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Covering Coronavirus: Life & Death in the Bronx

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DENISE BARKLEY: They are saying on the news that the rate of people passing from this is black people and Hispanic people. It’s where we live at. You don’t see this upstate. Upstate, other places, people are coming out of the hospital. Downtown, people are coming out of the hospital. In the Bronx, not so much. They’ve got to bring trucks to put bodies in. So there’s something to that.

 

RANEY ARONSON: Around the country, the coronavirus has exposed entrenched racial disparities.

 

MADDOW: African American residents are dying at nearly six times the rate of white residents in Chicago... 

 

WDSU: Disturbingly, this information is going to show you that slightly more than 70% of all the deaths in Louisiana are of African Americans…

 

CBS NEWS: The CDC says Latinos represent more than 27% of covid deaths in hotspots, even though they are just 18% of the population…

 

ARONSON: In New York City, the coronavirus is killing black and Hispanic people at twice the rate of white people. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Bronx.

 

ANJALI TSUI: Even before the pandemic, Bronx residents had a lower life expectancy compared to the rest of New York City and they were more prone to conditions that put them at a higher risk of death if infected with the coronavirus.

 

ARONSON: That’s reporter Anjali Tsui. She lives in New York City. And over the past several weeks, she has been reporting in the Bronx — from a place where the mounting death toll has been deeply felt: a family-run funeral home.

 

I’m Raney Aronson, executive producer of FRONTLINE and this is the 

FRONTLINE Dispatch. 

 

FUNDER: The FRONTLINE Dispatch is made possible by the Abrams Foundation, committed to excellence in journalism, and by the WGBH catalyst fund. Support for The FRONTLINE Dispatch also comes from the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. Early detection is key to catching and treating many cancers. You can learn more about the innovative programs at mass-general-dot-org-slash-cancer. Mass General Cancer Center: Everyday amazing. 

 

ARONSON: Anjali, thanks for joining us on the Dispatch. 

 

TSUI: Thank you for having me.

 

ARONSON: So the Bronx is a place that you have been reporting for awhile now, and specifically the story that we’re going to talk about today is the funeral home in the Bronx that you’ve located yourself in, the Herbert T. McCall Funeral Home. Talk me through a little bit more about the decision to spend time in a funeral home.

 

TSUI: Yea so I started this journey really at the beginning of April and at the time the number of deaths in New York were starting to peak. I knew that hospitals were being overwhelmed, there had been these heart-wrenching stories coming out of emergency rooms where people were dying while they were waiting for beds and I knew that funeral homes were likely going to be the next place to be inundated by COVID-19. So I started making some calls around to funeral homes in the Bronx and I happened upon this place called Herbert T. McCall Funeral Home. And they’ve been around since the 1950s. So when I called, the funeral director there picked up the phone and she invited me to come and be a fly on the wall as they went about their work.

 

ARONSON: What's what's the racial breakdown of families that are coming through the funeral home at this point? 

 

TSUI: So I asked Sheila Newkirk, the funeral director and she says that 99% of the families that she is serving are black, and that's consistent with the neighborhoods that Herbert T. McCall is located in. They’re a funeral home that specifically caters to the African American community. Although while I was there, you know, there were some families who had lost loved ones and they're looking to send bodies back to Jamaica or the Dominican Republic. And what's interesting in a place like the Bronx is that actually funeral homes are pretty much divided across ethnic lines. So there are specific funeral homes that cater to the black community and other funeral homes that cater to the Latino community. But with the pandemic, you're seeing people go to five, six different funeral homes, they're getting turned away, and Herbert T. McCall is actually expanding to serve some Latino families. 

 

ARONSON: So the woman that we heard at the top of the show, how does she fit into the story? 

 

TSUI: So one day when I was back at McCalls Funeral Home and I came across a woman named Denise Barkley. 

DENISE BARKLEY: That’s not right. Like this is crazy… 

 

TSUI: She was standing outside, knocking on the door. 

 

BARKLEY: I’m knocking on the glass … 

 

TSUI: Basically this funeral home that had been in operation all these weeks was shut.

 

BARKLEY: This is… I don’t understand. I never in my life, never…

 

TSUI: And the lights were off and there was a sign on the door that says… 

 

BARKLEY: “Sorry the office will be closed until further notice.”

 

TSUI: And Denise was really worried. Her sister had died from the coronavirus a few days ago and she had put down a deposit for a funeral at Herbert T. McCall. 


