Wed | May 27, 2020

Virus has hit black, Hispanic New Yorkers hard – Mayor

Published:Thursday | April 9, 2020 | 12:20 AM
A woman leaves Elmhurst Hospital Center after being tested for COVID-19  on Tuesday in the Queens borough of New York. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.
A woman leaves Elmhurst Hospital Center after being tested for COVID-19 on Tuesday in the Queens borough of New York. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.

NEW YORK (AP):

NEW YORK City’s death toll from the coronavirus has been disproportionately high in black and Hispanic communities, and the city is starting an outreach campaign for those residents, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday.

“We’re seeing folks who have struggled before really being hit particularly hard,” de Blasio said at a City Hall briefing.

Preliminary data indicate that black people account for 28 per cent of the city’s COVID-19 death toll, even though they are just 22 per cent of the city’s population. Hispanic people account for 34 per cent of the city’s virus death toll and 29 per cent of its population.

De Blasio said of the racial disparities: “It’s sick. It’s troubling. It’s wrong. And we are going to fight back with everything we’ve got.”

Dr Oxiris Barbot, the city’s health commissioner, noted that the communities that have been hit the hardest by the virus “have had higher rates of underlying chronic illness” than other New Yorkers.

State health officials reported Tuesday that more than 4,000 people have been killed by the virus in New York City. The city’s new round of data is based on a smaller number of cases, about 1,600, where the race and ethnicity of the victim is known.

De Blasio said the city would embark on a multimillion-dollar public service campaign to reach non-English-speaking communities with information about the virus.

Cuomo, speaking separately later in the day, said he also was troubled by the disparities and will order more testing in minority communities.

“Why is it the poorest people always pay the highest price?” Cuomo asked. “But let’s figure it out. Let’s do the work. Let’s do the research. Let’s learn from this moment.”

When the city fatality figures are adjusted to reflect the age make-up of ethnic groups within the city’s population, the disparities are more stark. The age-adjusted death rate for both blacks and Hispanics was more than double the rate for non-Hispanic whites.

Asians, meanwhile, experienced a much lower rate of fatalities: 8.4 per 100,000 residents, compared with 10.2 for non-Hispanic whites, 19.8 for non-Hispanic blacks, and 22.8 for Hispanics.

Although the figures released Wednesday show racial disparities in who has died of the virus, the disparities are not as great as those that have been reported elsewhere in the country.

Figures released by Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services show 40 per cent of those who have died from COVID-19 are black, in a state where African Americans are just 14 per cent of the population.

New York coronavirus deaths rose by 779, a record number for a second consecutive day, and Cuomo warned the toll will climb even as hospitalisations from the outbreak finally moderate.

New York state recorded 6,268 deaths by Tuesday.