Most NYC Coronavirus Testing Done In Wealthiest Zip Codes: Analysis

Most NYC Coronavirus Testing Done In Wealthiest Zip Codes: Analysis

zip codes
Most NYC coronavirus testing is done in the wealthiest zip codes, according to an analysis of data from the New York City Department of Health. Photo: A medical technician prepares a COVID-19 test at a New York State Department of Health drive-through testing facility at Jones Beach State Park on Long Island, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in Wantagh, N.Y. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

People living in New York City’s whitest and wealthiest zip codes are receiving more coronavirus testing than others, according to a New York Post analysis of data from the New York City Department of Health.

The analysis shows that people living in the NYC borough of Staten Island are getting tested for coronavirus more often than any other borough — and at twice the rate of Brooklynites and Manhattanites.

According to the 2010 census, Staten Island is 75.7 percent white (non-Hispanic) and just 10.6 percent Black or African American, World Population Review reported.

The racial makeup of Manhattan is: White (non-Hispanic), 50.7 percent; Black or African American: 15.5 percent, according to World Population Review. Brooklyn is 49.5 percent white and 35.8 percent Black/African American. In Queens, nearly 50 percent of the population is white and 20 Black/African American. Forty-five percent of The Bronx is white, while more than 43 percent of the population is Black or African American.

Staten Island is New York’s smallest borough and home to many first responders, which could be a partial explanation for the disparity in both testing availability.

The median household income in each New York City county between 2013 to 2017, was: Manhattan, $79,781; Staten Island, $76,244; Queens, $62,008; Brooklyn, $52,782; and The Bronx, $36,593, Patch.com reported.

New York City’s low-income neighborhoods appear to be some of the hardest hit by coronavirus and they are not receiving testing at equal rates, Time reported.

“We are deeply concerned about the disparities of the impact of this virus and are working hard to ensure the resources are available to communities experiencing the worst outcomes,” said Health Department spokesman Patrick Gallahue. “With respect to testing, we have given guidance to providers on when it is appropriate to test, however, it is ultimately the judgment of the physician.”

He added: “While we have recently expanded testing we urge providers to limit tests to seriously ill people as well as healthcare workers, first responders, and other especially vulnerable communities.”

According to a Time magazine analysis of the most recent data from New York City, compared against income data for each ZIP code released by the IRS, the zip codes in the bottom 25 percent of average incomes represent 36 percent of all cases of coronavirus, while the wealthiest 25 percent account for under 10 percent.

The analysis showed that more than two-thirds of the 30 ZIP codes with the highest per-capita rates of testing “were either whiter or wealthier — and frequently both — than the city average population,” The New York Post reported.

The data shows that the COVID-19 crisis is hitting communities of more color the hardest – while those same communities have less testing to diagnose the virus or resources to fight it, said Public Advocate Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn), the city’s highest-ranking elected Black official. “The city needs a task force in place to rapidly implement an action plan to mitigate racial disparities in COVID-19 exposure, testing, access to resources, and fatalities.”

An analysis of NYC death certificates showed that Black and brown New Yorkers are dying at twice the rate of their white counterparts.

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“There is absolutely no question that people of means have found a way to get a test during the most restrictive times and that the vast majority of people who are low income or people of color had no opportunity for testing unless they were sick enough to be hospitalized,” said Councilman Mark Levine (D-Manhattan), who chairs the health committee.

The analysis’s numbers show the disparity in the testing borough by borough.

Nearly four out of every 100 residents — 3.8 — Staten Islanders got tested for COVID-19, far exceeding the per-capita rates in other boroughs, according to the analysis. Just 2.5 per 100 people in Queens have been tested. Testing is slightly more prevalent in The Bronx, where 2.9 people per 100 have been checked, The New York Post reported.

In Brooklyn and Manhattan, COVID-19 testing averaged 1.9 tests per 100 people — half the rate of Staten Island.