The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Zip-Code Health

Jul 13, 2020

Reporters for the New York Times sought out coronavirus records for all the hospitals in New York City and the surrounding boroughs, comparing them with records of death through the end of June.

They found that where you lived helped determine whether you lived or died when suffering from COVID-19. People in wealthier private hospitals, with good health coverage, often got Remdesivir, which shortened the time of the disease and overall resulted in fewer deaths. People in these hospitals had fewer deaths per number of hospitalized cases, a total of about 6,000 deaths over three months.

In the outer boroughs over 11,500 people died, almost twice as many. These areas with more deaths had an average income of $38,000 a year, compared to an average income in Manhattan of $82,000 a year. So people in areas with lower income were more likely to die from the disease than those with higher income.

Manhattan had twice as many hospital beds for patients, compared to Brooklyn and Bronx hospitals and three times as many beds as in Queens. Emergency room nurses and doctors in those boroughs were sometimes looking after 20 or more coronavirus patients, where in better-off hospitals the case load was 2 to 4 patients.

But this news is not surprising. The statistics in other areas showed that more deaths tended to be in areas where income was lower, where more people had to go out to work, not stay at home, and where it was long known that health care was worse than in wealthier areas.

The pandemic has not changed “health care by zip code” in the U.S.—it has just made it even more deadly than it already was.