ACLU of Maine Calls on Officials to Collect and Release COVID-19 Demographic Data

Augusta — The ACLU of Maine today joined ACLU affiliates across the nation urging state officials to collect and release aggregate race, ethnicity and other demographic data of COVID-19 infections and deaths, to the extent consistent with privacy laws.

In a letter to Maine DHHS Commissioner Dr. Jeanne Lambrew and Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah, the ACLU of Maine also calls for the equitable distribution of personal protective and medical equipment. As other jurisdictions begin to release demographic data of COVID-19 infections, it is becoming increasingly urgent to identify communities that are in particular need of support. Currently, at least 34 states and D.C. have begun releasing racial breakdowns of COVID-19 infections and deaths. That data have shown that, by and large, people of color and Indigenous people are getting sick and dying at disproportionate rates.

The ACLU is calling on state officials to standardize, collect and release aggregate demographic data of COVID-19 infections and deaths in order for government entities to effectively address this pandemic, direct resources where they are most needed, and better protect all communities. 

The comments below can be attributed as noted:

Alison Beyea, executive director, ACLU of Maine: “It is crucial that the Maine government does everything in its power to ensure equitable access to testing and treatment during this pandemic. Collecting race and ethnicity data and developing a plan to protect Mainers of color and Wabanaki communities is an essential part of keeping everyone safe.”

ReNika Moore, director, National ACLU Racial Justice Program: “Racial disparities in health care, policing and incarceration, and who holds ‘essential’ jobs, are among factors that make people of color among the most vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have to address this pandemic through a racial justice lens, including by collecting and reporting accurate data on rates of infection and outcomes by race. We must take action to protect those most vulnerable.”

The letter is available here: