Hispanic/Latinx and African American COVID-19 victims are dying at twice the rate of white New Yorkers who have the virus, the city Department of Health reports.
The coronavirus death rate is 22.8 percent per 100,000 people in the Hispanic/Latinx community, 19.8 percent in the African American community, 10.8 percent among whites, and 8.4 percent in the Asian community.
Separately, a study released by City Comptroller Scott Stringer showed that 75 percent of New York’s frontline workers—such as people employed in grocery stores, public transit, postal services, childcare and sanitation—are people of color. Essential workers who live in underserved areas most often do not have the resources or the necessary personal protection on the job.
“This disease, unfortunately, it amplifies the horrible health disparities that already exist,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said on CNN, “and it does very clearly cut by income and by race.”
“Why is it that the poorest people always pay the highest price?” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday. “There are more public workers, Latino and African American, who don’t have a choice, frankly, but to go out there every day and drive the bus and drive the train and show up for work and wind up subjecting themselves to, in this case, the virus.”
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams questioned efforts to protect Hispanic/Latinx and African American communities asking what languages information such as social distancing and hygiene practices are shared in.
“What ethnic newspapers and communications and radio stations did we say that to?” Adams said. “We can’t think we’re talking to people when in fact we’re talking to ourselves.”
The mayor vowed to find ways to increase resources at public hospitals where many of the uninsured are treated, as well as make sure that those calling 311 for help will be able to speak to a representative in their language.
The Department of Health website has fact sheets in 15 languages on how people can avoid contracting the virus and what they should do if they become ill.