Coronavirus Pandemic: Minorities Are Shown to Be at Higher Risk for COVID-19
By David E. Hubler
Contributor, In Homeland Security
New Yorkers are in the midst of the worst crisis since 9/11. The destruction of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers on that September morning killed 2,996 people. That’s not counting the many more — including first responders — who died later from related illnesses. More than 6,000 people were injured in the aerial attack.
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As tragic as 9/11 was for New York City, it was a one-off event. What we are experiencing now with the novel coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease is an open-ended attack on most of the world’s population and high-volume cities in particular.
More than 1.4 million people have been stricken with the disease. As of Wednesday morning, at least 83,000 people have died, and the virus has been detected in at least 177 countries, mapping by The New York Times shows.
The New York-New Jersey-Connecticut metropolitan area is the U.S. epicenter of the disease, with New York City the epicenter’s epicenter.
Coronavirus Cases in New York City Continue to Rise
The number of coronavirus cases in New York City increased by more than 5,600 with 400 new deaths in just 24 hours, according to the New York Post, citing data released Wednesday.
“The Big Apple had 77,967 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 3,602 fatalities as a result of the contagion as of Wednesday morning, the data shows. That’s another dramatic jump from the city’s Tuesday morning tallies, which showed 72,324 coronavirus cases and 3,202 deaths,” the Post said.
Disproportionate Number of Those Who Have Died Are Blacks and Hispanics
“In New York City, Hispanics make up 34 percent of people who have died of the virus but only 29 percent of the population. Blacks make up 28 percent of those who have died, but only 22 percent of the population,” The New York Times reported on Wednesday, citing the city’s Health Department.
“Conversely, white and Asian New Yorkers have been less hard hit. In the city, whites make up 32 percent of the population and 27 percent of people who have died. Asians make up 14 percent of the city’s population but account for only 7 percent of fatalities,” The Times added.
Although “the coronavirus has spread into virtually every corner of the city, and some wealthier neighborhoods have been overrun with cases,” 19 of the 20 neighborhoods with the lowest percentage of positive tests have been in wealthy ZIP codes,” The Times explained.
New York’s famous subways are an example of how the coronavirus affects minorities and the poor more than the city’s affluent residents. Overall subway ridership was down a staggering 87 percent as of March 30, The Times reported. That was before strict stay-at-home and social distancing regulations were enacted. But for many of New York’s poor the subway is their only means of transportation.
The New York Times examined two subway stations in the Bronx with large Latin-American and African immigrant communities. The median household income there is about $22,000, one-third the median household income in the state.
“Many residents say they have no choice but to pile onto trains with strangers, potentially exposing themselves to the virus,” The Times noted. “Even worse, a reduction in service in response to plunging ridership has led, at times, to crowded conditions, making it impossible to maintain the social distancing that public health experts recommend.”
On Wednesday, the Washington Post confirmed the seemingly discriminatory nature of the disease.
A Post analysis of early data from jurisdictions across the country and census demographics “shows that counties that are majority-black have three times the rate of infections and almost six times the rate of deaths as counties where white residents are in the majority.”
At Tuesday’s daily White House briefing on the pandemic, Surgeon General Jerome Adams, who is 45, said: “I’ve shared myself personally that I have high blood pressure, that I have heart disease and spent a week in the [intensive care unit] due to a heart condition, that I actually have asthma and I’m prediabetic, and so I represent that legacy of growing up poor and black in America.”
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