When is it ethical for a person to move to the head of the line for medical treatment because of his skin color? The answer should be never, unless he lives in New York State. Op-ed.
Two weeks ago, I traveled down to Florida from New York to visit my son and his family. Two days into my visit I came down with Covid. My son took me to a West Palm Beach Recreational Center that was transformed into a monoclonal treatment center. The facilitator, who has worked there for five months, told me that the number of people coming in had jumped from 20 a day to 300 during the last week and that 70%-80% of the people coming for treatment were vaccinated. Two days later, they ran out of supplies.
With hundreds of thousands of people across America now testing positive for Covid, my story is not unique. What is unique is the fortunate sequence of events that allowed me to receive treatment before the shortage of monoclonal and other antiviral therapeutics hit. More fortunate is where I was at the time.
On December 27th, letters from the New York State Department of Health and the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene were sent to Health Care Providers and Health Care Facilities addressing the “severe shortage of oral antiviral and monoclonal antibody treatment products”. Along with directives for which products are available and where to access them, comes a directive regarding eligibility. In addition to age, weight, and medical conditions, eligibility includes “race and ethnicity” as risk factors.
The New York State guidelines state, “Non-white race or Hispanic/Latino ethnicity should be considered a risk factor, as longstanding systemic health and social inequities have contributed to an increased risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19.” And the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene writes, “Consider the race and ethnicity when assessing an individual’s risk. Impacts of longstanding systemic health and social inequities put Black, Indigenous, and People of Color at increased risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes and death.”
So, had I been in New York when I got sick, I would not only have had to contend with long lines and shortages, but with my “White privilege”. Having snaked its way into our schools, jobs, corporations, media, and entertainment industry, Critical Race Theory, espousing pervasive White Supremacy in all spheres of American life and advocating “equity” as the antidote, has now invaded our health care. Such NY health guidelines elevate their brand of “equity” over equality, contravening the basic premise of our Declaration of Independence proclaiming that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life….”
There seem to be many missing links in this hierarchy of blatant discrimination. Claims of “social inequities” that contribute to “increased risk” from Covid among some minority groups are perhaps attributable to the fact that many live and work in densely populated areas. However, Martin Kulldorff, a Harvard epidemiologist and professor, told the NY Post on January 1st that, “I have not seen [race] as one of the risk factors for severe disease and death.”
Many Whites also live and work in densely populated areas. And Covid did not seem to discriminate when it hit hard almost two years ago and killed many of those Whites, especially in boroughs like Brooklyn and Queens.
Jews living in some of those locations suffered severe losses in the first Covid wave, yet they don’t seem to be listed on the NY State or City’s guidelines for preferred eligibility. There is no mention of “systemic” anti-Semitism, despite rising instances of anti-Semitic hate crimes against Jews in New York, especially self-identifying Orthodox Jews. And while it’s debatable whether or not Asians fall under the category of “People of Color”, there is no mention of them as a group suffering from “social inequities”. This, despite data from the NYC Police Department showing a 100% increase in hate crimes across the city in the year 2021, with a spike in crimes against the Asian community and anti-Semitic crimes.
Yet, when is it ethical for any person to move to the head of the line for medical treatment because of his skin color? The answer should be never. Rationing potentially life-saving medications based on so-called perceived “social inequities” is not only immoral but serves to create further social inequities of far greater consequence.
The Post article that quoted Dr. Kulldorff cited a Staten Island doctor who said he filled two prescriptions for Paxlovid (an antiviral Covid treatment) this week and was asked by the pharmacist to disclose the race of his patients before authorizing the treatment. “In my 30 years of being a physician I have never been asked that question when I have prescribed any treatment,” the doctor said.
It is highly ironic, yet sadly predictable, that many CRT founders and supporters are Marxist sympathizers who have upended Marx’s ideology of equality to use against the very physical well-being of New Yorkers. It was to be expected that a warped implementation would follow. Indeed, Governor Kathy Hochul, in a brazen attempt to curry favor among such leftists ahead of the 2022 election, recently signed a slew of new laws aimed at addressing discrimination and racial justice, including one that declares “racism a public health crisis”.
Republican wins this past November in Virginia and elsewhere around the country demonstrated fierce pushback against CRT. Americans don’t like to be told they are racists and White Supremacists when they are not. And being told that Whites should go to the back of the line for medical treatment hopefully won’t go down well in New York either. Or in New York courts.
In two weeks, we will observe Martin Luther King Day. The same people who concocted the discriminatory Covid treatment eligibility guidelines should have a hard time celebrating while trying to reconcile their ideology with Dr. King’s message of achieving racial equality through a colorblind society. The legendary civil-rights leader long hoped for a day when someone would be judged by “the content of their character rather than the color of their skin.” Certainly, that judgement should start with equal access to medical treatments that support the physical well-being of that character.