BARKLEY: I came to them to do my sister’s viewing and cremation. Paid over $4,000. They called me back and said they couldn’t do it because on her death certificate it had that she died of COVID. 

 

TSUI: Because her sister was diagnosed with COVID-19, with the new precautions, she was being told that it would be better for her family to consider a direct cremation.

 

BARKLEY: Ok, fine. When are they going to cremate her if they have this sign? What’s going to happen? Where’s my sister’s body?

 

TSUI: So while we’re out there, she’s calling the funeral home on the phone, no one’s answering.

 

BARKLEY: She’s literally sitting at the desk. The blinds are closed but I can see her sitting there. She can hear me. This is so unprofessional, I’ve never…

 

TSUI: After about 10 minutes, Cheryl Newkirk, the office manager, came to the door.


TSUI: Hi, Cheryl.
BARKLEY: What’s going on? 

CHERYL NEWKIRK: We can’t take anybody else.
BARKLEY: I want to know what’s going on with my sister, Crystal Barkley. I was supposed to get a refund. No one’s answering the phone. This just threw me right now.

 

TSUI: So ultimately Denise and the funeral home were able to clear things up. She got her refund. 


RANEY: So on that day, why was the funeral home closed? 

 

TSUI: Yeah so on that day I talked to the funeral director, Sheila Newkirk, and her sister, Cheryl — they had just been completely inundated with cases and had to shut their office to catch up.

 

SHEILA: We have orders, paperwork that has to be filed, can’t get it done because the phone keeps ringing, people want information, don’t have time to sit there and talk to them and do what we have to do so, can’t take anymore cases at the moment so we decided to close the office so we could at least do our paperwork.


CHERYL: You can’t get nothing done. I’m trying to arrange pick ups and stuff. You can’t do nothin’ with that door open and people coming and going.

 

ARONSON: Hmm.

 

TSUI: I learned while I was there that dying actually involves a surprising amount of paperwork. You have to order the death certificates, get together your insurance claims, it’s a long process to get cremated involving various permits, and Herbert T. McCall is backlogged. Sheila and Cheryl are worried about losing track of things.

 

TSUI: So this stack in here, is that the current load that you’re working on?
SHEILA: Yes, these are the people we are waiting for to either be cremated or buried. Yeah.
TSUI: That’s quite a large stack. How many people are in there?
SHEILA: I think it’s about 20…  some went out… it’s about 28 cases. 

 

RANEY: So Anjali, tell me more about Denise’s sister.

 

TSUI: Yeah. So Denise told me that her sister, Crystal, was admitted to the hospital in the middle of March. The doctor said she had pneumonia at first. 

 

BARKLEY: So when she first went in, you know, she was okay. 

 

TSUI: And her sister had some underlying health issues that made her more vulnerable if she had the coronavirus.

 

BARKLEY: She would call every day a couple times a day, we would see her on the video, she would talk. 

 

TSUI: Things were fine at first. They would video chat regularly. But eventually Crystal was placed on a ventilator. And then a few days later, Denise got a voice message from her doctor. 

 

DOCTOR: Hi, this message is for Denise Barkley. I'm calling regarding Crystal Barkley. And trying to give you, I guess an update of her status. 

 

TSUI: Basically the doctor says she’s been the same for the last two days, still on the ventilator. 

 

DOCTOR: Still requiring medicines and still trying to keep her sedated. In terms of that, there hasn't been really any other changes. But we can try to give you a call back later to talk to you, alright? Alright, you take care. 

 

TSUI: And then three hours later, her family got a call to say that Crystal had died.

 

BARKLEY: All the time I'm thinking she's gonna come out of it and come home. Did not expect it at all, at all. And then to have to have her kids hear this news is all, it's heartbreaking. It's heartbreaking. 

 

TSUI: So Crystal was only 43 years old. And she’s survived by five children. Denise has just been absolutely stunned by this loss. 

 

ARONSON: What’s going to happen now with her remains, and what about a funeral?

 

TSUI: So that’s the really tough thing. Denise’s family won’t be able to have a funeral or viewing for her sister. She’s going to be cremated directly. 

 

BARKLEY: For one, you don’t expect to lose a family member so suddenly and then you can’t go the normal way of putting them to rest. The funeral is not for the person who passed. It’s for the family. Closure for us, to say goodbye. We haven’t, we didn’t see her. It’s all overwhelming, and it’s a lot. 


TSUI: And Denise actually had made all these arrangements. She told me that her sister's favorite color was red. 

