The New York subway, traditionally open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, will begin to close at night so that the cars are disinfected daily amid the COVID-19 pandemic, authorities announced Thursday.
Starting on May 6, the metro will be closed between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., while buses, vans and even vehicles from companies like Uber or Lyft will be used to transport essential workers who depend on public transport.
The move, a blow to a city accustomed to having its gigantic subway train system run nonstop, comes days after images of homeless people camped on wagons caused a stir in the city and led many to question hygiene in the city. public transport.RELATED
The state governor, Andrew Cuomo, announced the new plan at a press conference, in which – in a unity message – the city’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, also intervened by videoconference, with whom he has had a tense relationship for a long time. years.
According to Cuomo, the move is unprecedented, and the idea of disinfecting all cars on a daily basis is something that would have been considered “virtually impossible” very recently.
“We are doing things that have not been done before,” said the Democratic politician, who insisted on the need to protect the health of essential workers.
Subway use has plummeted in New York due to the pandemic, with less than 10% of the usual number of passengers, which has already led to a reduction in the frequency of service.
The situation, as the authorities admit, has caused many homeless people to seek refuge on trains and stations, which poses a risk both for them and for other users.
De Blasio stressed that this is an “unacceptable reality” and said that everything possible will be done to take these people to shelters, something that will be easier with the night closure.
Deaths and hospitalizations continue to drop
New York, the epicenter of the disease in the United States, continues to see the numbers of deaths and hospitalized by COVID-19 drop, according to the latest data provided Thursday by Cuomo.
On the last day, 306 people died in this state, the lowest number since March 30, bringing the official total to over 18,000 victims.
New hospitalizations also continue to decline, although they remain around 900 every day, a figure still very high, according to Cuomo.
In total, there are just under 12,000 patients admitted to the state for coronavirus, a clear decrease from the almost 19,000 that came in the middle of this month.
An army of trackers
Cuomo also gave some new details about the plans to multiply the number of tests for the virus and follow up on the contacts made by the positives, measures he considers essential to proceed with the revival of economic activity.
As explained, this work will require between 6,400 and 17,000 employees tracking the virus, within a strategy that is being led by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who also spoke at the press conference and defended that this enormous effort will be necessary to be able to raise containment measures and keep COVID-19 at bay.