NYC map shows total cases testing positive for coronavirus by ZIP code

A new city map showing confirmed coronavirus cases based on patient address by ZIP code suggests the poorest New Yorkers are being hardest hit by the pandemic.

Wealthier parts of the city, including much of Manhattan, waterfront sections of Queens and brownstone Brooklyn, have the fewest number of coronavirus cases, according to the map released by the city Department of Health.

A stark example of the wealth gap is the Rockaway section of Queens. The richest part of the peninsula that incorporates Belle Harbor where homes sell for over $1 million has at least 112 cases while Far Rockaway with its public housing complexes has up to 947 cases.

Data scientist Michael Donnelly, who’s been crunching the city’s coronavirus numbers since the start of the outbreak, noted the new map tracks with earlier MTA turnstile data.

Those maps showed ridership plummeting in Manhattan stations in mid-March, while New Yorkers from the outer reaches of the outer boroughs continued commuting.

“Over time we start to see the effect of the fact that Manhattan and the inner zip codes of Queens and Brooklyn have a lower positive rate because they were able to bend the curve before the outer boroughs,” Donnelly said.

Neighborhoods with fewer than 200 cases — like Park Slope, Brooklyn and Greenwich Village in Manhattan — count many white-collar professionals who can telecommute as residents.

“I think the clear next step there, is if that’s true, then there’s a real socio-economic inequality, inequity in the fact that these ZIP codes, which also tend to skew lower socio-economic, are also going to be the ones who are harder hit by this pandemic,” Donnelly said.

“Broad strokes, those tend to be the wage workers, emergency service workers that are exposing themselves more and more over time,” Donnelly said.

Many front-line workers, from grocery store clerks to EMTs, live in the outer boroughs. Their jobs require them to use the subways while the majority of New Yorkers stay home.

Neighborhoods with high poverty like Mott Haven in The Bronx and East New York in Brooklyn have as many as 947 cases compared to Park Slope and Greenwich Village’s 200 cases.

The map doesn’t always track to income. More exclusive enclaves like Williamsburg, Brooklyn also have up to 947 cases, likely because of a cluster among the area’s Orthodox Jewish population.

On Staten Island, solidly middle class sections like Heartland Village and Annadale are the hardest hit — potentially due to the concentration of first responders who live there.

Another version of the map showing percent of patients testing positive for COVID-19 by zip code was flawed because it was a depiction of which neighborhoods had the most access to testing, not the prevalence of the disease.

The overall impact of COVID-19 on the city remains unknown. Only 96,528 New Yorkers out of a population of 8.6 million have been tested. Of those 44,915 have tested positive.

The maps use slightly outdated data based on 38,936 positive cases.

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Filed under 4/1/20