COVID-19 cases continue to trend downward in the United States after the Omicron variant spike, but unfortunately, the daily death rate is still around 1,510 a day. With many cases around the country, some communities are hit harder than others. This is either due to lack of access and resources or structural racism. According to ABC News, Black citizens in New York City felt the Omicron surge’s adverse effects more than white New Yorkers.
The NY Department of Health & Mental Hygiene analysis found that Black New York City residents were hospitalized for COVID-19 at a rate more than two times greater than white residents. The study cites many different reasons for this disparity, from limited workers’ rights, health care segregation and mass incarceration.
“This finding represents the impact of multiple points of failure in our system to adequately safeguard the health of Black New Yorkers,” the authors wrote. “It mirrors extensive national evidence documenting racial inequities in COVID-19 outcomes affecting Black persons across the United States.”
The report also cites hospitalizations were much higher in New York City neighborhoods with a high percentage of Black residents.
For example, in the Bronx ZIP code 10469, which is about 53% Black, the hospitalization rate during January 2022 was about 274 per 100,000.
By comparison, the Manhattan ZIP code 10075, which is 87% white, had a hospitalization rate of 112 per 100,000 for the same period.
Delays in diagnosis are also noted to be factors as well:
The report found about 1 in 4 Black New Yorkers were not diagnosed until five days or longer after symptoms appeared compared to about 1 out of 4 other New Yorkers took four or more days to get diagnosed.
“These extended times from COVID-19 symptom onset to diagnosis are driven in part by structural barriers such as decreased access to COVID-19 testing or time off work to seek testing,” the authors wrote.
To combat this, the Taskforce for Racial Inclusion and Equity initiative identified 74 ZIP codes where vaccination rates needed to be boosted. Three of those ZIP codes had at least 70 percent of residents were fully vaccinated compared to 14 ZIP codes as of July 2021.