New York: the drama of coronavirus
More than one in five Corona deaths in the United States comes from New York City. In the global metropolis, statistics reveal the brutal reality: A wealthy section of the population enjoys vital benefits in the pandemic.
First, the world looked worriedly at Wuhan, then with horror at Lombardy and then at New York City: In the by far most populous city in the USA, the first person tested positive for Sars-CoV-2 on March 1st. Almost twelve weeks later, there were already more than 200,000 infected. What exactly went wrong in New York?
A full tenth of the infected city population has now died. That’s more than 20,000 New Yorkers who died as a result of coronavirus infection. If New York City were a separate state, the city would be in seventh place in the global ranking by the number of cases, and even sixth after deaths. Nowhere else in the world has the virus spread so far.
Clear patterns can be seen in the case data. Roughly speaking: Those who are not considered white and only have a lower income are at higher risk of death. The virus thus reveals the consequences of unequal social relationships. Contagion with the pathogen, as the figures from official statistics show, leads in certain parts of the city and certain population groups to a fatal outcome much more often than elsewhere.
Focal points in the Bronx
The pandemic is far from over for New York City. Every lost life among the approximately 8.5 million inhabitants of the city stands for its own destiny, for human suffering and the grief of relatives, as everywhere in the world. But as the daily growth in New York infections slowly flattens out, more and more probing questions come to the fore: Was the death of so many people really inevitable there?
In which of the five boroughs of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and Staten Island, for example, did most of the residents die – and why? The search for answers to this question reveals controversial social and political conditions. Across all district boundaries, the risk of a corona infection in New York City does not only increase with age. Here, too, people over the age of 65 are among the fatalities more often than average.