NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio are on the hot seat facing calls to do more to protect minority communities and share a racial breakdown of those sickened by COVID-19 as evidence mounts that the economically-disadvantaged are the hardest hit.
It may be because 75% of all frontline workers are people of color: Bus drivers, health care workers, and delivery and grocery workers, reports CBS2’s political reporter Marcia Kramer.
It may be poor communication of warnings about coronavirus, but as evidence mounts that the city’s hot spots are frequently minority communities, officials are calling Cuomo and de Blasio to task.
Public advocate Jumaane Williams is calling for an even stricter lockdown with fewer people working.
“We need to get a week or two where we restrict movement and lessen construction so people are not sardines on trains,” he said.
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Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams is slamming officials for not making a greater effort to reach people who don’t speak English.
He says you have to tell people to social distance, wash their hands and wear masks in ways they understand.
“What languages did we put that in? What ethnic newspapers and communications and radio stations did we say that to?” said Adams. “We can’t think we’re talking to people when in fact we’re talking to ourselves.”
Lisa George of the Rockaways Civic Association lives in southeast Queens, one of the hot zones where there are no testing sites and one hospital.
“I’m find myself not sleeping well at night, I’m getting up all hours of the night worried that I might catch the coronavirus,” she said.
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De Blasio admits there is a racial disparity.
“I do think there are strategies we might be able to innovate, particularly more education efforts, and more multilingual efforts to the communities that need them,” the mayor said.
Both de Blasio and Cuomo say they’re trying to get more information on the ethnic breakdown of those affected by the pandemic.