At a rally on Saturday, former President Donald Trump told his audience that public health authorities are denying white people the Covid-19 vaccine and treatment due to their race.

“The left is now rationing lifesaving therapeutics based on race, discriminating against and denigrating … white people to determine who lives and who dies,” he said on Saturday. “If you’re white you do’’t get the vaccine or if you’re white you don’t get therapeutics. … In New York state, if you’re white, you have to go to the back of the line to get medical health.”

His untrue claims appear deliberately to encourage resentment of racial minorities. Many of his supporters have also continually denied science and the advice of experts, instead relying on misinformation or the word of Trump himself. With these remarks at his rally, Trump has added more fuel to the fire of these views.

In reality, white people are not excluded from vaccines. There is also no evidence of a public health policy that sends white people “to the back of the line” due to race.

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New York City Health Department spokesman Michael Lanza stated that race is not used to deny any treatment.

Trump’s remarks distorted a New York policy that allows healthcare providers to consider race as a factor when prescribing oral antiviral treatments, which have a limited supply. This policy exists in order to direct the treatments toward people at the highest risk of severe disease from Covid-19. It recommends that non-white ethnicity “be considered a risk factor” because people of color are statistically much likelier to become severely ill or die from coronavirus, due to systemic healthcare deficiencies over the years.

Despite Trump’s claims suggesting the contrary, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Friday that ethnic and racial minorities are less likely to receive outpatient antiviral treatment than white people.

The CDC found last year that black, Hispanic and indigenous people had twice the likelihood of dying from the coronavirus than non-Hispanic white people, and that they also had a much greater likelihood of hospitalization. In October, it also found that members of certain ethnic and racial minorities die of Covid-19 at younger ages. An earlier Associated Press study similarly found that the virus was disproportionately harming black and Hispanic people.

Despite the facts of what exists and does not exist in healthcare policy, Trump claimed at his Florence, Arizona rally that white people are being refused the Covid-19 vaccine and Covid-19 healthcare due to the color of their skin.

Many of Trump’s supporters are anti-vaccine, with an August poll reporting that one third of his supporters oppose them. Trump’s inflammatory claims come after disgraced Fox News host Bill O’Reilly stated that he recently advised Trump to take more credit for the vaccine in order to bolster his political endeavors.

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