Wednesday, October 20

NYC remembers the ‘first fallen’ by COVID-19 after a year in which more than 30,000 deaths have already accumulated

The greatest desire of the Mexican immigrant Isaac Ambrosio Mendoza, 70, who lived the last years of his life in the Bronx, was to have his remains buried in his native Puebla. When he gave that “indication” to his wife Clementina, with whom he shared 50 years of marriage, the nightmare of COVID-19 in New York City, which has caused so much death and desolation, still did not appear.

For this sunday The Big Apple is preparing to remember with a virtual event all those who died from the pandemic, exactly one year after the first death confirmed by the virus in the city and after twelve painful months, which already officially counted more than 30,000 deaths. A figure that includes thousands of people who were unexpectedly snatched from their loved ones, like Isaac, just one of the thousands of Hispanic immigrants who continue to become fatal victims of this pandemic.

“My husband died a few weeks ago. I miss him so much. We raised 10 children together. He had back problems before, but with the virus everything went very fast. It left us and I still cry for it“She commented disconsolately his widow Clementina Mendoza, who just sitting on a bench in the plaza of the Yankee StadiumShe remembered the place where for years she walked with her husband in the days when the New York weather allowed it.

Clementina proudly shows off the photo of her husband for 50 years. (Photo: F Martínez)

“A funeral as God intended”

Clementina had just received the COVID-19 vaccine, a disease that was very deadly for New Yorkers and that forever alienated her from her partner of five decades. This week he prepares to try to fulfill the wish of transfer his remains to Mexico.

“I wanted us to do a funeral as God intended. They give it to me in a box. And I will never know if they really are his remains, “says the immigrant supported by her daughter Blanca, who warns that the coronavirus has hit her family hard.

“We are doing all the procedures to take my father’s remains to Mexico, but there everything is terrible also with the coronavirus. Notice that my sister is there right now infected. We want to fulfill my father’s wish to be buried there, but everything is complicated. With all the problems, here in New York everything is more controlled ”, explains Blanca.

Clementina Mendoza looks inconsolable with her daughter Blanca. (Photo: F: Martínez)

Flatter fatal curve

So far, according to the New York City Department of Health (DOHMH), 766,194 city residents have had COVID-19, the viral disease that began to kill New Yorkers especially in the poorest neighborhoods and that had its first fatal action against an 82 year old woman, in Brooklyn, whose medical history indicated pulmonary emphysema.

Within weeks of that first coronavirus death exactly one year ago, on March 14, 2020, the Big Apple began to understand that it was a potentially murderous pandemic. Already in mid-April 2020, there were more than 700 deaths in a single day.

And, still amid many tears like those of the Mendoza family, the mortality curve associated with complications has dropped, but not disappeared.

In the average of the last 7 days, until this Friday, they were counted 330 deaths in the city according to numbers derived from DOHMH.

The Quisqueyan Antonio López lost his three friends from the Bronx. (Photo: F. Martínez)

“The virus took them all”

“I had a group of older neighbor friends like me. There were four of us, and when it was hot we would go out to the park to talk every day. The virus took them all. Only I was left. I was practically alone, “he commented Antonio López, a 69-year-old Dominican retiree residing on 161st street of the Salsa County, who claims “was saved” despite being diabetic because he decided to lock himself up since he began to hear about the disease.

He too Puerto Rican Ricardo Cruz, 69, recalls scenes from last spring that fill him with anxiety: More than 10 neighbors in a few days, of all ages, not all were “grandparents.”

The horror and anxiety It began to rise when the news broke that COVID-19 was an unpredictably deadly host that could just as well win the deadly battle against healthy young people or even children in very isolated situations.

One year after the pandemic, with more vaccines on the horizon, with more effective treatments, and when Health authorities learned about how to avoid the infernal collapse of hospitals again, the fatal trajectory of the virus remains settled with more prevalence, 80%, in the older adults with pre-existing diseases and in locations in the Big Apple that are below the poverty line.

Puerto Rican Ricardo Cruz: In my block, 10 fell due to the virus in a few days. (Photo: F. Martínez)

How to participate in the ceremony in honor of the victims:

  • The official ceremony honoring the fatalities of the pandemics in the Big Apple is hosted by the New York City Mayor’s Office. If you lost a loved one to COVID-19 and you want your name and photograph appear during the City memorial, you will need to complete a virtual form in the page
  • The commemorative event will take place on Sunday March 14 at 7:45 pm. but you must send the form in advance at this time.
  • The live broadcast will take place at:,,
  • Share your stories, photos and videos with the hashtag #COVIDMEMORIAL
  • Call to 408-418.9388 to get live Spanish translation by checking the code 1297939134
  • In another activity to mark the anniversary of the first reported death from coronavirus in New York City, the ‘Lincoln Center for Performing Arts’ it will host two commemorative events this Sunday. At 12 pm a virtual performance by the New York City Youth Choir singing “You will never walk alone” will be available for watch online.
  • Later that night, hundreds of candles will be lit around the Revson Fountain to honor the roughly 30,000 New Yorkers lost to the pandemic.

COVID-19 continues to kill:

Although the curve for the number of deaths has flattened considerably in the last month, death from complications associated with COVID-19 has not had a break, in neighborhoods of Queens, Brooklyn, El Bronx y Manhattan:

  • 78 deaths only on the shaft Tremont-Hunt Point y Mott Haven, in The Bronx, between January 29 and February 25, quantified by DOHMH, placing “Salsa County” on the map as the one with the highest mortality in the Big Apple. At the beginning of the pandemic between April, May and June 2020, this painful seat was occupied by Corona in Queens.
  • 75 deceased due to the coronavirus were quantified in the neighborhoods of East Harlem, Central Harlem and El Barrio, in the same period of time.
  • 71 deaths in localities of Brighton Beach y Manhattan Brigde to Brooklyn.
  • 57 fatalities from COVID-19 in Flushing neighborhoods in Queens, meaning the fatality curve that Corona-Jackson Heights led last spring has flattened.
  • 39 people they lost the battle with the pandemic in Chinatown last month.

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