NYCHA housing deadly places to be during COVID: city data

Public housing residents died from the coronavirus at a rate nearly twice their share of the city’s population, according to new data released by public health officials.

“NYCHA deaths represented 7 percent of all deaths recorded in NYC, though this population only represents 4 percent of the total NYC population,” a spokesman for the city’s Health Department said in an email.

As of June 2,249 public housing residents died from the virus out of 33,347 deaths across the five boroughs.

And while NYCHA tenants accounted for a disproportionate share of total COVID-19 fatalities, they comprised 5 percent of the city’s coronavirus cases.

About 13 percent of 360,000 authorized public housing tenants had COVID-19, compared to 12 percent of residents citywide.

NYCHA tenants accounted for a disproportionate share of total COVID-19 fatalities.
Advertisement
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

“Transparency is a cornerstone of the response. Helping all of us understand the scope of loss is a critical component of our recovery,” Health Department spokesman Patrick Gallahue said in a statement.

Rep. Ritchie Torres, a Bronx Democrat who grew up in public housing, said the public data is long overdue.

“The findings are alarming but far from shocking,” Torres told The Post.

NYC Councilman Mark Levine
NYC Councilman Mark Levine called the new data “the latest painful indication of the unequal impact of this pandemic.”
Arturo Holmes/Getty Images for Riverside Park Conservancy

“Overcrowded, poorly ventilated housing units are natural Petri dishes for the spread of the coronavirus,” the former city councilman said.

“In December 2020 during the final public housing hearing in which I participated I raised concerns about the connection between ventilation and the coronavirus outbreak in public housing,” Torres said.

“And NYCHA at the time was dismissive of those concerns,” he said.

Advertisement
The Alfred E. Smith Houses, a public housing development built and maintained by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA),
NYCHA tenants comprised 5 percent of the city’s coronavirus cases.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Councilman Mark Levine, who chairs the body’s health committee, called the new data “the latest painful indication of the unequal impact of this pandemic, reflective of decades of lack fo access to health care and racism in the medical system.”

“This should motivate the City to redouble its efforts to surge vaccines, testing, and broader health support to NYCHA residents,” Levine said.

Reps for NYCHA did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

The housing complexes are home to many of the city’s poorer and more elderly residents — two groups considered especially vulnerable to the deadly disease.

Advertisement