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Coronavirus is Disproportionately Killing Hispanic and Black New Yorkers

De Blasio at April 8 City Hall press conference

April 8, 2020 By Allie Griffin

The coronavirus is disproportionately killing Hispanic and Black New Yorkers across the five boroughs, according to newly released data.

Hispanic and Latino people account for 34 percent of all COVID-19 related deaths in New York City, while they make up about 29 percent of the city’s population, according to preliminary data.

The City’s Black residents make up about 28 percent of COVID deaths citywide, but are just 22 percent of the city’s population. In comparison, White New Yorkers make up 32 percent of the city population, but make up 27 percent of coronavirus deaths.

“There are clear inequalities, clear disparities in how this disease is affecting the people of our city,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at his daily coronavirus briefing this morning.

The demographic data supports earlier geographic data of coronavirus cases that showed neighborhoods where low-income communities of color live have had higher numbers of cases.

The larger Corona area in Queens has been called the epicenter of the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in New York. The neighborhood is 75 percent Hispanic and more than 20 percent of its population lives below the poverty line.

It has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the city, with 1,659 confirmed as of yesterday evening.

The now documented disparities should “cause great concern,” de Blasio said.

The disparities in coronavirus deaths correlates with healthcare disparities faced by low income and minority communities, who may not have access to or be able to afford quality healthcare, he said.

“The truth is that in so many ways the negative effects of coronavirus — the pain it’s causing, the death it’s causing — tracks with other profound healthcare disparities that we have seen for years and decades in this city,” he said solemnly.

“We’re seeing folks who have struggled before really being hit particularly hard by the coronavirus,” he added. “That’s a blatant inequality.”

The City’s Health Commissioner, Dr. Oxiris Barbot said immigration status and fears around it could also be playing a role in how the virus is disproportionately killing Latinos.

“I am very concerned when I see the large percentage of Latinos who have died of this illness,” she said.

While the city’s public hospitals treat all New Yorkers regardless of their immigration or insurance status, the fear prevails among Hispanic New Yorkers, Barbot said.

“The overlay of the anti-immigrant rhetoric across this country I think has real implications in the health of our community.”

Dr. Barbot also said the communities which have been harder hit by the virus have higher premature mortality rates during normal times due to higher rates of underlying chronic illnesses and the coronavirus is compounding this.

The Mayor is launching a campaign to address the disparities, beginning with a “double down” effort to ensure that the city’s public hospitals are fully equipped with what they need to treat patients with coronavirus.

“We need to ensure that our public hospitals get absolutely everything they need because we know that so many new yorkers who are in the most vulnerable communities, in the most danger — where do they turn to?” de Blasio asked. “They turn to our public hospitals, the most obvious example is Elmhurst Hospital in Queens. We’ve all seen what’s played out there.”

Elmhurst Hospital has become ground zero of the pandemic in New York City and lines of people waiting to get tested for COVID-19 has continuously wrapped around amid near constant sirens.

“The public hospitals are the greatest guarantee we have that there will be fairness in saving lives,” the mayor said.

The Mayor is also launching a multi-million dollar public awareness campaign in 14 different languages focused on specific zip codes with the highest number of coronavirus cases.

He said the inequalities in healthcare must be addressed.

“We’re all trying to fight this battle and keep focused and keep calm in the midst of a battle that we must win,” de Blasio said. “And as leaders we have to stay calm, but it made me angry to see that the disparities that have plagued this city — this nation — that are all about fundamental inequality are once again causing such pain and causing innocent people to lose their lives.”

Source: DOH

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Click for Comments 
could it be that there's just more of them?

in closer proximities?

This isn’t disproportionate. this is just what happens when you have 12 people in an apartment or small house. sorry. theres no way to social distance when you go home to a large family.

Gardens Watcher

Karen, I hear you. Grocery shopping is not only frustrating, but is getting more expensive and dangerous. At least more people are wearing masks, which is a good thing.

Even before the PAUSE started, I knew we were headed for trouble. Overheard two women on QB & 46th St. with shopping bags full of groceries: “It’s sooo much easier to shop here than in the city.”


They think its an Asian and white problem. Most of us see what is happening all over the world and in countries like Spain which is covered on TV and social media in many languages daily. Look at the ratings for international channels like Spanish stations in NYC before you pass judgements on reasons. So this idea that we need to reach out in multi languages is ridiculous. Give communities more credit in terms of knowing what is happening. It just might be that they are not taking precautions, do not care enough or that the virus is spreading through breathing and talking at a faster rate in certain “youthful” communities. On the other hand if they are filling up their local hospitals they care enough to seek treatment and get tested. So many ways of looking at this. I also heard that the only way you can be prescribed certain medications which are helping other patients in other countries is by going to the hospital. Doctors are not allowed to prescribe it to outpatients in NYC.


@Gardens Watcher..Some people have to make daily trips to the market because grocery items and supplies are so limited. At least this is what I am experiencing with a family of 4 to feed and take care of. The same goes for trying to order online. This morning I went to the market with a list of necessities. My list included paper products, cleaning supplies, meats, soap and items I can carry back home. I left the market with nothing on my list and ended up getting frozen and canned goods. I will have to make another trip tomorrow. There were also a big number of people that I have never seen before shopping in the neighborhood. I assume they are driving here from nearby neighborhoods with a high infection rate. I ended up waiting longer in line than the time I took to fill my shopping cart. This is my experience just thought I would share so people are more prepared.

Gardens Watcher

Karen, no doubt decamping is keeping the number of cases & deaths for whites down in NYC.

I am stunned at how many of my neighbors are not taking proper precautions. Going to the store daily rather than once a week increases your chance for exposure six fold.

Timmy G

Karen – You can’t work off the books unless the people who own and operate the business gives you permission to work off the books. I don’t know where you’re living but it’s nothing like where me and my family live between 39th and Skillman on 46th Street.

Whites are minorities

Thats because there is about 75% Hispanic, black population in these neighborhoods. so thats why there is more . After you count middle eastern and Asian these neighborhoods are only about 7% white.

Tree of Liberty

Just like admittance to the elite high schools in NYC. Asians dominate. Asians show a better success rate among all races with this so called Chinese virus. As per honeymoon in Cuba Deblasio data shows .
Maybe data should be broken down to education and diet.


My black friend texted me that he started smoking menthol cigarettes last week because “rumor in the hood” is that it suffocates the virus in your lungs. I think certain communities need better outreach programs to educate the public on coronavirus Send some cops to enforce social distancing. I read that NYCHA is demanding help from the city.


Did they consider the fact that a good number people left the city and may be using other hospitals in other counties of NY or other states? My building is half empty and its been like this ever since this whole thing started. Quality of life is not the greatest around here in terms of health, stress, noise and pollution. Homeless people and families are being housed in small room hotels, public schools are feeding children garbage, they release criminals to go to their small over crowded homes, poor people move to NYC for the state/city benefits, people then have more babies to get more benefits, undocumented people come here to work off the books in our restaurants, bars, shops, and construction sites and then you wonder why certain areas are high? All i heard from day one is that this is a virus that deadly impacts the most vulnerable in society greatly in dense cities.


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