New Yorkers gathering in large groups outdoors as state’s coronavirus numbers continue to skyrocket
03/28/2020 // Cassie B. // Views

New York is currently leading the country by a significant margin when it comes to the number of coronavirus cases registered, so why are so many people there still out and about acting as though nothing is going on?

Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a stay at home order for the state that requires non-essential businesses to have their employees work from home. Exemptions are made for health care providers, financial institutions, and people working in the media.

You would think that New York City might look a bit like the “ghost towns” that many popular Italian cities like Rome have become as people adhere to orders to shelter in place, but that’s not the case at all. Locals could be seen packed in subways and trains without masks and heading out to public parks in New York City to catch some rays and play sports, completely disregarding the advice to stay six feet away from one another.

In a press conference, Cuomo called out what he termed “arrogant” New Yorkers for flouting the social distancing guidelines as the state’s number of confirmed coronavirus cases continued to climb.

After seeing crowded parks in New York City on Saturday, he said: “There is a density level in New York City that is wholly inappropriate.”

“You would think there was nothing going on in parts of New York City. You would think it was just a bright, sunny Saturday.”

The Daily Mail printed photos of large crowds at places like Central Park and the Grand Army Plaza farmer’s market, while people were enjoying picnics in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park and chatting while walking around McCarren Park.


Police have also had to disperse large crowds gathering outside restaurants and other establishments to get takeout food, such as at Greenwich Village’s Carbone and a Brooklyn Yeshiva that was offering free food to Hasidic Jews.

The governor also warned that the coronavirus outbreak could last for as long as nine months and suggested 80 percent of New Yorkers could eventually become infected.

New York City not prepared for influx of cases

He asked FEMA to set up four hospitals at the Javits Center in Manhattan in hopes of saving more lives. The center, which normally hosts trade shows, will be home to four 250-bed hospitals. Other venues are also being considered for conversion to hospital sites, such as the Westchester Convection Center and campuses at SUNY Westbury and Stony Brook.

Cuomo minced no words in addressing those who choose to defy orders and congregate outside, using terms like “disrespectful”, “arrogant”, “insensitive”, and “self-destructive”, adding that coronavirus is not a joke.

He also said he asked Mayor Bill de Blasio to find a way to stop people from gathering outdoors. Today, de Blasio said New York City must be ready to remain closed through May because the outbreak there has yet to peak. The city is already dealing with more than 23,000 confirmed cases and a shortage of supplies such as ventilators.

The state has also been taking steps to ramp up its healthcare offerings to better manage the influx of patients, asking all hospitals to raise their capacity by 100 percent. The city has just 53,000 beds available, and some data points to as many as 110,000 beds being needed at the peak of the outbreak.

He admitted that it may be difficult or even impossible in some places to hit these goals. The mandate from the Department of Health Emergency also called for all elective, non-critical operations to be canceled, which could free up as many as 35 percent more beds.

Cuomo said that although hospitals will be unhappy about losing the revenue from elective surgeries, public health has to come first right now.

Our best hope of getting this pandemic even remotely under control is doing everything in our power to stop its spread, no matter how much we’d all like to take a walk in the park.

Sources for this article include:

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