New statistics from New York City’s Health Department show the coronavirus pandemic is hitting neighborhoods with high poverty levels harder than wealthier ones.
According to the statistics, neighborhoods with high poverty rates have seen more confirmed coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.
In neighborhoods with a “very high” population of the community living below the poverty level — classified as 30% or higher — the death rate from COVID-19 is 232 per 100,000 people. The hospitalization rate is 714 per 100,000. And the case rate is 2,497 per 100,000.
Neighborhoods with a “low” poverty rate — or less than 10% of the population living below the poverty level — the death rate from COVID-19 is 99 per 100,000. The hospitalization rate is 330 per 100,000. And the case rate is 1,696 per 100,000.
Addressing the disparity in how hard different neighborhoods are impacted by the virus, New York City’s Health Commissioner, Oxiris Barbot, said, “This virus is not hitting New Yorkers equitably, and that reality is guiding the COVID-19 response.”
While researchers are still learning about the coronavirus, data has also disproportionately affected Americans of color.
A recent study found that although black Americans make up 13.4% of the population, more than half of the COVID-19 cases were in counties with higher populations of black Americans.
Additionally, about 60% of COVID-19 deaths were from counties with higher populations of black Americans.
Experts have suggested that both the economic and racial disparities in the coronavirus death rate are due to a lack of health care access, health insurance, and more crowded housing situations.
Other scientists have suggested that “structural racism” has played a role in the racial disparity of COVID-19’s impact on Americans.