NEW YORK - Mayor Bill de Blasio wants the number of deaths at home from coronavirus, which could be anywhere between 100-200 per day, be added to the total daily tally in New York City.
"This used to be a very rare thing," said de Blasio during a news conference Wednesday. "It's suddenly jumped up. The vast majority are related to COVID-19 directly or indirectly. The health department can figure out how to do that most accurately."
The FDNY recorded as many as 200 deaths at home daily in recent weeks, far more than the average 25 deaths at home before the pandemic.
"We should not underestimate for a second the horror of people dying at home," said de Blasio during FOX 5 NY morning program, 'Good Day New York. "That needs to be in the statistics. We do have the numbers. We have told health care workers... that we should count them as part of the overall painful count."
City health officials reported 3,544 deaths from COVID-19 as of late Tuesday, a number that includes only people who were tested and found to have been infected with the coronavirus and not those who died at home without a test.
De Blasio also acknowledged that people of color have been disproportionately hit by the virus. The hardest-hit community based on preliminary figures are to Hispanic residents.
"The 34 percent of deaths have been in the Hispanic community which is 29 percent of all New Yorkers in terms of population. The black community is 28 percent compared to 22 percent of overall population."
"What we are seeing across the country is the additional burden poor people have dealing with underlying health issues," NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. "That cycle, those underlying drivers to poor health outcomes, (is) essentially on steroids because of the acuity of this virus. Immigration status, mixed immigration households, there are many potential contributors."
De Blasio outlined a three-step plan to address the disparity. It includes ensuring public hospitals are fully equipped with personnel and personal protective equipment, a public information campaign, and a grassroots effort bringing healthcare workers into the hardest-hit communities.
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With the Associated Press