How one of the quarantined capitals in the world is facing COVID-19.
New York City has a certain mysticism to it. A romanticized city known for its hustle, its art and its people. And now for being the US state hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. A city once packed with people traversing the streets, riding the metro, filling restaurants and theaters is now left empty, quiet and quarantined.
I managed to escape the city before the number of coronavirus cases skyrocketed but I am left sad and longing for the city I once knew. The New York Times reported that the city faces 26,000 cases and 450 deaths. New York state governor, Andrew Cuomo, and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio have ordered schools to be closed, non-essential workers to stay home as well as the closing of non-essential businesses. The city only ordered non-essential workers to stay home on March 22, which some say was too late to slow the spread properly.
While this is a time to be grateful for my health and safety, it is hard to see a city I love and its people being hit so hard by COVID-19. What was once a bustling international center has now become the most active coronavirus zone in the United States. Healthcare workers have likened the situation to what has happened in Italy and fear of the curve not flattening soon enough has many worried. Supermarkets are left unstocked, the streets and metro stations have been left eerily quiet.
In times like these, we as a society look to our leaders. New Yorkers can look at Governor Cuomo who has provided some words of comfort:
“And we’re going to get through it because we are New York, and because we’ve dealt with a lot of things, and because we are smart. You have to be smart to make it in New York. And we are resourceful, and we are showing how resourceful we are. And because we are united, and when you are united, there is nothing you can’t do. And because we are New York tough. We are tough. You have to be tough. This place makes you tough. But it makes you tough in a good way. We’re going to make it because I love New York, and I love New York because New York loves you.”
There is no doubt that these are difficult times. This pandemic is not to be taken lightly. But in moments where we feel weak and scared we also see the most strength and bravery.
It is time to be thankful for our health and safety. It is time to be thankful for the many healthcare workers braving the virus, to the supermarket employees stocking the shelves, the sanitation workers working extra time to disinfect the cities we know and love, and the many more people working behind the scenes to retain some normalcy in our homes and lives.
We may not know when the virus will finally run its course but in the meantime, we can stay home and protect others from the deadliest side of the pandemic. And we may take solace in the knowledge that we are not alone in this.
New York City will always be New York City. It is a place that has known many hardships and is packed with hardworking people who have jumped into action at first sight of trouble. New York City, just like the rest of the world, will get through this. There is no doubt.