Starrett City. Photo: Google Maps.
Starrett City. Photo: Google Maps.

Brooklyn ZIP code 11239 in East New York has faced the highest number of COVID-19 deaths per capita in the city, new Department of Health data shows.

The ZIP code, which includes the low and medium income housing complex Spring Creek (formerly Starrett City), is experiencing a death rate of 612 per 100,000 deaths, around 40 percent higher than the next highest ZIP code.

A total of 76 people have died from COVID-19 in the community of around 13,000 people, which is home to many older Black residents, and has the citys highest concentration of residents over 65.

NYC Department of Health map showing ZIP codes with rates of COVID-19 deaths. Photo: NYC DOH website.
NYC Department of Health map showing ZIP codes with rates of COVID-19 deaths. Photo: NYC DOH website.

The neighborhood reflects the tale of many others; how the novel coronavirus is hitting low-income communities of color in a way it is not hitting white neighborhoods, and race and income are determining factors in who suffers the most.

The data reinforces earlier findings that Black and Hispanic New Yorkers are dying at twice the rate of white residents, with eight of the 10 ZIP codes with the highest death rates being predominantly Black or Hispanic. The Bronx has the highest rate of COVID-19 cases, hospitalization and deaths.

Following the area around Starrett City, the neighborhoods with the highest death rates were Far Rockaway in Queens, Flushing in Queens, Pelham Gardens in the Bronx and Coney Island in Brooklyn.

Every borough was represented in the 10 ZIP codes except for Manhattan, whose wealthier, and predominantly whiter, neighborhoods have seen almost no deaths.

As the citys data only represents cases where a person tested positive for COVID-19, poorer neighborhoods where testing has been sparse could have had even more unreported virus deaths than the data suggests. So far COVID-19 has killed more than 15,233 in New York City, and there are more than 5,000 unconfirmed but probable deaths from the fatal virus.

Mayor de Blasio told NY1 what was happening was a result of an unfair and painful history of race and class in the city and country, and many people who have died from the virus never had the basic essential of high quality healthcare.

It tracks with everything we’ve ever known about economic and health disparity, he said.

Anna Bradley-Smith

Anna Bradley-Smith is Brooklyn-based reporter with bylines in NBC, VICE, Slate and others. Follow her on Twitter @annabradsmith.

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  1. This is disgraceful for the following reasons
    – official did not do due diligence in researching the lethality of Covid-19 when it razed through Italy & Spain-thus failing to warn, educate and prepare their constituents.
    -when Westchester County became a hotspot/vector the Governor failed to quarantine the area to prevent its residents from traveling to NYC via Metro North with 8mil residents.
    -elected officials failed to provide PPEs to essential workers who many live in these vulnerable communities putting themselves, family members and neighbors at serious risk.
    – elected officials and public advocate failed to ensure that disinfectants were delivered to these vulnerable communities as opposed to going to more wealthier, whiter stores and supermarkets leaving vulnerable literally unarmed to protect their homes.
    – elected officials failed to provide info re: spread of virus on surfaces, and giving out face masks to highly dense communities.
    – elected officials from these communities failed to advocate effectively for these communities- missing in action in terms of visiting the communities, demanding the type of community cleansing that took place in Westchester County, Testing sites, and contact tracing. These elected officials, the Mayor and Governor failed these communities miserably.

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