By: Rahul Adhikari
May 11 2023
A 2021 memo for treatments for COVID-19 has been misinterpreted to claim that Governor Kathy Hochul denied medical treatment to white people.
A post circulating on social media claims that New York Governor Kathy Hochul approved a memo denying specific medical treatment to white people. Multiple users have shared the post on Facebook. The viral post includes an image of the governor with the claim and a link to an article that has since been taken down. One such post has garnered over 100 likes and 89 shares.
However, no evidence supports the claim that Governor Kathy Hochul approved a memo denying medical facilities to white people. A memo from 2021 has been misinterpreted on social media.
In December 2021, New York Governor Hochul approved a memo authorizing two antiviral treatments, Paxlovid and Molnupiravir, for COVID-19 patients at high risk of severe illness. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Paxlovid and Molnupiravir in December 2021 for treating mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in high-risk patients.
The governor's memo was issued following the FDA's authorization and outlined eligibility criteria for the treatments. The memo states that "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.” However, the memo did not exclude white individuals or declare them ineligible for receiving the treatment.
A lawsuit filed by William A. Jacobson, a professor from Cornell Law School, challenging the state health department's decision to prioritize "non-white race or Hispanic/Latino ethnicity" for COVID-19 treatments was dismissed by the district court of New York.
According to the FDA, factors such as race or ethnicity can put patients at higher risk. The CDC also notes that while age is the most potent risk factor for severe disease, medical professionals "carefully consider potential additional risks of COVID-19 illness for patients who are members of certain racial and ethnic minority groups."
Erin Silk, a New York State Health Department spokeswoman, informed Associated Press that race is only one of several factors that doctors should consider when deciding on treatments. Logically Facts has reached out to the department for clarification. This story will be updated if and when we receive a response.
The New York governor approved a memo in 2021 for antiviral treatment for COVID-19 patients with high-risk factors. The memo prioritized individuals of "non-white race or Hispanic/Latino ethnicity." However, it did not exclude or deny treatment to white people. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19, including symptoms, prevention, and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organization or your national healthcare authority.