NYC lawmakers see inequality in pandemic’s reach


The coronavirus pandemic has hit some poor, working-class New York City neighborhoods especially hard.  

ZIP code data in New York City released last week showed that black, brown and immigrant communities are disproportionately represented among the diagnosed virus cases and deaths.  

In Queens, more than 41,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 according to data updated on Saturday by the New York State Department of Health.

Within the borough of Queens, the residents in the immigrant-rich neighborhoods of Jackson Heights, Elmhurst and Corona have some of the highest rates of positive cases, according to data released by city health officials.

Racial data shows 29.5% of the victims whose race is known are Hispanic, tracking the city’s population, which is also 29% Hispanic.  However, when you age-adjust the data to take into account the city’s younger non-white populations, the figures show that both blacks and Hispanics have died at more than twice the rate of whites.

In interviews with The Associated Press, Reps. Grace Meng and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the congressional members who represent these districts, say their constituents have suffered disproportionately.

In addition to health concerns, the congresswomen worry that constituents will be left behind when it comes to recovery efforts.

Millions of immigrants who do not have legal status in the U.S. but work here and pay taxes will not receive a stimulus check, including residents in New York.

Roughly 4.3 million mostly unauthorized immigrants who do not have a Social Security number file taxes using what’s known as a taxpayer identification number, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. These people are not receiving a stimulus check since they are linked to social security numbers.

President Donald Trump has acknowledged the hardship these immigrants are experiencing due to the outbreak is “terrible,” but said many citizens without work need help first. Democrats are pushing to provide taxpayers who use a taxpayer identification number with stimulus checks in the next coronavirus relief package that would be considered by Congress.

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