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News > U.S.

Latinos, Blacks Disproportionately Hit by COVID-19 in NYC

  • Blacks and Latinos in the U.S. are among the most affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

    Blacks and Latinos in the U.S. are among the most affected by the coronavirus pandemic. | Photo: EFE

Published 8 April 2020

The figures reflect a lower impact among White and Asian people.

The Latino community represents the ethnic group that is hit harder by the COVID-19 in New York City, the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed Wednesday.


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Citing data from New York City's health department, de Blasio said Latinos - who comprise about 29 percent of the city's population - represent nearly 34 percent of the patients who died of COVID-19 as of Monday, while almost 28 percent of the known deaths were among black people, who represent about 24 percent of New York population.

Meanwhile, the figures reflected a disproportionately lower impact among White and Asian people.

The mayor pointed to the persistence of economic disparities in explaining why there are far more victims among Latino and Blacks than among other racial and ethnic groups.

"There's still a reality that folks with more resources get more health care," he said. "There are a lot of people - particularly seniors in communities of color - that were more vulnerable because their conditions had not been treated the way they could have and should have if the resources had been given to them that they deserved."

De Blasio added that information about the virus from city authorities did not reach some people because of language barriers.


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The commissioner of the city's health department Oxiris Barbot also noted that certain people in the Latinx community were afraid to seek care out of concerns about their migration status, or that of their family members.

"Even though we have made lots of efforts to reassure people that all of our public hospitals see individuals independent of their immigration status," she said, "the overlay of the anti-immigrant rhetoric across this country, I think, has real implications in the health of our community."

Yet, New York is not the only city in the United States to witness such racial and ethnic disparities.

In Chicago, data analyzed by member station WBEZ showed that as of Saturday, Black people made up 70 percent of the city's registered deaths, while they make up less than 30 percent of its population. Black citizens in Louisiana also represented "slightly more than 70 percent of deaths" across the state, its governor, John Bel Edwards, said Monday.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics released last fall data showing that a significantly smaller percentage of Latino and Black workers reported enjoying the flexibility to work remotely than their White and Asian counterparts in 2017-18, which can be one of the reasons explaining these disparities.

"There are more public workers, Latino and African-American, who don't have a choice, frankly, but to go out there every day and drive the bus and drive the train and show up for work - and wind up subjecting themselves to, in this case, the virus," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo acknowledged.

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