Take Urgent Action to Protect Black Communities Amid Pandemic in Nassau County
We are collectively urging Nassau County officials to take swift actions to protect marginalized populations as alarming statistics show the disproportionate impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on Long Island’s Black communities.
We are collectively urging Nassau County officials to take swift actions to protect marginalized populations as alarming statistics show the disproportionate impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on Long Island’s Black communities. Statistics released by cities across the United States show that marginalized populations, specifically Black people, are contracting and dying of COVID-19 at significantly higher rates than White individuals. Black individuals disproportionately suffer from underlying conditions such as diabetes, asthma and hypertension, which, when combined with COVID-19, lead to higher mortality rates. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, black people work a disproportionate number of jobs in health care support, office and administrative support, transportation and material moving, food preparation and service, as well as personal care assistants. Such jobs typically do not provide hospital-grade protection, and lead to a greater risk of potential exposure to individuals who have contracted COVID-19. Additionally, Black and Latinx families are also living in, often crowded, multigenerational homes at a much higher rate; these settings often include young, asymptomatic individuals that may put their older relatives at risk. According to the Pew Research Center, 26% of Black families and 27% of Latinx families live in these settings, compared to 16% of White families. According to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control, while Black people represent 13% of the nation's population, they make up 33% of the hospitalizations from coronavirus in the U.S. On April 22nd, New York State released preliminary data of COVID-19 deaths broken down by race, with 99% of the state reporting. According to New York State’s Department of Health, as of April 21, 2020, Black individuals make up 18% of the COVID-related fatalities in all parts of New York State, excluding New York City, despite comprising 9% of that population; Latinx individuals make up 14% of the fatalities despite comprising 12% of the population. In Nassau County, Black residents are dying at a higher rate than white residents AND at a higher rate than all racial/ethnic groups in New York City. As of April 23, 2020, the age-adjusted death rate for Black people in Nassau County was 125.9 per 100,000 compared to 46.6 per 100,000 for White people in Nassau County. In New York City the same death rate for Black residents is 92.3 per 100,000 and 45.2 per 100,000 for whites. These disparities among Black residents in Nassau County stems from a long history of neglect and delay in the availability of health care services. We respectfully request that Nassau County take the steps necessary to address these concerns for the health and safety of marginalized communities during this current crisis. These steps include: Immediately initiating a large-scale public health campaign aimed at spreading awareness and news regarding COVID-19 in accessible languages Directing adequate resources to designated hot-spot areas Promoting drive-thru/walk-up testing locations in Elmont, in addition to Hempstead and Freeport Publishing data relating to the number of tests administered at each testing site on Nassau County’s Department of Health website, as well as statistical data on COVID-19 deaths by race/ethnicity Releasing a strategy for contact tracing on those who have tested positive for COVID-19 Authentically engaging stakeholders from the most impacted communities during the planning and communication of phased reopening