By Roy Mabasa
The Philippine Consulate General in New York on Friday confirmed the death of seven Filipinos due to the coronavirus diseases 2019 (COVID-19) while dozens of others who have tested positive of the virus are currently undergoing treatment in various hospitals in New York and New Jersey.
“Many of our kababayans here, just like in the Philippines, are very careful. That's why only a handful of them are affected by the COVID-19. Sadly seven of our kababayans have succumbed to the disease and dozens of others are in the hospitals fighting for their lives,” Consul General Claro Cristobal said in a phone patch interview at the regular Laging Handa briefing of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Emerging Infectious Disease program.
Cristobal said the Filipino community in New York is one of the biggest communities of Filipinos in the United States numbering to about 143,000 while around 137,000 are concentrated in the adjacent New Jersey. He added that many of these Filipinos are already immigrants and well-established.
He, however, said the Consulate has been receiving requests for assistance from Filipinos who are in New York on a short-term stay such as those under a visitor's exchange program.
“They are the most affected of the COVID-19,” Cristobal said in reference to trainees, teachers, doctors, and all other Filipinos who, while undertaking masters or doctorate degrees, are doing part-time jobs in various business establishments in New York. Most businesses have temporarily stopped operations due to the spread of the disease.
Cristobal said those calling the Consulate are mostly asking for assistance from the Philippine government for their food and a temporary place to stay while waiting for their return to the Philippines.
He advised all Filipinos in New York and in New Jersey to monitor the Consulate’s social media accounts and website for the regular postings of advisories and updates on the pandemic in those states.
As of Thursday night, New York has at least 92,381 confirmed cases of the COVID-19, the largest number in the entire United States, with more than 2,400 deaths.