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Opinion

Coronavirus numbers paint a bleak picture

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, during a

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, during a news conference in Albany on Wednesday. Credit: Office of the Governor.

Daily Point

Data show minorities affected more by COVID-19

New York State Health Department data show that black and Hispanic residents are dying from the coronavirus at a disproportionately higher rate, although the disparity is not as large as has been documented elsewhere in the country.

Nonetheless, the numbers gave Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo enough concern that on Wednesday, he announced plans to increase testing among minority residents and to investigate the reasons for the disparities. University at Albany president Havidan Rodriguez will head up the effort to collect more data and expand testing, Cuomo said.

“It always seems that the poorest people pay the highest price,” Cuomo said Wednesday. “Let’s learn from this moment.”

The state data show that black residents made up 18% of all coronavirus deaths outside of New York City, while they’re just 9% of the state’s non-NYC population. Hispanics, meanwhile, made up 14% of fatalities outside of New York City, while they’re just 11% of the state’s non-NYC population.

In New York City, Hispanic residents made up 34% of coronavirus fatalities, while they’re just 29% of the city’s population, while 28% of those who’ve died were black, even though black residents make up 22% of the city’s population. 

Such disparities don’t exist for white or Asian residents, according to the data.

The state didn’t provide a further breakdown to determine whether certain counties outside of New York City have further disparities than what the broader numbers show and, in particular, to show what the picture looks like on Long Island. But a Newsday report Wednesday showed that local communities that are predominately Hispanic have some of the highest rates of coronavirus cases. Brentwood, for instance, is 67 percent Hispanic or Latino, and has 1,118 coronavirus cases. 

County officials from both Nassau and Suffolk told The Point that a racial breakdown of fatalities for each county would have to come from the state. Nassau County Executive Laura Curran has specifically requested countywide racial breakdowns from the state, officials said.

—Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall

Talking Point

Music with meaning

In times of trouble, people turn to music. Which makes so cruel the loss of so many musicians during this coronavirus pandemic. Some of them fell to the virus itself, a grim irony in that the disease attacks the lungs essential to the art of so many. And the loss of all this talent is compounded because so many of them had so much to say that is relevant right now.

—Michael Dobie @mwdobie

Pencil Point

Essential worker

For more cartoons, visit www.newsday.com/cartoons

Final Point

Cold Comfort for coronavirus patients

The news that the USNS Comfort and medical facilities at the Jacob Javits Center would accept COVID-19 patients was hailed this week by the likes of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who called the federally staffed facilities a “relief valve” for New York. 

But New York hospitals are still supplying some of their own relief.

—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Bonus Point

Answering the call to action

Lei Alexander Qin, a fourth-year medical student from the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, is graduating early on April 10 so he can work in emergency departments or on internal medicine floors caring for COVID-19 patients. He is also a first-generation Chinese American whose family hails from Wuhan, China, a city now forever linked with the birth of the 2019 coronavirus pandemic.

For Qin and his partner, their effort is part of their commitment to the Hippocratic Oath and their duty to protect the public.

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