Senate Democrats call for increased access to coronavirus info for limited English proficiency and disabled populations

Aaron Schwartz

Senate Democrats are calling on the Trump administration to increase access to coronavirus data for people with limited English proficiency (LEP) and those who are disabled. 

The 15 senators, led by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), join House Democrats in calling for more accessible coronavirus information from the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

The senators are also asking the administration to offer more data in sign language.

“Making federal programs accessible for persons with LEP and for persons with disabilities is a core civil rights requirement under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” the senators wrote in a letter dated April 24.  

“During a public health emergency current law requires the ‘distribution of supplies, the processing of applications, and other relief and assistance activities [to] be accomplished in an equitable and impartial manner, without discrimination on the grounds of race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency, or economic status’  by the federal government,” they added. 

The letter asked for a response from the administration by Friday. A spokesperson for Menendez told The Hill the administration has not provided an update on the issue as of Wednesday. 

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

The CDC has had Spanish and simplified Chinese translations for its main COVID-19 website since March and also has videos in American Sign Language. As the pandemic has expanded across the country, it has added Korean and Vietnamese translations to its coronavirus materials.

The White House coronavirus guidelines are still only available in English and Spanish.

The CDC does provide telephone services in more languages and certain coronavirus materials in up to 14, though their main site and the bulk of their materials are in English.

Tags Bob Menendez Coronavirus

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