Civil Rights and COVID-19
“We are empowering medical providers to serve patients wherever they are during this national public health emergency. We are especially concerned about reaching those most at risk, including older persons and persons with disabilities.” – Roger Severino, OCR Director
The resources below explain how civil rights laws assist patients in receiving the care they need during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
For more information about how nondiscrimination laws apply during an emergency, visit the Civil Rights Emergency Preparedness page.
- OCR Issues Guidance on Civil Rights Protections Prohibiting Race, Color, and National Origin Discrimination During COVID-19 - July 20, 2020
- American Society of Nephrology – David White Talks to OCR Director Severino About Protecting Civil Rights During COVID-19 - July 3, 2020
- OCR Resolves Complaint with Tennessee After it Revises its Triage Plans to Protect Against Disability Discrimination - June 26, 2020
- OCR Director Roger Severino participates in the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine webinar on Best Practices for Patient-Clinician Communication for People with Disabilities in the Era of COVID-19 - June 19, 2020
- OCR Resolves Complaints after State of Connecticut and Private Hospital Safeguard the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to Have Reasonable Access to Support Persons in Hospital Settings During COVID-19 - June 9, 2020
- HHS Initiatives to Address the Disparate Impact of COVID-19 on African Americans and Other Racial and Ethnic Minorities - June 8, 2020
- HHS Awards More than a Half Billion Dollars to Help Vulnerable and Underserved Communities Gain Access to COVID-19 Testing - May 7, 2020
- OCR Resolves Civil Rights Complaint Against Pennsylvania After it Revises its Pandemic Health Care Triaging Policies to Protect Against Disability Discrimination - April 16, 2020
- OCR Reaches Early Case Resolution With Alabama After it Removes Discriminatory Ventilator Triaging Guidelines - April 8, 2020
- OCR Issues Bulletin on Civil Rights Laws and HIPAA Flexibilities That Apply During the COVID-19 Emergency - March 28, 2020
- Civil Rights Protections Prohibiting Race, Color, and National Origin Discrimination During COVID-19: Application of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- May 2020 Ensuring the Rights of Persons with Limited English Proficiency in Health Care During COVID-19 Bulletin*
- Boletín informativo: Garantizar los derechos de atención médica de las personas con dominio limitado del inglés durante la pandemia de COVID-19*
- March 2020 Civil Rights, HIPAA, and COVID-19 Bulletin*
- Boletín informativo de marzo de 2020 - Derechos Civiles, la ley HIPAA y la enfermedad del coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)
Other OCR Resources
For more information about how nondiscrimination laws apply during an emergency, please visit the Civil Rights Emergency Preparedness page.
To learn more about privacy flexibilities and guidance during COVID-19, please visit the HIPAA and COVID-19 page.
For more information on how HIPAA applies in in emergency situations, please visit the HIPAA Emergency Preparedness page.
* People using assistive technology may not be able to fully access information in these files. For assistance, contact the HHS Office for Civil Rights at (800) 368-1019, TDD toll-free: (800) 537-7697, or by emailing OCRMail@hhs.gov.
National Response Coordination Center’s Statement on Civil Rights & COVID-19
Other HHS Resources for Civil Rights & COVID-19
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 Resources
CDC Multilingual Content
- Stop the Spread of Germs
This poster describes how to limit the spread of respiratory diseases like COVID-19 by avoiding close contact with people who are sick; covering cough and sneeze; avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth; and washing your hands with soap and water.
Available in Amharic, Arabic, Burmese, Dari, English, Farsi, French, Haitian Creole, Korean, Nepali, Pashto, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Tigryna, Ukrainian and Vietnamese
- Symptoms of Coronavirus Disease 2019
This poster presents the symptoms of the novel coronavirus (fever, cough, and shortness of breath).
Available in English, Simplified Chinese, Haitian Creole, Korean, Spanish and Vietnamese
CDC Fact Sheets
- Steps to Help Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 if You Are Sick
This Fact Sheet provides steps to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community if you are sick with COVID-19 or suspect you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.
Available in Amharic, Arabic, Burmese, Dari, English, Farsi, French, Haitian Creole, Nepali, Pashto, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Tigryna, Ukrainian and Vietnamese
- What You Need to Know About Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)
This Fact Sheet explains what COVID-19 is, how it spreads, what its symptoms and severe complications are, how to protect yourself, what to do if you are sick, and what to do if you recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19.
Available in English, Simplified Chinese and Spanish
CDC Videos in Spanish
- 6 medidas para prevenir el COVID-19
- 10 cosas que puede hacer para controlar el COVID-19 en casa
- COVID-19: Lo que los adultos mayores necesitan saber
CDC Videos in American Sign Language
- COVID-19 Prevention Tips
- 10 Things You Can Do To Manage COVID-19 at Home
- What is my Risk for COVID-19
- What Older Adults Need to Know about COVID-19
- Symptoms of Coronavirus Disease 2019
- COVID-19 Social Distancing
- COVID-19 Do Your Part to Slow the Spread
- When To Get Medical Care for COVID-19
- Managing Anxiety and Stress
- Parents Supporting Children
- Caring for Someone at Home Who May Have COVID-19
Administration for Community Living (ACL) COVID-19 Resources
- ACL information for older adults and people with disabilities
Available in Spanish
- ¿Qué deben saber los adultos mayores y las personas con discapacidad?
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) COVID-19 Resources
Other Federal Agency Civil Rights Information on COVID-19
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) COVID-19 Resources
- FEMA, DHS and HHS COVID-19 Teleconference for Civil Rights Stakeholders (Transcript) - May 6, 2020 En Español
- FEMA & HHS Teleconference for Civil Rights Stakeholders (Transcript) - April 17, 2020
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) COVID-19 Resources
U.S. Department of Education COVID-19 Resources
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) COVID-19 Resources
U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) COVID-19 Resources
- DOJ Coronavirus ResponseAttorney General Statement on Balancing Public Safety with the Preservation of Civil Rights – April 27, 2020
- Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Statement on Protecting Civil Rights While Responding to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) - April 28, 2020