Eyeing Health Disparities, California to Track COVID-19 Cases Among LGBTQ People

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday July 29, 2020

California Gov. Gavin Newsom gestures during an update June 26, 2020, in Rancho Cordova, Calif., on the coronavirus pandemic
California Gov. Gavin Newsom gestures during an update June 26, 2020, in Rancho Cordova, Calif., on the coronavirus pandemic  (Source:AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, Pool, File)

The state of California is set to start tracking COVID cases in the LGBTQ community, after Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an order to begin doing so, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

Health care providers in California have tracked COVID-19 in other demographics known to experience health disparities, such as the African American and Latinx communities. Research indicates the LGBTQ people may be more susceptible to certain disease conditions due to increased incidences of smoking within that demographic, as well as economic disparities such as homelessness that sexual minorities suffer at a higher rate than heterosexual and cisgender people.

A significant number of LGBTQ people also lack health insurance, the article said, citing a survey conducted by the Human Rights Campaign.

The HRC also noted that LGBTQs are overrepresented in the service sector, which means they cannot work from home and must interact in person with the general public, putting them at higher risk for contracting COVID-19.

State Sen. Scott Wiener has promoted a bill for the state to collect and track COVID-19 data with regard to the LGBTQ community, Forbes reported.

The Chronicle quoted Weiner as saying:

"The history of the LGBTQ community is a history of fighting against invisibility and erasure.

"That is absolutely the case in the health care system."

Weiner has introduced legislation that would make Newsom's order permanent, media reports said.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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