When New York emerged as the site of the initial COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S., pundits and politicians quickly pointed to the city’s density – tall apartment buildings and packed subway cars – as the primary source of the spread.

Yet there is little evidence to support this connection. When cases and deaths reached peak levels in the NYC area, the city’s suburbs had higher rates of infections, and some of the densest neighborhoods were among those least affected. As CHPC’s research shows, density is not to blame for the pandemic – and using it as a scapegoat will make it harder for our public health and economy to recover. In addition, lessons learned from international transit agencies demonstrate that transit is not a vector for transmission when proper precautions (such as universal mask-wearing) are in place.

This joint event between the Transit Center and CHPC laid out the evidence against an association between density and public transit and COVID-19 cases, took a closer look at the aspects of our housing and transit that could be risk factors, and explored strategies to protect New Yorkers who are most vulnerable as a result.

In conversation:

David Bragdon, Executive Director, TransitCenter

Wayne Ho,
President & CEO, Chinese-American Planning Council

Jessica Katz, Executive Director, Citizens Housing & Planning Council

Watch the full recording of the webcast below!

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