As the country buckles down amid the current surge of COVID-19 infections, residents in one predominately white New York City neighborhood have criticized the city’s plan that it says prioritizes testing and treatment along “racial and ethnic” lines. The Big Apple’s infection rate has been spiking in recent weeks, including in Staten Island’s South Shore neighborhood, where a city councilmember said his constituents “are being turned away after waiting for hours” for COVID-19 testing provided by the city.
A staffer for City Councilman Joe Borelli, who represents Staten Island, informed New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene of the issue and was reportedly told in response that “they would prioritize neighborhoods flagged by the city’s Taskforce on Racial Inclusion & Equity,” according to the New York Post.
A list of city neighborhoods that are “most impacted by COVID-19” and “have a high percentage of other health and socioeconomic disparities” included dozens of racially diverse communities in the city. Three neighborhoods in Staten Island were ranked 33rd — last — on the list.
“I think we are clearly not on their racial and ethnic rubric priority list,” Borelli told the New York Post.
New York City health officials responded in part by telling the Post that communities that have “borne the brunt of this pandemic due to structural racism” were being prioritized. Continue Reading