 

BARKLEY: The stores are closed, but I ordered a red dress. Have it in the house. Didn’t open it yet and I’m not gonna cuz we’re not going to use it.

 

ARONSON: Right, wow. I wanted to know more about how COVID in general, how is it changing the way that the funeral home is doing things differently? 

 

TSUI: Yeah, so at Herbert T. McCall, they're facing a lot of their own uncertainty. There's uncertainty about when the backlogs from the cemeteries and the crematoriums will clear, uncertainty about an end in sight to the chaos at some of the hospitals. And Sheila actually brought that up to me as we were speaking.  

 

SHEILA: With AIDS, we knew it was up to 72 hours. But with this, they don’t know how long it lives after a person dies. So what all funeral homes have been doing is either having direct cremations or direct burials.

 

ARONSON: So are most of the cases that the funeral home is seeing, most of the deaths, are they related to COVID at this point? 

 

TSUI: Yes, most of the cases are COVID related, but it's hard for people to get tested. So the funeral home has had to assume that everyone that they're dealing with has died of the virus. 

 

ARONSON: Is that what the families are assuming as well? I mean, if they don't have a COVID positive case is just the assumption?

 

TSUI: Well a lot of families still have no idea what their loved ones died of. Sometimes Cheryl has to be the first one to break the news to people.

 

CHERYL: The family thinks they died from one thing and then when you get the death certificate, you see COVID-19. Then you can’t embalm them. And it’s hard to explain that to the family.

 

TSUI: Another thing that really struck me when I was talking to Sheila and Cheryl: they are sometimes making funeral arrangements for multiple members of the same family.


CHERYL: On the 17th, they need two hearses?

SHEILA: Yeah … because brother and sister.

CHERYL: So, they are taking both of them there? It’s going to be two caskets again?

SHEILA: Uh huh.

CHERYL: Oh God.

SHEILA: This is the second… We’ve got three cases where, well, the first one: two sisters died. Now, we have a brother and sister and now we have another two sisters.

CHERYL: We just buried two sisters the other day. One died, she came in to make arrangements. She was downstairs in the bathroom for like 45 minutes, so I went downstairs to make sure she is alright and she said: “Ah, I don’t feel too good.” The next day, she died. Now you got two other sisters that died, and now you got a sister and a brother that just died. So it’s double families, again!

 

RANEY: Wow. So many multiple members of the same family. So beyond the funeral home, how else is the neighborhood feeling the impact of the coronavirus?

 

TSUI: So one day after spending the morning at Herbert T. McCall Funeral Home, I decided to walk around the neighborhood. Just across the street from Herbert McCall’s, there's a grocery store and I saw long lines there. And then I turned the corner and I was walking down this street, actually in the back alley behind a hospital.


TSUI: So I just walked past a hospital. I noticed there were these guys hanging out on the sidewalk dressed in full P.P.E. with the gowns, face shields, N95 masks and they also had these bright red trash bags taped onto their feet.

 

TSUI: I thought they were doctors at first. But I ended up talking to one of them — this guy named Erik Frampton. He told me he and his husband worked as art framers in New Jersey but that work dried up during the pandemic so he decided to take a job at a temporary morgue that had set up shop outside of the hospital.  

 

ERIK FRAMPTON: My first day on the job was Monday, and that was three days ago. I’ve never touched a dead body before but now I’ve handled at least 240 of them.

 

TSUI: These morgues are basically trailers that have been attached to the hospital and when someone dies inside the hospital, they're transferred there temporarily and they’re waiting there until the funeral directors can come and pick them up.

 

FRAMPTON: We’re moving all the bodies into the freezer trucks because the morgues have so little capacity. There’s just not enough space. Our second trailer, which is basically completely full, it has 92 bodies on it, the air conditioner system broke. 

 

TSUI: That sounds really stressful.

 

FRAMPTON: It goes from surreal, to stressful, to nonchalant in a heartbeat. I don’t think anybody here knows what they’re feeling.

 

TSUI: Why is there this backlog as you understand it?

 

FRAMPTON: I don’t understand the backlog except to assume that it’s not normal for there to be 220 bodies in one small section of one borough of one city for local funeral homes and local families to navigate.

 

RANEY: Hmm. So, Erik says he’s been waiting around for funeral directors to come and collect these bodies. What are funeral directors saying?

