Coronavirus News: 7 On Your Side Investigates NYC neighborhoods hardest hit by COVID-19

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Friday, June 5, 2020
7 On Your Side: NYC neighborhoods hardest hit by COVID-19
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Communities in Queens have found themselves in the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, and residents say more needs to be done to prevent it from spreading.

CORONA, Queens (WABC) -- Communities in Queens have found themselves in the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, and residents say more needs to be done to prevent it from spreading.

Haydee Zambrana has been running a non-profit to help the Latin community in Corona, Queens, for the past three decades.

The gates to her office may be temporarily locked like most storefronts, but she hasn't stopped working.

Zambrana, who runs Latin Women in Action, says it's very scary.

"The numbers of infections are still pretty high, so we have to prepare for what's coming," Zambrana said. "If there's going to be a new wave, what priorities are there to make sure we save lives."

Seven On Your Side Investigates crunched infection data for every zip code across the New York City area.

Corona has been one of the hardest hit areas when it comes to COVID-19. The neighborhood has had more than 4,200 positive cases.

It's an immigrant community filled with essential workers. Due to high poverty rates and a lack of affordable housing, many families can't afford to self-isolate.

"The overcrowding in Corona is horrendous," Zambrana said. "There's very little social distancing because if you're in a room, where are you going to go? Something should have been done in the beginning from the authorities."

Zambrana feels like she's been working alone to fight the outbreak, despite working in the hardest hit area. In case of a second outbreak, she's calling on local elected leaders to do more.

Hundreds of empty hotel rooms have been used to house the homeless. She believes they should also be used to house poor families who can't afford to isolate.

"So that those that are infected can get the help hat they need and then the ones that are okay, they can be protected," Zambrana said.

Corona is a neighborhood where Francisco Moya grew up and an area he now represents on city council.

"This community was ravished by the virus," Moya said. "This is an epidemic I think that really shows the stark contrast between the ultra-wealthy in New York and the very poor."

There is no public housing in the area. Many homes are filled with multiple generations.

Seven On Your Side Investigates spoke with a woman from Corona who works as a cashier and lived with her daughter and both of her parents, until both her parents passed away from the virus.

"We don't have family in this country, so it's very difficult," she said.

Zambrana believes even more families will be in the same situation if more isn't done for the immigrant community.

"If we are the largest community being affected then where are the resources, those resources should be there," Zambrana said.

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