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This Brooklyn neighborhood with the lowest vaccination rates had the highest infection rates last week

Though unvaccinated individuals continue to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates in New York City, the city's Health Department data shows that the virus is raging on predominantly in areas where the fewest residents have received the COVID-19 shots.
REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

More than 90,000 people live in Borough Park, but only 43 percent of them are vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the latest city Health Department figures. 

Having the dubious distinction of being the neighborhood with the lowest fully vaccinated rate in New York City is now taking a toll on Borough Park in a different, yet predictable way — as the community saw the most COVID-19 infections in the Five Boroughs this past week.

Between Sept. 29 and Oct. 5, according to the Health Department, Borough Park (11219) had both the highest 7-day positivity rate (6.62 percent) and most new infections (187) in the entire city. The community was a full two percentage points ahead of the community with the second-highest 7-day positivity rate, Crown Heights (11213), also in Brooklyn. Crown Heights saw a 4.54 percent 7-day positivity rate and 177 new cases in the period.

The two communities continue to buck the overall downward trend of COVID-19 across the city. The citywide 7-day positivity rate on Oct. 5 was 1.92 percent, which was less than half of Crown Heights’ positivity rate and nearly two-thirds lower than the Borough Park rate. 

The top 7-day positivity rates in the city between Sept. 29 and Oct. 5, 2021.New York City Health Department

Both Borough Park and Crown Heights also saw an increase in the 7-day positivity rates week over week. While Borough Park’s rate only grew by 0.05 percent from the number registered between Sept. 22-28 (6.57 percent), Crown Heights’ 7-day positivity leaped by 1.5 percent from the previous week (3.04 percent). 

The 15 areas of New York City with the most new COVID-19 cases detected between Sept. 29-Oct. 5, 2021.New York City Health Department

Two additional Brooklyn neighborhoods — East Williamsburg/Williamsburg (11211, 11249) and Midwood (11230) — also saw increased spread of COVID-19 over the past week, with hundreds of new cases detected in the communities.

All five neighborhoods with 100 or more new COVID-19 cases diagnosed between Sept. 29-Oct. 5 were in Brooklyn. A portion of Cypress Hills/East New York (11207, 2.56 percent 7-day positivity rate, 103 new cases) joined Borough Park, East Williamsburg/Williamsburg, Crown Heights and Midwood at the top of the list.

Each of the 15 communities with the most new COVID-19 infections over the past week have subpar fully vaccinated rates of 60 percent or less. In Borough Park, just 43 percent of residents (38,608 of 90,083) are fully vaccinated, and 47 percent of the area’s population (42,495) had at least one dose of the vaccine.

Midwood follows with a 47 percent fully vaccinated rate, with 53 percent of its 88,889 residents having received at least the first dose. Crown Heights, home to 64,601 residents, follows suit with a 47 percent fully vaccinated rate and 54 percent of all residents getting at least the first shot.

The rates are far below the citywide totals of 65 percent of all residents fully vaccinated, and 72 percent of the entire population having received at least the first dose. Brooklyn has the lowest rates in the entire city, with 58 percent of all residents fully vaccinated and just 64 percent of the population with a minimum first dose.

Despite the upward trend in low-vaxxed areas of Brooklyn, the city’s Health Department reports that the virus’ spread continues to decrease citywide. Even with the highly-contagious Delta variant making up 98 percent of all new COVID-19 cases in the Five Boroughs, the citywide transmission rate fell over the past week to 106.43 per 100,000 residents. Staten Island continues to have the highest transmission rate, at 142.81 per 100,000 residents, followed closely behind by Brooklyn at 133.01 per 100,000 residents.

By comparison, Borough Park’s transmission rate, as of Oct. 8, stood at 206 per 100,000 residents.

COVID-19 continues to overwhelmingly sicken and kill unvaccinated New Yorkers. So far, since Jan. 17, 2021, 507,911 unvaccinated New Yorkers were diagnosed with COVID-19. Of them, 41,976 were hospitalized and 7,351 of patients died. Of vaccinated New Yorkers, just 40,191 individuals contracted breakthrough cases. Approximately 2,070 of them required hospitalization, and 290 patients died.

This story first appeared on amNewYork.

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