“New York is definitely ready for the word of God.” －Billy Graham
Based on what I saw at the grocery store earlier this week, it would appear the ‘city that never sleeps’ is starting to doze off. With the number of New Yorkers infected by the coronavirus disease, or Covid-19, movement has been restricted. Employers have suspended work or reduced hours; there are fewer people taking public transportation; and restaurants, bars, and other such establishments are only allowed to do take out orders.
With 923 confirmed Covid-19 cases in the city, is New York City ready to go to bed?
Despite the idea that anything and everything is available around the clock in New York City is a misconception, many around the world continue to be mesmerized by the city being “awake” 24/7.
As of Tuesday, New Yorkers were briefed on the latest developments on the coronavirus as a bill was passed guaranteeing job protection and pay for those quarantined and permanent paid sick leave, along with an executive order ordering schools closed from March 18 to April 1. In addition, casinos, gyms, and theaters have also been closed until further notice; establishments providing essential services such as grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, and medical facilities were advised stay open until 8:00 p.m.; local governments were required to reduce their workforce by 50 percent; and park fees were waived for state, local and county parks.
Last Tuesday, after over 100 new Covid-19 cases were recorded, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “It’s unbelievable how rapidly this crisis is growing right now.” By next week, as much as 10,000 new cases have been projected.
“I didn’t even know, by the time I got to your show, there would be 100 more people, but what I said earlier today is this is moving very fast,” the mayor said during a television interview. “We should all be very concerned about how we find a way to slow the trajectory of this virus.”
New York City residents have since been encouraged to prepare for an unprecedented “shelter-in-place” order, which the mayor said needed cooperation between the state and city government.
However, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and de Blasio later sparred over whether plans were in the works, with the governor dismissing the idea during the said TV appearance.
“If New York City says, ‘Well you can’t come out of your house,’ all that will do is cause you to stay with your cousin in Westchester,” Cuomo said, who went on to say that he is working on coordinating restrictions with Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
“There’s not going to be any quarantine,” he affirmed.
* * *
Alex P. Vidal, who is based in New York City, used to be the editor for two local dailies in Iloilo./WDJ