In one email conversation with representatives from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), employees at City Councilman Joe Borelli’s office said constituents on Staten Island’s South Shore were having trouble getting tested at city-run sites.
‘Our office has been receiving calls regarding the mobile NYC H+H testing sites such as Wolfes Pond Park,’ Borelli staffer Briana Nasti wrote in the December 22 email.
The agency responded the same day, the Post reports, and informed Nasti that they are prioritizing neighborhoods flagged by the city’s Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity – which has identified 31 underserved neighborhoods to receive preferential COVID treatment from the city.
The task force said names were picked based on a DOHMH analysis of ‘health status, living conditions, social inequities, occupation and COVID-19 Wave 1 impact,’ though it did not release the methodology the agency uses to weigh the different factors.
The latest revelation comes as reports surfaced that non-white people are receiving priority from the state Health Department to receive monoclonal antibody treatments and Pfizer’s new pills because of nationwide shortages.
MANHATTAN: People lined up at a COVID-19 testing hub in Penn Station on December 30
QUEENS: A woman and her daughter got a COVID-19 test near the Queens Hospital Center
MANHATTAN: People waited on long lines for their COVID tests in Times Square as the city prioritizes tests for minority communities
On Friday, the city saw 33,119 new cases, up more than 550 percent over two weeks as the highly-contagious Omicron variant continues to spread
According to city data, blacks and African Americans have had 12,808 residents per 100,000 people test positive for the virus since the pandemic began, Hispanic people have had 15,309 residents per 100,000 people test positive for the virus and white people have had 13,095 residents per 100,000 test positive
A representative from the Health Department defended the priority given to minority communities because they have ‘borne the brunt of this pandemic due to structural racism’ and that tests were being distributed through community-based organizations in the selected neighborhoods.
According to city data, blacks and African Americans have had 12,808 residents per 100,000 people test positive for the virus since the pandemic began, Hispanics have had 15,309 residents per 100,000 people test positive for the virus and white people have had 13,095 residents per 100,000 test positive.
The city is now operating over 160 coronavirus testing sites, with more than 100 mobile teams and more than 60 brick-and-mortar locations.
But all throughout the city, New Yorkers are continuing to spend hours waiting on line for COVID tests as the city’s case rate soars – with 33,119 new cases reported on Friday, up more than 550 percent over two weeks as the highly-contagious Omicron variant continues to spread.
As a result of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s decision to prioritize tests for minority communities, Queens Councilman Robert Holden, left, and Staten Island Councilman Joe Borelli, right, have said their districts do not have any city-run testing sites
QUEENS: An aerial view of a long line is seen at a COVID testing center as the highly-contagious Omicron variant spreads
QUEENS: All throughout the city, people are waiting on long lines to get tested
BROOKLYN: People stood in line for their free at-home testing kits in Bensonhurst
BROOKLYN: The surge in cases have left people scrambling for at-home tests
And as a result of the city’s prioritization of minority communities for COVID tests, the New York Post reports, Staten Island’s mostly white, middle-class South Shore did not receive many tests, despite having one of the highest COVID rates in the city during December.
The borough has 13 city-run testing sites, but all of them are on the more diverse North Shore, even as the South Shore region saw an average 2,932.67 cases over the past week.
‘I think we are clearly not on their racial and ethnic rubric priority list,’ Borelli told the Post, adding: ‘There was no problem pointing fingers at the South Shore of Staten Island when it came to sending enforcement goons.’
He was referring to small business owners in the area who said they were victimized by the city’s strict enforcement of mask mandates and vaccination rules.
Meanwhile, in central Queens, Councilman Robert Holden said his district still does not have a testing site, as the area sees an average 2013.35 cases over the past seven days.
‘COVID-19 does not discriminate by politics and neither should lame duck de Blasio,’ who formed the task force, Holden said. ‘We need testing sites and home test kits immediately.
‘Bill de Blasio sees districts of middle class taxpayers who didn’t vote for him as people who don’t deserve protection from COVID-19,’ he added. ‘His administration only enters districts like ours to fine small businesses and use them as cash machines.’
In a shocking memo sent out by the state’s Health Department and approved by Gov. Kathy Hochul on Monday, white residents were told not to bother trying to get Pfizer’s Paxlovid pill or monoclonal antibody treatments
The news comes just one day after it was revealed that the state Health Department also sent out a shocking memo that basically told white residents not to bother trying to get Pfizer’s Paxlovid pill or monoclonal antibody treatments.
The state’s missive, titled ‘COVID-19 Oral Antiviral Treatments Authorized and Severe Shortage of Oral Antiviral and Monoclonal Antibody Treatment Products,’ sets out a list of eligibility requirements for two oral antiviral treatments that had been touted as ‘available and lifesaving.’
In this week’s notice, however, department officials announced that the state was facing severe shortages in the availability of the two antiviral therapies, and subsequently listed a series of eligibility factors – such as age, weight, and mildness of symptoms – that practitioners are to take into account when administering the treatments.
The statement released by the state Health Department at the start of the week announced that the two COVID-19 antiviral therapies have received Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to combat the wave.
However, when determining eligibility for the potentially life-saving treatments, both thought to be more effective at quelling Omicron cases, the state made it explicitly clear that non-whites take precedent over others.
‘Non-white race or Hispanic/Latino ethnicity should be considered a risk factor as longstanding systemic health and social inequities have contributed to an increased risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19,’ the document reads.
Pfizer’s COVID-19 pill, pictured here being manufactured at a plant in Italy last month, is also in short supply. Per the department’s announcement this week, people of certain backgrounds have priority over others when it comes to getting the drug from their medical practitioner
The policy was first flagged by New York journalist Karol Markowicz, who attempted to encapsulate the department’s strange stance with the phrase ‘white people need not apply’ – lampooning the notorious discriminatory messages commonly seen in windows of various establishments in New York City in the first half of the 20th century.
While compelling, the comparison drawn by Markowicz, a columnist for The New York Post and Fox News, is not entirely accurate.
Caucasians in the Empire State that find themselves stricken with COVID can still be eligible for antibody treatment, including Pfizer’s new drug as well as monoclonal treatments, which are administered in outpatient clinics through an IV/needle, but only if they first demonstrate that they have ‘a medical condition that increase[s] their risk for severe illness,’ the document states.
However, other races will have the significant advantage over their white counterparts of being automatically eligible without having to provide such a demonstration, due to the increased risk of severe illness or death for people of non-white denominations, as perceived by the state-run agency.
The reasoning behind the department’s policy, meanwhile, is mired in controversy, as both Pfizer’s pill, meant to be taken within the first few days of having COVID-19 and said to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death by up to 88 percent, and drugs using monoclonal antibody therapy have been thought to be more effective against the now-dominant Omicron variant.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Daily Mail