Data from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) and U.S. Census Bureau, analyzed by Philadelphia Neighborhoods, shows Philadelphia’s poorest and most densely populated zip codes have been the hardest hit by the virus.
The findings are consistent with city data showing higher infection rates among African-Americans and Hispanics.
This analysis of Philadelphia Neighborhoods, in which statistically speaking, Old City residents are less likely to catch COVID-19 was published by Patch.
In zip code 19106, Old City, where median household income is $109,393 and 77% of the population is non-Hispanic white, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, a little more than 100 residents tested positive for the virus since the start of the pandemic, according to city data. Thirteen residents were hospitalized and none have died, according to the data.
Further northwest, in the West and East Oak Lane neighborhoods that comprise the 19126 zip code, median household income is $41,266 and 95% of the population is nonwhite or Hispanic. Here, infection rates are significantly higher. In Oak Lane, nearly 600 residents have tested positive for COVID-19, approximately 374 cases per 10,000 residents, compared to Old City’s rate of about 87 cases per 10,000 residents. In Oak Lane, 26% of those infected were hospitalized, and 93 have died.
The stark contrast between Old City and Oak Lane shows how disparities between neighborhoods amplify the coronavirus’ uneven toll.
Residents in Philadelphia’s poorer zip codes are more likely to test positive for COVID-19 and be hospitalized as a result than those in wealthier neighborhoods. Those residents also mostly lived in larger households. Epidemiologists generally agree infectious diseases like COVID-19 spread most rapidly between members of the same household. This may be the reason why the virus has moved so rapidly in poorer neighborhoods.
Experts knew before COVID-19 racial and ethnic minorities have less capacity to withstand pandemics due to structural inequality and health disparities. COVID-19 has infected and hospitalized African Americans more than twice as often as whites in Philadelphia, according to data from the PDPH. The data also show Hispanics are more likely to be infected and hospitalized from COVD-19 than whites.
Residents in zip codes with higher percentages of African American residents also experienced higher infection rates and were hospitalized more often from COVID-19. In a city with 16 majority-African American zip codes, nearly every one of them had a higher rate of cases per 10,000 residents than the citywide average of 200.
Major chronic diseases
Tracking rates of infection among the Hispanic community, by zip code, is less clear. The community is dispersed across the city, and there is only one majority-Hispanic zip code, 19133, which includes parts of Fairhill, Glenwood and West Kensington.
Separated by age, case data from the PDPH show Hispanics 75 or older experience the highest rate of infections of any group in the city, followed by African Americans 75 or older and Asians 75 or older ranking third.
Hispanic and Black communities are more likely than white communities to have higher rates of major chronic diseases, which explains why minority communities also have more COVID-19 hospitalizations.