Study: Pandemic worsening other health problems in lower-income communities of NYC

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- A newly released survey shows that economic and racial disparities have only been made worse by the pandemic, especially ahead of what’s being described as a harsher second wave for lower-income neighborhoods.

Nonprofit organization Public Health Solutions (PHS) released its study in late October after conducting a survey in September. Read the study here.

PHS President and CEO Lisa David called the effects of the pandemic a perfect storm, where those who have the least hurt the most. She said the biggest impacts are in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens, as well as Staten Island more recently.

“They’re not getting tested. They’re not getting contact-traced across those boroughs,” she said. “There are differences across the boroughs, but the biggest difference had to do with lower income, people of color communities.”

She said residents struggling to make ends meet are less likely to access preventive care, which will “have a significant impact on health outcomes and increase the kind of disparities that we see for years to come.”

David said what also increases the number COVID cases in the areas is the fact more residents commute to in-person jobs and have children who have no choice but to go to school in-person.

She said that earlier in the pandemic, there was more federal funding for helping lower-income neighborhoods, but that funding has dissolved.

“That kind of mitigated some of the biggest damage in the early parts of COVID, but that's gone, and we've seen no movement to try and replace any of that,” David said.

She said it’s important to advocate for another stimulus bill to help the communities.