New data released Monday sheds light on one of the biggest questions about the toll the coronavirus has taken on New York: Where are people dying?
Neighborhoods with high concentrations of black and Latino people, as well as low-income residents, suffered the highest death rates, while some wealthier areas — primarily in Manhattan — saw almost no deaths, according to the new data, which was published by the New York City Health Department.
“We may all be in the same storm, but we’re not all in the same boat,” said Inez Barron, a city councilwoman whose Brooklyn district includes the ZIP code with the highest death rate in the city.
The data, which was current as of Monday, includes only deaths of people who had tested positive for Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Probable cases of the virus among those who had not been tested account for 1 in 4 deaths.
The death rate in the 11239 ZIP code — a community of about 13,000 people — is the city’s highest, and almost 40 percent higher than in the area with the next highest rate. It is home to many older and African-American residents and includes Starrett City, a sprawling low- and middle-income housing complex on a peninsula jutting into Jamaica Bay.
Although the area has the city’s highest concentration of people over age 65, it was unclear why its death rate is so high. The total number of confirmed deaths there was 76.
Ms. Barron, the city councilwoman, said the people she represents have long been underserved by the city and live in conditions that make it difficult to control the spread of the disease.
“We might have instances of multigenerational families in Starrett City, and one person who is sick doesn’t have the luxury of going out to Long Island or going to their vacation home,” she said.
While the vast majority of the city’s deaths have been people 65 and older, the overwhelming difference between the neighborhoods that suffered most and least has been race and income, not age.
Of the 10 ZIP codes with the highest death rates, eight have populations that are predominantly black or Hispanic and include every borough except for Manhattan.
Most of the neighborhoods with the lowest death rates are in Manhattan, and each has a six-figure median household income. The group also includes some of the richest ZIP codes in the city, the same areas that emptied out when the virus hit New York. All but one is majority white.
The neighborhoods in the bottom quarter for death rates have double the income of the group in the top quarter. On average, the most affected areas are also more populous.
The Bronx has the highest rate for coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths. And in each measure, Manhattan has been the least affected.
The three whitest ZIP codes in the Bronx — around Pelham-Throgs Neck and the Northeast Bronx — show among the lowest death rates in the borough.
The same trends with race and income can be seen in Manhattan. A ZIP code stretching over Central Harlem and Morningside Heights had the borough’s highest death rate; the neighborhoods are 90 percent black and Hispanic and one of the poorest areas in Manhattan.
Across the city, a median of 6 percent of residents have been tested for the virus.
In the ZIP codes with the highest rates of death, a median of 38 percent of the tests came back positive; in the areas with the lowest rates, about 25 percent came back positive — suggesting that if more tests were done, the death rates in the hardest-hit areas could be even higher.
The rate of deaths at public housing projects mirrors that of the city overall, suggesting that fears the pandemic might disproportionately affect residents in buildings operated by the New York City Housing Authority have not borne out, according to a Health Department analysis.
As of last week, 943 residents of city housing projects who had tested positive for Covid-19 had died. In its analysis of death rates in NYCHA buildings, which house about 400,000 New Yorkers, the Health Department also included deaths of people presumed to have had the virus, which added another 298 cases.
In all, 7,818 public housing residents have tested positive for the disease.