TSUI: The funeral homes say they're doing their best to keep up with the deluge. And they can’t pick up the bodies until there's a cremation or burial slot that opens up. A place like McCall’s actually doesn't have any refrigerators to store bodies. And meanwhile, it's taking about a month for a cremation slot to open up. The morgues are really disorganized in some places. Sheila told me that she sent folks to a nearby hospital to pick up a body and they were told that it wasn't there. She's also having a hard time finding enough people to go and do these pickups. Everyone is being overwhelmed. So back at the funeral home, I actually got talking to Sheila's son.

 

CHRISTOPHER BROWN: Alright, my name is Christopher Brown. I’m the son of Sheila Newkirk.

 

TSUI: He normally helps out with cleaning the funeral home and he's decided to take on some extra work collecting bodies from the hospital. One day I caught him while he was on his way out.

 

TSUI: What’s going on, Chris?

 

BROWN: I’m doing removals today. I’ve upgraded.


TSUI: From cleaning to removals. 


BROWN: From cleaning to removals. I got a graduation.

TSUI: What does a removal involve?

BROWN: To go to the hospitals or wherever they are laid at and put them on  the stretcher and bring them here. So, it’s busy everywhere so I’ve come to lend a helping hand. 

 

TSUI: So you’re helping your mom out?

 

BROWN: Yes.

TSUI: Which hospital are you heading to?

BROWN: Sloan Kettering, I think that’s in Midtown somewhere. And I believe we’ve got a few pick ups today too. So, going to be pretty busy. 

 

TSUI: Do you know if this person you’re picking up had the virus?

BROWN: I hope not. I got a suit though. I got a little monkey suit to bring with me so I’m good. I’ll be alright. 

 

TSUI: Are you going to put it on here?

 

BROWN: No I’m going to wait until I get down there. Before I go in the hospital, got a few pairs of gloves. So I’ll be alright. Well protected. Either that or I would have probably gotten a garbage bag and rip the head out and put it over. Something like that. Time to get busy. Get suited and booted. We ready to roll? You’ll probably be here when I get back, I’ll share my experience on the pick up with you. 

 

FUNDER: Support for The FRONTLINE Dispatch comes from Mass General Cancer Center. When facing the unknown, it is often the small acts of courage that we experience in our daily lives that power us to face another day. We’re all in this together.

 

RANEY: I want to zoom out a bit and talk about the systemic issues that the Bronx has dealt with for so many years, decades. In the past, FRONTLINE has covered the challenges children there face with education. But what in particular is making residents in the Bronx right now — and also in similar communities around the country —  more vulnerable to this virus?

 

TSUI: Yeah so I spoke with Dr. Diana Hernandez, who studies this exact thing. 

 

DIANA HERNANDEZ: I am an assistant professor of socio-medical sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University.

 

TSUI: She’s spent years looking at public health issues in the south Bronx and she’s also from the neighborhood. Her family moved there from Puerto Rico back in the 1940s.

 

DIANA HERNANDEZ: On a lot of different levels, the Bronx is extremely vulnerable to having a more fatal reality when it comes to COVID. That has to do with for instance, higher obesity, hypertension, diabetes, as well as higher rates of asthma and other kinds of related chronic illnesses. But it also is very much plagued by social illness like that of poverty and unemployment.

 

TSUI: So the Bronx is massive. It's home to 1.5 million people. And the majority of residents are black, or Latino, or both. And the Bronx is also home to many immigrants. It's the poorest borough in New York City, and it's also home to the poorest congressional district in the country.


RANEY: I understand the Bronx is also home to a lot of essential workers.

TSUI: That’s right. At McCall’s they’re organizing funerals for pharmacists, restaurant delivery workers, mechanics, home health aides. These are all people, as Dr. Hernandez points out, who don’t have the luxury of staying home.

 

HERNANDEZ: Folks that are doing the deliveries, are the grocery clerks, are working in the pharmacies, are janitorial staff. All of these things basically mean that every day, they have to go and face the monster. If we were really to document the reality of why people might be losing their lives prematurely then we would actually point to a legacy of racism, to a legacy of disinvestment, to a legacy of policy failures that have not put those people first. 

 

RANEY: So given this legacy, how is the city and the state responding to the situation in the Bronx?

 

TSUI: So in April, as the racial data was released, the city started taking new measures to address some of these racial disparities. They started putting new test sites in Harlem and the Bronx. I asked Dr. Hernandez what she thought about this… 

 

HERNANDEZ: So, I think a lot of times we think of the city as a whole but those of us that live in especially communities of need often feel like we’re first in line in terms of the needs but last to actually be recognized and tended to. I think it’s about time and it’s kind of late.

