Coronavirus News: AARP initiative aims to tackle racial inequality during COVID-19 pandemic

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Tuesday, May 12, 2020
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Sandra Bookman reports on how racial inequalities among older New Yorkers have now intensified during the coronavirus pandemic.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- AARP NY has teamed up with the American Asian Federation, Hispanic Federation, NY NAACP and the NY Urban League to address racial inequalities among older New Yorkers that have now intensified during the coronavirus pandemic.

Officials say people of color account for 62% of New York City residents who are 50 or older, and half of residents 65 and older were born in a foreign country. Moreover, during the past decade, the number of New Yorkers age 65 and over has increased by 26%.

Communities of color are being disproportionately impacted by the pandemic in terms of health, finances and resources, and preliminary data from the New York City Department of Health show that as of this month, Hispanics and blacks died from COVID-19 at rates above their share of the city's population.

African-Americans accounted for 18% of COVID-19 deaths statewide, twice their 9% share of the population, according to nearly complete data from the state health department.

They say inequalities driven by disparities in income, health care access, housing quality, transit options, neighborhood safety and other factors are more acute among our older residents, the same population at higher risk of serious complications and death from the virus.

The initiative is aimed at addressing the needs of older New Yorkers of color, which they say must be a priority now as well as in the recovery phase and beyond.

"It is critically important to ensure that the needs of 50-plus, including the communities of color, are front in center and that we as a collective serve to amplify their voices through advocacy, the creation of policy, and enactment of legislation to curtail the imbalances in health, economic security and livability," AARP NY said in a press release.

AARP NEW YORK COVID-19 DISRUPT DISPARITIES TELE-TOWN HALL MEETING THIS FRIDAY AT 1PM

-Guests: Congressman Hakeem Jeffries of Brooklyn, Congresswoman Grace Meng of Queens, Congressman Adriano Espaillat of Upper Manhattan

-Dial-in info: 1-877-229-8493, Access code: 18948

SOCIAL ISOLATION

-AARP has launched the following website for people to sign up if they want to get phone calls and hear a friendly voice from an AARP Volunteer or a licensed counselor:

aarpcommunityconnections.org

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