New Haven officials: Communities of color hit hardest by coronavirus

New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Dixwell neighborhood in New Haven is just one of the neighborhoods deemed ‘hot spots’ for the COVID-19 outbreak by health officials. Communities of color, in particular, confirmed to be hit the hardest by the virus in the Elm City.

An easy to remember fact about New Haven is that the population is roughly equal parts white, African American, and Hispanic. Around 30% each, but less than 20% of the people being hospitalized due to coronavirus are white.

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker showed new preliminary data Thursday that highlights African-Americans being infected, hospitalized, and dying of the coronavirus at a much higher rate than their white neighbors.

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That percentage is as high as 43% for African-American, followed by Hispanics with 28%; city leaders say the statistics are concerning.

In some ways that is not surprising given the income inequality that often times disproportionately impacts communities of color and creates a scenario where people may not have the ability to telework or the ability to take time away from work. They may have service jobs that may require them to interact with a lot of people.

– New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker

The data also highlighting specific hot spots in neighborhoods like Dixwell and Fairhaven. Alderwoman Jeannette Morrison represents those neighborhoods in Ward 22. She says the statistic is concerning.

In regards to COVID 19 in Dixwell, Newhallville, Fairhaven, places like that being considered hot spots, I can understand that a lot of us have other medical issues.

We have diabetes, we have high blood pressure, we have these different things due to the different foods that we eat, our environment; things of that nature.

– Alderwoman Jeannette Morrison/ Ward 22, New Haven

It’s a phenomenon mirrored in major cities across the country. Income inequality, poverty, and underlying health issues running rampant through communities of color, which is why New Haven’s top health official is increasing messaging towards at-risk communities and working to make sure their access to proper health care and testing is available during the pandemic.

People of color are also less likely to have jobs that they can do from home, so they are more likely to get exposed to more people and more chances to encounter the virus. This is not something surprising, it is not unique to New Haven. Cities across the country are seeing the same disparity.

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