 

TSUI: One thing that I’ve been noticing over the course of my reporting, I’ve been spending time in this funeral home where some people were never able to get tested. So on their death certificate it says presumptive positive but they were never able to get a hold of a test, even though they demonstrated all of the symptoms.

HERNANDEZ: Yea I mean it’s so frustrating, I personally know of folks that have been symptomatic and have either been turned away or essentially denied on the basis of a phone call and it’s really unacceptable for folks that are demonstrating symptoms to just not be able to access a test.

 

TSUI: So on top of expanding testing in minority neighborhoods they’re also doing more to give out hand sanitizer and masks to residents who live in public housing. The mayor has also set up a special task force to address racial inequities. 

 

RANEY: But in the meantime, of course, bodies are literally piling up in the Bronx, and places like McCall’s funeral home are trying to keep up with the volume and help families going through a lot of trauma.

 

TSUI: That’s right, things are really tough right now at McCall’s. And despite all of this they’re still trying to hold some in-person funeral services. 

 

RANEY: Tell us about that. 

 

TSUI: Well they’re trying to be as safe as they can. Right now only 10 people can be inside the main room at one time. And all of the family members I saw, they’re coming in with N95 masks and gloves. They’re trying to be very careful and in some instances they have to do some crowd control. 

 

TSUI: Sheila so what did you tell that group that just walked in here? 

 

SHEILA: They have to wait before they come in, someone has to come out before they go in. 

 

TSUI: What’re the rules right now about how many people are you allowed to have?

 

SHEILA: 10. You’re allowed to have 10 people. Which includes the minister — the minister and musicians. So that's rough. 

 

TSUI: It must be hard to turn people away and tell them they can’t come inside.

 

SHEILA: It’s hard but when you’re looking at fines and being shut down … Another funeral home, they had too many people and the police came in and shut it down. You gotta do what you gotta do. 

 

TSUI: So it’s not just that funerals are different, a lot of work behind the scenes has changed because of the coronavirus. 

 

BROWN: What are we doing with this body?

 

I met up with Shelia’s son, Chris again after he’d picked up a body at the hospital. 


PATRICIA HAMILTON: You put it in the casket. The white one.
BROWN: The white one?
HAMILTON: Yeah. The white casket.


TSUI: I followed Chris downstairs to the basement room to grab a casket for the woman.

 

BROWN: We’re approaching the wooden doors and this is the prep room. This is the embalming room.

 

TSUI: And really, walking in there, that was the first moment where the toll of the virus really hit home for me. I saw four or five bodies in that room covered in white sheets waiting to be embalmed or put in a casket to send to cremation. 

 

BROWN: Let’s see, caskets....

 

TSUI: There had been several white caskets delivered over the last few days and it was a little bit messy and chaotic down there. 

 

BROWN: Let’s see… 

 

TSUI: Eventually he found the right one and loaded it onto the elevator and sent it upstairs. And there, Patricia Hamilton who is a funeral director who’s using that space is instructing him to carefully lift the body bag off the stretcher and load the woman into her casket. 

 

PATRICIA HAMILTON: Don’t worry about it, ok? Ok baby I got you, I got you, ok. 

BROWN: Are we coming out of this? Oh you want to leave it in there? Wait, wait…   

 

TSUI: She’s allowing the woman’s daughter to come by the funeral home to say goodbye.

 

PATRICIA HAMILTON: Her daughter wants to see her. I don’t really want to open this bag ‘cause she has corona.

 

TSUI: She had died of the coronavirus.

 

HAMILTON: Chris, can you unzip that down there for me? 

 

TSUI: They carefully unzipped the body bag.

 

HAMILTON: Very slow. 

 

TSUI: So that you could see the woman’s head and shoulders.

 

HAMILTON: Don’t take no deep breaths and do it slow.

 

TSUI: She had been in a refrigerator for a while, and didn’t really have a lot of color or life to her. 

 

HAMILTON: Let’s see how her face looks. Oh, she’s beautiful.
BROWN: How old is she?
HAMILTON: 54.
BROWN: Man, 54, she’s got me by four years.
HAMILTON: Beautiful lady, are you kidding me?


TSUI: Patricia Hamilton says after this funeral, she’s entering a self-quarantine.

 

HAMILTON: I gave away eight cases this morning. So now I’m quarantining myself because I became involved with a lot of bodies the other day. I’m not sick, I’m breathing good, I don’t have any kind of physical pain or anything so I don’t think I have the coronavirus but I’m retired as of today.  

 

RANEY: It sounds to me like funeral directors in general are really putting themselves on the line.

