Why New York took a massive COVID-19 hit

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Explained: Why New York Took a Big Shot of COVID-19

Coronavirus: the financial capital of New York has 8.6 million inhabitants.

New York: New York has more cases of coronavirus than any country and accounts for about half of all deaths in the United States. Why was it so badly hit and could its leaders have acted differently?

Was New York more vulnerable?

New York State had nearly 160,000 confirmed COVID-19 infections last Friday, more than the most affected countries in Europe, Spain and Italy, and more than 7,800 deaths.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has repeatedly said that the density and number of foreign visitors makes New York, with nearly 93,000 confirmed cases, a breeding ground for the spread of infectious diseases.

The financial capital of the United States has 8.6 million inhabitants. There are 10,000 residents per square kilometer, making it the densest city in the United States.

Millions of commuters rub against each other on its crowded metro network every day, while keeping the distance on its sometimes narrow sidewalks can be difficult.

NYC receives more than 60 million tourists a year and is the gateway to America for many travelers, which means that anyone with the virus is likely to start infecting others first.

American geneticists estimate that it began to spread there from Europe in February, before the first confirmed case of New York on March 1.

The Big Apple is also characterized by massive socio-economic inequalities.

Overcrowded and disadvantaged areas – particularly in the Bronx and Queens, where many people already suffer from health problems and lack medical care – have experienced the highest infection rate.

“New York City had all the necessary conditions to support the idea that it was going to be hit very hard,” said Irwin Redlener, professor of public health and disaster preparedness expert at Columbia University.

Have government officials underestimated the risk?

On March 2, when the state’s second case was confirmed in New Rochelle, just north of New York, Cuomo said the health care system was the best “on the planet.”

“We don’t even think it’s going to be as bad as in other countries,” he added.

After much hesitation, the mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, announced the closure of public schools, bars and restaurants from March 16.

The governor ordered all non-essential businesses to close and residents to stay home a week later, March 22.

Experts are hesitant to say they have waited too long.

“The mayor and the governor were pushed and pulled by two opposing forces.

“One said that we must close schools and restaurants as quickly as possible, the other said that there are many economic and social consequences of closing everything early,” said Redlener.

“Everyone received mixed messages, including from the federal government, from (President Donald) Trump,” he added.

Have other states reacted better?

California, America’s most populous state, is often cited as a good example of how quickly it responded to the epidemic. As of Friday, his confirmed cases were only 20,200, with 550 deaths.

On March 16, six counties in the San Francisco Bay area issued a home stay order, which was followed by the entire state three days later.

“One thing that I think is important is that six neighboring counties got together and issued the same order (of containment) for the six counties, and they did so early,” said Meghan McGinty, associate with the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health.

“There was consistency, unlike NYC which took one measure, and Westchester (county) which took another, and Long Island which took another,” she told AFP.

Six days passed between the decision to close the New York school and its decision to confine residents to their homes.

“In terms of the epidemic, six days are light years away and can really make a difference in controlling and spreading the epidemic, so I think it’s safe to say that in retrospect, New York has waited too long Said Ms. McGinty.

Is anyone to blame?

Once the crisis is over, the blame game can begin.

Democrats Cuomo and Blasio have lamented for weeks the Trump administration’s delay in passing tests to states, which have yet to arrive in sufficient numbers.

New York officials have also targeted the federal government for dragging its heels in the use of emergency powers to manufacture rescue ventilators.

With a death toll far beyond the 9/11 death toll, neighboring New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, who was also badly affected, called for a commission similar to the one set up to investigate the 11/11 attacks. September 2001.

“The warning signs were there … what happened? If you don’t know the answer, how are you going to make sure it doesn’t happen again? Cuomo asked Friday.

With the death toll and millions of unemployed, “we have a moral obligation to study this pandemic,” said McGinty.

(With the exception of the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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