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Racist rubric underlies COVID-19 care guidelines

Hospital room

Opinion: Racist rubric underlies COVID-19 care guidelines

(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Members of the Multnomah County Public Health Advisory Board, including Dr. Ryan Petteway, assistant professor of Health Promotion in the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, argue that Oregon must revisit the guidelines for deciding who gets potentially life-saving treatment and who doesn’t during the COVID-19 crisis. Current guidelines are based in part on a patient’s “near-term” survival (how long a patient might survive once discharged), which factors in pre-existing conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and respiratory disease. “Because of systemic racism embedded in core health-related facets of life, like housing, employment opportunities, and food environments, most of these conditions are more prevalent within communities of color—meaning communities of color will be scored lower by design.”

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