COVID-19 in New York City: Understanding the Causes, Reactions and Impact
In March of 2020, the world was hit by a historic and unprecedented health crisis. As the coronavirus, known as COVID-19, saturated cities around the world, New York City was one of the most affected, along with other urban areas like Los Angeles and Wuhan, China. Although each place took different approaches and policies, the impact of the virus was significant across the globe. This article will explore COVID-19 in New York City, discussing the causes and response, as well as the impact of the virus.
Causes of the Outbreak
The outbreak of the virus was caused by a novel human coronavirus first identified in late 2019 in Wuhan, China. Experts believe the virus may have been circulating in China, undetected, for weeks before being officially identified. WHO investigators believe the virus likely originated from contact with animals in the wet markets of Wuhan and then spread quickly in densely populated areas.
The virus was then spread from person to person through contact, droplets from coughing, and surface-to-surface contact with infected surfaces. Human-to-human transmission was especially rampant in New York City, with its dense populations in center-city and the simultaneous failures of travel restrictions and social distancing protocols.
New York City’s Response
As COVID-19 began to spread around the world, New York City’s government scrambled to respond and protect their citizens.
In March of 2020, Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a state of emergency and implemented a number of policies to protect citizens. These included a closure of schools, non-essential businesses, restaurants, and bars. He also called for a suspension of public events, public transportation, in-person religious services, and curfew enforcement.
To a certain degree, the mayor’s plan worked. This was evidenced by a drastic decline in the cases reported in May and June, as compared to the high numbers reported in March and April.
Impact of the Outbreak
The impact of the outbreak on NYC was staggering. It caused an incredible amount of suffering, from the pain and death of those who were directly infected, to the economic devastation caused by the shutdowns.
Health Related Impact
COVID-19 has claimed the lives of over 250,000 people in the United States, and over 37,000 New Yorkers. It has created a massive strain on the health care system in New York City, where hospitals have been overwhelmed with patients and the need for ventilators and protective equipment has been critical.
The loss of those lives has been tremendous, and the effect has been felt across our city. It has disrupted families, left thousands of children grieving the loss of loved ones, and has put countless people in a state of despair due to the virus’s destructive capability.
The economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on New York City has been devastating. Small businesses have been hit especially hard, as economic shutdowns have caused their operations to be suspended for months.
The impact has been felt in other ways as well. Unemployment in NYC has skyrocketed, and the city’s financial situation has been thrown into turmoil. This has led to cuts in services, and a budget deficit projected to exceed 100 billion dollars if the crisis continues without federal assistance.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has had a profound effect on New York City. Though the virus caused tremendous pain and suffering, and its economic impact has yet to be fully grasped, New Yorkers have shown an incredible resilience and determination to fight the virus and get back to work and life.
It is the hope of many that through increased public safety protocols and medical treatments, the virus will be contained and the New Yorkers will be able to return to a sense of normalcy soon. Until then, we will continue to monitor the situation and hope for the best.