900,000 New Yorkers Lost at Least 3 Loved Ones to Covid


Josefa Santana, 96, didn’t depart her Washington Heights residence when New York City shut down to gradual the unfold of the coronavirus in March 2020. But her son, a butcher, had to work. He was the one one to depart the residence in these weeks, so he in all probability was the one who introduced the virus in.

Despite her household’s efforts to shield her, Ms. Santana acquired sick, after which died. She was certainly one of three family members whom her granddaughter, Lymarie Francisco, misplaced to Covid-19 within the first 12 months of the pandemic, Ms. Francisco mentioned final week.

The toll was devastating for her. It was additionally emblematic of the dimensions of loss and trauma in New York within the early levels of the pandemic, which new metropolis information, launched to The New York Times, reveals in stark element.

An estimated two million New Yorkers — practically one in 4 — misplaced at least one individual shut to them to Covid throughout the first 16 months of the virus’s arrival, in accordance to the information, which was collected in mid-2021 by federal census employees on behalf of the town. Nearly 900,000 New Yorkers misplaced at least three individuals they mentioned they had been shut to, an open-ended class that included family members and mates, the survey discovered.


Ms. Francisco, 36, misplaced an uncle about two months after her grandmother, and later, she additionally misplaced an aunt. But it was the lack of her grandmother, who raised her, that the majority impacts her to at the present time.

“I’m always enthusiastic about my grandmother,” she mentioned. “I am going each different Sunday to the cemetery and simply sit there. And I simply spoke to her.”

The discovering in regards to the scale of loss was amongst a number of from the survey, generally known as the New York City Housing and Vacancy Survey, that shed new gentle on the affect of the pandemic within the metropolis. The survey consisted of in-person interviews with a statistically consultant pattern of greater than 7,000 New York City households. While the first function of the survey, performed each three years, is to assess New Yorkers’ housing circumstances, questions on Covid had been added to the 2021 model.

Its findings echoed earlier research that documented how Black and Hispanic New Yorkers died from Covid at increased charges than white New Yorkers in 2020. In half, this was due to increased poverty ranges and fewer entry to high-quality medical care. But one other probably motive was that individuals of shade made up the majority of the important employees who reported to work throughout the metropolis’s preliminary 11-week shutdown, when all colleges and nonessential companies had been ordered to shut and folks urged to keep dwelling, the survey discovered. .


About 1.1 million of the town’s 8.4 million residents saved going to work between March and June 2020, the survey reported. Of these, about 800,000, or 72 %, had been individuals of shade, a broad class that included all New Yorkers who didn’t establish as non-Hispanic and white.


The areas that had been hit hardest by Covid, together with southeast Brooklyn, the Bronx, Upper Manhattan and the southeast nook of Queens, had excessive numbers of important employees. The individuals who went to work delivered meals, staffed eating places, supplied baby care and cleansing, or labored in well being care and transit.

Losing family members to the virus was extra frequent amongst these employees, particularly those that had been low-income and folks of shade, the survey discovered. While a few quarter of all New Yorkers misplaced at least one individual they had been shut to, a few third of low-income important employees who had been individuals of shade did. Eleven % of all New Yorkers misplaced at least three individuals to Covid, in contrast with 16 % of low-income important employees, the survey discovered.

Janeth Solis, 52, of the Bronx, misplaced 4 family members throughout the first 12 months and a half of the pandemic. Her mom, step-grandmother and grandmother, who lived collectively in a home in Ridgewood, Queens, died one after the other within the first weeks of the pandemic. Her mother-in-law died in April 2021.

It wasn’t till this 12 months that Ms. Solis was ready to go to her grandmother’s ashes, which had been shipped to her native Colombia in June 2020. The go to and remedy helped her heal.


“We did not actually have closure,” she mentioned.

Rates of melancholy and anxiousness in New York rose throughout the pandemic, significantly amongst those that had misplaced family members and people underneath monetary pressure. Based on analysis from previous disasters, these results are probably to proceed for months or years to come, researchers at the Department of Health have mentioned.

“Mental well being wants are on the rise all over the place,” mentioned Dr. Ashwin Vasan, the town’s well being commissioner. “And it’s extremely tough to separate that from the affect of trauma and grief.”

By May 2021, about 33,000 New Yorkers had died from Covid-19, in accordance to a New York Times tracker. At least 6,000 New Yorkers have died since then.

Many New Yorkers are additionally linked to individuals who died elsewhere.

“So many people are shut to individuals outdoors of the 5 boroughs, and outdoors of the nation,” mentioned Elyzabeth Gaumer, the chief analysis officer at the Department of Housing and Development.

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