Data released this week by New York City shows that Black and Latino people there are almost twice as likely to die from COVID-19 as white residents. The news comes as more information emerges around municipalities with large nonwhite communities, where African Americans are disproportionately affected with coronavirus infections.
The figures show that Hispanics have a COVID-19 death rate of 22 per 100,000 people; Blacks 20 deaths per 100,000; whites 10 deaths per 100,000 and Asians 8 deaths per 100,000. The rates are adjusted for age and population size.
New York has been the epicenter of the coronavirus crisis in the United States for nearly a month. In the city’s five boroughs, there are more than 80,000 cases with 20,000 hospitalized and 4,200 deaths, according to official data.
The city has long been a majority minority municipality. With 8.3 million people, Blacks make up 24.3 percent of the total population, while Hispanics are 29.1 percent and Asians are 13.9 percent, U.S. Census information shows. Like other cities, including Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, New Orleans and others that are showing increases in coronavirus infections, health disparities affect economically marginalized areas.
“There are clear inequalities, clear disparities in how this disease is affecting the people of our city,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said, according to The New York Times. “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 health care disparities that we have seen for years and decades.”
Deaths in New York State, which has more cases than any other state, continue to increase, officials report. In a day-to-day record, 799 people died from Wednesday to Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a press conference.
Although increases in hospitalizations are beginning to slow, indicating that the apex of cases could be within reach, he said New York is not out of the woods and that social distancing and other mandates put in place weeks ago would need to remain for the time being.
“Everybody is assuming, well, once we get through this, we’re done,” Cuomo said. “I wouldn’t be so quick to assume that. This virus has been ahead of us from day one.”
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