New York – Just days after the New York government ordered people to stay home, authorities mobilized on Wednesday to combat a potential public health disaster. By establishing itself as the largest focus of coronavirus infection nationwide, the city has become a red flag – and even a lesson – for the rest of the country.
A makeshift morgue was set up outside Bellevue Hospital, while city police, whose ranks have been dwindled by the increasing number of infections inside the department, have been asked to patrol half-empty streets to enforce social estrangement. .
Public health officials sought to obtain beds and medical supplies, and called on more doctors and nurses for fear that the number of cases would skyrocket in a matter of weeks, overwhelming hospitals as happened in Italy and Spain. New York University has offered to allow its medical students to graduate early so they can join the battlefront.
Globally, the death toll exceeded 20,000, according to a count by Johns Hopkins University. In the United States, there are nearly 900 deaths and more than 60,000 infections.
In New York State alone, there are more than 30,000 cases and around 300 deaths, most of them in New York City.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, in a new call for help to deal with the pandemic, attributed the number of cases to the role the city plays in accessing international commuters and its dense population, 8.6 million people who share the metro, elevators, residential and office buildings.
“Our closeness makes us vulnerable,” he declared. “But it is true that your greatest weaknesses are also your main strengths. Our closeness makes us who we are. That is New York. “
Some public health experts also attributed the huge number of cases in the city, in part, to the huge campaign in the state to screen its residents.
Troy Tassier, a professor at Fordham University studying economic epidemiology, hinted that the increase shows that New York would have had better results had it ordered social distancing earlier.
In San Francisco, nearly 7 million people in the area were practically confined to their homes on March 17, and California ordered near-absolute isolation for its 40 million residents three days later.
The order to stay home did not take effect in New York State until the afternoon of Sunday, March 22, and the school system serving 1.1 million students in the city did not close until March 15, much later of closing other districts.
Dr. Mark Dworkin, professor of epidemiology at the University of Illinois, Chicago campus, said that he has not followed the New York situation so closely as to affirm whether he would have acted differently, but stressed that acting promptly is essential and Sometimes complicated in the early stages, when the public does not perceive an imminent threat.
“At first, I think there is some skepticism about what is happening,” he said. “I think that contributes, to some degree, to not rushing the control measures that we know we must implement.”
After the first diagnosis was released in New York on March 1 – in a health worker who had traveled to Iran and remained in isolation upon his return – Mayor Bill de Blasio and Cuomo initially referred to the disease as a dangerous threat, but one that the city’s robust hospital system could handle.