NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The coronavirus is hitting some communities much harder than others, and local leaders are calling on the city to do more to reach those living in the hot spots.

While the coronavirus has spread to every neighborhood in New York City, its impact is far from equitable. Councilman Ritchie Torres represents some of the hardest hit areas of the Bronx and is himself recovering from COVID-19.

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“It is frustrating when I hear anyone say this does not discriminate because it erases the racially disparate impact of the coronavirus outbreak. It erases that fact that Queens and the Bronx are taking far more casualties than the rest of the city,” Torres told CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas.


On a map released by the city Department of Health, zip codes in dark purple represent the most coronavirus cases, and the harsh reality of this virus becomes even more glaring.

Councilman Mark Levine is the chair of the health committee.

“These are low-income areas. They’re immigrant areas. They are getting hit extremely hard in this crisis. It’s clear that this pandemic is both reflecting and exacerbating inequality in this city,” he said.

Inequalities in neighborhoods where residents often have a higher rate of pre-existing conditions, a lack of access to health care and don’t have the privilege of working from home.

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Another issue is overcoming the language barrier.

*We penalize people in parks for not social distancing but in reality, did we ever effectively talk to them through the methods that they’re used to being communicated with?” Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ Health Dept. | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211

This weekend, Adams is mobilizing immigrant advocates to help spread the word about the necessary precautions in different languages to better target the most vulnerable communities.

“You’re not going to be able to telecommunicate this away. You have to get in these neighborhoods and give the people the information that they need in the language they understand,” Adams said.

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In this fight, information saves lives, as the virus is expected to worsen in the coming days and weeks.