Fifty-two-year-old Norma Saunders considers herself to be very lucky.
The Bronx resident got COVID-19 late last year, but she beat the virus and can now share her story with others.
“I was very weak. The day after Thanksgiving I was really in the bed. My throat was swelling. I thought it was closing,” Saunders said.
According to the latest data from the New York City Department of Health, Saunders is among 539 residents living in NYCHA’s Bronx River Houses to test positive for COVID between March of 2020 and June of this year.
That accounts for 18% of the development’s authorized residents.
“I did know about seven that did pass away from COVID,” Saunders said.
In fact, numbers released by the city on Wednesday show that while NYCHA residents only account for 4% of the city’s population they accounted for 7% of COVID-19 deaths citywide.
“This is just the latest shocking example of the profound inequality of this pandemic, which was really dealt a brutal blow to communities of color,” said Councilman Mark Levine, the chair of the City Council Committee on Health.
The city data does also show that overall the rate of COVID cases in NYCHA developments is comparable to rates citywide.
Still, Councilman Mark Levine said he sees a few places where the city could still improve.
“I still think there is more that we can and should do for access to vaccination and testing, by expanding the number of mobile vaccine clinics that are based in NYCHA developments,” Levine said.
Saunders added that she knows part of the responsibility in beating the virus does rely on NYCHA residents taking care of themselves.
However, she said that there is still a perception that the city doesn’t care about NYCHA residents as much as they do other New Yorkers.
“A lot of residents feel like they’ve been left hanging and they still feel like that right to this day, that nobody cares for us and we’re on our own,” Saunders said.