In December 2021, the Biden Administration issued a guidance stating that various “medical conditions or factors” including “race or ethnicity” could be considered when determining whether certain COVID patients could be classified as “high risk” — a designation that would more quickly qualify them for the receipt of monoclonal antibodies and oral antivirals to treat their illness.

This policy was in keeping with policies that were likewise being embraced by certain states such as New York and Utah. As Fox News reported on December 31, 2021:

“Last week, New York’s Department of Health released a document detailing its plan to distribute treatments such as monoclonal antibody treatment and antiviral pills. The plan includes a section on eligibility for the scarce antiviral pills that people must meet to receive the treatment, including a line stating a person needs to have ‘a medical condition or other factors that increase their risk for severe illness.’  One such ‘risk factor’ is being a race or ethnicity that is not White due to ‘longstanding systemic health and social inequities..’  ‘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,’ the memo reads.

“In guidelines issued by the state of Utah for the distribution of monoclonal antibodies in the state, residents who are ‘non-white race or Hispanic/Latinx ethnicity’ receive 2 additional points when calculating their ‘COVID-19 risk score.’  ‘Race/ethnicity continues to be a risk factor for severe COVID-19 disease, and the Utah COVID Risk Score is one approach to address equitable access to hard hit communities,’ the Utah guidance stated, adding a reminder that national guidance from the FDA ‘specifically states that race and ethnicity may be considered when identifying patients most likely to benefit from this lifesaving treatment.’”