The Bronx and Staten Island are about 14 miles from each other, but in some ways, they’re much closer.
The Bronx has the lowest vaccination rate in the city.
“A lot of people are not confident about the vaccine. They don't trust it,” said Timothy, who lives in the Bronx.
Staten Island has the second-lowest vaccination rate. Even though 54% in Staten Island beats the Bronx’s 49% with a higher percentage of people who are vaccinated, the southern-most borough has the highest seven-day COVID-19 positive rate in the city.
"The positivity rate is not the be all and end all," said Columbia University's Dr. Jessica Justman.
Justman said that data point is not as important as it once was because vaccinated people are testing positive for COVID-19. But behavioral factors may also be keeping people safer in the more densely populated Bronx.
"I conduct clinical research. I still see a lot of mask-wearing in the Bronx and South Bronx," Justman said.
Those we spoke with in the Bronx agree.
While there is no definitive study quantifying mask usage in each borough, Justman said there is no sure way of knowing why the two boroughs both struggle with low vaccination rates and differ in their infection rates.
Justman said in this free country, people typically follow each other and listen eventually. At least, that’s what she’s hoping.
“I think there can be a tipping point for vaccination, and when you start to see that enough of your friends are getting vaccinated, I think that can tip people," she said. "We can’t give up. We have to keep going at it.”