On Long Island, Covid-19 numbers have fallen since their peak, but they remain surprisingly and stubbornly high. Deaths from the virus have also declined, but even so lives are lost that should not have been. The 3,300th person in Suffolk County died from the disease between Monday and Tuesday this week. More than 41,000 New Yorkers across the state have died from Covid-19, which is still taking the lives of more people of color and Spanish speakers, by population, than whites. There is considerable danger that, as cases fall generally, the toll in certain groups will increase, creating an even greater imbalance.
There is good news in that more than half a million Suffolk residents have received at least one vaccine dose and almost 8 million have statewide. More than a quarter of all New Yorkers had completed their courses of shots as of Tuesday. But again, Black and Latino people are not getting vaccinated at the same rates as the population as a whole and lag well behind the rate of white people. Sadly, this follows the larger state of disparity among Americans. This persistent crisis is the result of deep inequality in economic opportunities, housing, and, most significantly, access to health care. Money may not buy you love but it certainly can buy you a better chance at not getting Covid-19, and, if you do have money, it can buy you a greater chance of survival.
One positive that could come out of the pandemic is that the chronically unfair health care system in the United States might finally be addressed. The fact that some Americans are getting sick and dying more than others is something that a proud society like ours should no longer accept as a fact of life.