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New U.S. Data Rules Aim at Clearing Up Jumbled Virus Picture

  • HHS will require labs to report race, gender and location data
  • Lack of demographic clarity has obscured some disease trends
A nurse speaks with a patient at a Covid-19 drive-through testing site in Escondido, California.

A nurse speaks with a patient at a Covid-19 drive-through testing site in Escondido, California.

Photographer: Bing Guan/Bloomberg
Updated on

Laboratories will be required to report more details to the government about people who take coronavirus tests, including information on race, gender and zip code, under new guidance issued on Thursday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Incomplete data on who is getting sick and where they live has made it harder to track infections and contain the pandemic. Those shortcomings have also helped obscure signs that communities of color have been disproportionately affected by the virus.