TSUI: They are, you know, all day long, Sheila Newkirk is interacting with family members who are coming in to make arrangements. Funeral directors are really like another kind of first responder. 

 

TSUI: How are you feeling about today and this week?

SHEILA: Well, for one thing I'm glad it's over with. Seems to have been more busy than it was last week. This week we had to start turning people away.

 

TSUI: At one point I was in Sheila’s office as she was plotting out her calendar for the next week. There were dozens upon dozens of cremations and services. One of the very last people she was able to help was a woman named Madelon Kendricks. 


MADELON KENDRICKS: And I’m originally from the Bronx.

 

TSUI: She was there to bury her godmother -- who was really more like a second mom to her.

 

MADELON KENDRICKS: Coming back here is like coming back home. I buried my father here. I buried my grandfather with McCall’s. McCall’s has been in the family for a long time as Bronxites.


TSUI: So, Madelon told me that her godmother Alpha belonged to the same Baptist church for more than 60 years. But as she got older, it became more difficult to make it to services on Sundays. Then in 2018, they went back there together on Mother’s day.

 

ALPHA: Good morning everybody. 

CONGREGATION: Good morning.  

ALPHA: And God bless all of you. I love you. I was here before and I enjoyed it so much. And thank God for everything. I am now 93.

MADLEON: No, 95! 

PASTOR: 95. Amen! 

ALPHA: When you get old, you forget. 

 

TSUI: Madelon says Alpha would’ve wanted a lively funeral at this church, with all of her friends and family -- as well as a full band and a choir. But right now none of that can happen.

 

KENDRICKS: When people die, they need to be celebrated and there is no celebration of life right now. It’s like people are just disappearing. Every life is valuable and so she will be buried respectfully.

 

ARONSON: So that day that you met Madelon at the funeral home was almost a month ago. What have you heard from her since? 

 

TSUI: So Alpha had been waiting for weeks to get cremated. Things were taking so long that the medical examiner's office offered to bury her in a temporary grave. The other day, I went back to the funeral home with Madelon to get an update. They said that Alpha had been sent to Pennsylvania and cremated there.

 

SHEILA: The reason we did that is because New York is so backed up so we are waiting still for people to be cremated.

 

TSUI: On one hand, Madelon’s really grateful that her godmother Alpha has finally been cremated but there’s no real sense of closure because those ashes haven’t been shipped back to New York. And she’s waiting to get a death certificate — she wants to know if her godmother will be counted amongst the coronavirus deaths.

 

TSUI: Why is it important to you to know?

 

KENDRICKS: It’s important because there are so many that are uncounted in this horror. And it’s important for us to know that the numbers are not accurate, because they can’t be. I know that she probably had it, she had all the symptoms and I want to see if she was one of the uncounted. And then from there I’ll make some calls: to the state, to the health department, to Albany. Because she has to be counted. 

 

ARONSON: Anjali, where do things stand now in New York City?

  

TSUI: So things are finally starting to look a bit better. Everyday there are fewer people going to the hospital and fewer people dying. But 20,000 people have already died from the coronavirus here. Recently, Governor Cuomo announced the results of an antibody study.

 

CUOMO: So we’ve been doing these antibody testings all across the state. Within New York City, you see the Bronx is high. 27 percent. And we’re going to do more research to understand what's going on there. Why is the Bronx higher than the other boroughs?

 

TSUI: And even in these antibody tests, you see how black and Latino people have been disproportionately impacted, and the fear is, as the city starts to reopen, people who are from these communities are most likely to get sick again.

 

ARONSON: This is a story we’re going to continue to report on and come back to you on. So for now, thanks so much for joining us on The Dispatch. We’ll talk to you soon.

 

TSUI: Thanks so much for having me, Raney, take care. 

 

ARONSON: You can read more stories from FRONTLINE’s coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at FRONTLINE dot org.

 

This podcast was reported by Anjali Tsui, and produced by James Edwards and Max Green. 

 

Our production assistant is Lucie Sullivan.

 

Katherine Griwert is our editorial coordinating producer. 

 

Pam Johnston is FRONTLINE’s senior director of strategy and audience.

 

Lauren Ezell is senior story editor. 

 

Sarah Childress is our senior editor. 

 

Andrew Metz is our managing editor.

 

I’m Raney Aronson, executive producer of FRONTLINE. 

 

Music by Stellwagen Symphonette. 

 

The FRONTLINE Dispatch is produced at WGBH and powered by PRX.

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