significant differences in COVID-19 outcomes based on one’s sex, which virtually all treatment allocation rubrics ignore.

Minnesota originally gave those of BIPOC status—again being non-white—priority pursuant to the calculation laid out in the state’s “Ethical Framework for Allocation of Monoclonal Antibodies during the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

As law professor Eugene Volokh writes:

people who lack “BIPOC status” (basically, non-Hispanic whites) would be “deprioritiz[ed]” precisely based on their race and ethnicity, not wealth, access to health care, being in a nursing home, or anything else. A rich non-white patient would be given priority over a poor white patient with precisely the same age and health conditions.

On Jan. 11, after this policy received national coverage notably on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and in the Washington Free Beacon, Minnesota’s Department of Health revised its policy, stripping out language about BIPOC status.

The same could not be said of Utah’s policy, where “Non-white race or Hispanic/Latinx ethnicity” counts for two points in the state’s risk factor calculation for rationing monoclonal antibodies—same as diabetes, obesity, and being “severely immunocompromised,” and more than several other conditions like congestive heart failure and “shortness of breath.”

Only now, under political and legal pressure, is Utah “reevaluating” this policy—thought it still has not nixed it.

The Free Beacon reports that this effort to set aside the individual risk factors most correlated with coronavirus comes from the top, with Utah and Minnesota’s (original) policies referencing standards prescribed by the FDA. It notes:

When the FDA issued its emergency use authorizations for monoclonal antibodies and oral antivirals, it authorized them only for “high risk” patients—and issued guidance on what factors put patients at risk. One of those factors was race.

The FDA “fact sheet” for Sotrovimab, the only monoclonal antibody effective against the Omicron variant, states that “race or ethnicity” can “place individual patients at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19.” The fact sheet for Paxlovid, Pfizer’s new antiviral pill, uses the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s definition of “high risk,” which states that “systemic health and social inequities” have put minorities “at increased risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19.”

The guidance sheets are nonbinding and do not require clinicians to racially allocate the drugs. But states have nonetheless relied on them to justify race-based triage.

New York, too, references the FDA’s language regarding “high risk” patients and relies on similar documents from the CDC.

Using skin color as a stand-in for one’s health profile is as unscientific as it is illogical. People of a certain race may disproportionately make certain decisions, or be afflicted by certain conditions, that impact their risk vis-à-vis the Chinese coronavirus. That said, it’s an individual’s health profile that matters, not race. Race may be correlative, but it’s not causative—individuals are not more at-risk because of their skin color, but people of a certain skin color may on the average prove more at-risk.

Consider vaccination status, for example. Implicit in these policies is the fact that certain minorities—by their own volition—are less likely to be vaccinated, which according to public health authorities puts them at greater risk. But again, shouldn’t vaccination status, not race, be the controlling factor?

And are authorities simply trying to remedy systemic racism with still more racism here? Remember, places like New York City have imposed vaccine mandates that disproportionately harm the unvaccinated, who are frozen out of basic everyday life in the five boroughs. Certain minorities in New York, namely blacks, are disproportionately unvaccinated. Since blacks bear the brunt of vaccine mandates to a greater extent than others, by Woke standards, such mandates are systemically racist—outcomes trump intent. Prioritizing non-whites for receipt of COVID-19 treatments would seem to be a sort of racist corrective to this “systemic racism.”

It’s not just vaccination status, of course, that’s being elided to advance race-driven care. The same holds for many of the other underlying health conditions referenced by these public health authorities, including obesity—perhaps the greatest correlative with poor COVID-19 outcomes, which our authorities have been loath to acknowledge. Once again, though, one’s weight should matter, not the fact that people of the same skin color tend to be heavier or lighter.

People should—people must—be treated as individuals, not members of a group, when it comes to health, as with everything else in American life.

That they’re not today flows again from the top—from a Biden administration and progressive Ruling Class that has prioritized above all else “equity”—which is to say, egregiously unjust inequality. “Equity” is pervading every aspect of society, now impacting our health and well-being. Whole fields of inquiry in the Sciences and medicine are completely off limits; hospitals in some instances have begun implementing “anti-racist” policies explicitly calling for “preferential care based on race.”

Wokeism’s natural end can be seen in these COVID-19 treatment racial rationing schemes. They represent the perversion of law and morality—with life and death decisions made by the state on the basis of race.

The question that every American must be asking of their leaders is this: If governments can allocate life-saving treatments on the basis of race, is there anything governments can’t dictate on the basis of race?

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Benjamin Weingarten

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Ben Weingarten is a fellow of the Claremont Institute and co-host of the Edmund Burke Foundation’s “The NatCon Squad.” He is the author of “American Ingrate: Ilhan Omar and the Progressive-Islamist Takeover of the Democratic Party.”

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