The nation’s capital tells a tale of two cities

ABC News’ Rachel Scott reports on how the pandemic is shedding a light on the social inequality in Washington, D.C.
7:10 | 05/22/20

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Transcript for The nation’s capital tells a tale of two cities
We are the richest country in the world but our nation's capital doesn't always reflect that there is a great divide and not just the political divide that so often bandied about. We are now taking a closer look at a stark case study in the hands. Vs the have nots in the shadow of all that power we find pockets of poverty areas covad nineteen seems to prey upon Rachel Scott has more. On the outskirts of the nation's capital. Washington DC's most vulnerable residents say they were suffering long before the corona virus hit we. Laura Taylor few cities welcome to Washington. It is they last colony for the last plantation. Dependent on your orientation. An affluent areas where so many of the nation's policy and decision makers live. There are grocery stores top medical doctors and multiple testing sites available. But in the city's east that this spirit he's. Are stark. We're just seven miles away from the White House the what is your prospect Anacostia River this social economic conditions changed dramatically and these reports section that DC. They're more than 90% black. And they're being had the hardest by cove in nineteen. African Americans the largest racial group in DC make up 46% of the population and 77%. Of all Kobe nineteen deaths in the district. People under siege by the pandemic the poorest neighborhoods being the highest fatalities. Latino as having the highest rate of infections. Who lives and who dies from Colvin nineteen in Washington can be mapped by zip code. In these hot spots residents are more likely to be low income and black and least likely to have access to grocery stores. And more date there is just one major supermarket for more than 80000 residents and warts seven just to. Parikh of birds shopping for food has always been expensive and inconvenience she now joins more than 38 million Americans who left filed for unemployment. This mean. Actually transportation to Gibson historic day in the waiting in the lines of give in this caloric it's pretty much ahead but day after this the company go to school. But a few miles away in the majority white in wealthier neighborhoods. There are dozens of supermarkets for roughly the semen out of residence grocery stores are built right under some apartment buildings. More and black communities plead for the same access something needs to be done about. And recent have to wait for a certain class the people with the movements of the community. For can be done. This we dump us. But hope is day and it makes it. Angry and what we look at all those nice he disease all of the different stores you know put it this. Sightseeing bus and that's the way we have to think we have they'll always think about how much money we can't just bit. Always said. Features Evans has lived here for fifty years and says she has seen little change we don't have. Internet in this bill it. We don't have competed so that's what information has come. We don't get. All that. Opportunity this out did that DC government has all the program it doesn't get over here because no one has computer. Her senior living center relies on the community support. I had the bad knee and nipple while dale. I can't live much because I'm a look at that. If they catch the bus didn't take the bus get that everyone has to go on to the back of the bus you know they crowding people together. That's not gonna work for me. Yeah. Airlines flying each other. Food drop off snaps giveaways you know the Clark he's collaborative passing out a thousand meals a day. This attorney working six days a week to give seniors a hot meal. The problem with taxi easier pleaded it can't appear here than it is for you to get a recipe that proves he's been waiting decades we'll hospital. Health care act that the body people who doubt they would go hang it pains experts say the lack of access. The quality food is costing lives. Contributing to some of the underlying health conditions that leave poor Americans more vulnerable to cope with nineteen. Our population. We have a lot of co morbidity teens that are high blood pressure. I'm dive. Eighties. You know cancer. Anytime you have any kind of called mortgage see that as a want to the level of care they tune you're gonna Reese you're gonna need it received. So our core more big eighteenth he says the says. Fear T the disease. Health care workers at united medical center the only hospital ward eight C the lack of resources is delaying Colby treatment for patients in the area. This city has partnered with the private sector to attract businesses to ward seven innate but advocates say it comes up the cost of rising gentrification. And calls for better access to health care network a solution when mayor material browser announced plans for two hospitals in the area. Is there anything that said this infrastructure should have been in place sooner prior to that pandemic. Well I think that yes I'll wheat we all know that we need good building blocks of health. In building it integrated helps us dumb you don't get it with the snapping your fingers to get it with a good along a hard working great partnerships. But those hospitals aren't coming insults one each when he jury. Residents have been forced across the Anacostia River for testing and medical treatment at Howard University. You said 40%. Of the pace since you were seeing in ward one. We're coming from these two areas that's what it what does that say about the lack of testing available. Yeah it says a lot about this as one that did not necessarily being tested many but it also says that it don't have access to health care. And the fact that they have to come whole book who was the B husbands and I dozens of visits emergency room. Com means that they don't have access. Now the HB CU receiving private funding from Bank of America stepping in to provide free testing for any local resident who once it may laying. A whole I. Don't know. And hey. But here in the nation's capital some fear that either one the pandemic passes. The disparities will. Remain we always believe there are like second class citizens. The plant filled is that level never has been don't like it looks like it will be and that some of their neighbors across town won't pass laws to help. They're not gonna see this as an opportunity. To improve health care. Improved health include access. To improve John. The mixture of people are no longer. Living in poverty. Dignity muted as an opportunity to say. Oh wow those people. I just gonna have to die. Rachel Scott for ABC news lives in Washington. Our thanks to Rachel Scott for that report.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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