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Cuomo says majority of coronavirus spread is in low-income communities

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that the majority of new coronavirus cases are coming from low-income communities and communities of color. "That's where the cases are still coming from, that's where the virus is still spreading," he said.

"You look all across the country, it's lower-income communities, predominantly minority, where we're still seeing an increase in the numbers. We looked at that in New York City, we did a very extensive research project, and it is true," he said. "You can look at where the cases are coming, look at the testing data by geographic area, by ZIP code and find out where the cases are coming from."

Cuomo said testing has shown that about 27% of New York City's lower-income communities tested positive for the coronavirus, while the general population is about 19%. The Bronx had the highest percentage of positive tests at 34%. 

"Data shows not just a high positive — not just that a high number of people had a positive — but the spread is continuing in those communities, and that's where the new cases are coming from," Cuomo said.

One neighborhood that continues to have high community spread is Brownsville in Brooklyn. Brownsville, which is predominantly African American, has double the spread compared to the city average, according to the governor.

He noted the difficulty of implementing social distancing and PPE in communities where many residents live in public housing. "How do you social distance in an elevator in a public housing complex? How do you socially distance in the hallways in a public housing complex?" he said. 

"We understand the challenge."

Cuomo said the state will open more testing sites in high-impact ZIP codes, including testing sites in 40 public housing developments in New York City. He said it will also create outreach programs and ask all local governments to focus on low-income communities.

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