As of March 17th, there were at least 1374 confirmed cases of coronavirus in New York, with over 4000 cases across the US. After it had spread across 100 countries, The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic, which can be defined as “the worldwide spread of a new disease”.
While WHO is working to analyse data and provide advice to help countries prepare, governments, large organizations, small businesses and individuals are trying to understand what they need to do to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep people safe.
Roomi is dedicated to the health and well-being of our community and we’ve seen our fair share of false information and myths circulating online about coronavirus. To counterbalance these falsities, we’ve carried out our own research from reputable sources, to bring you 5 things you need to know during the NYC coronavirus pandemic.
1.NYC has declared a state of emergency
Mayor de Blasio has declared a state of emergency in New York City. In a press conference on March 12th, he predicted that the coronavirus “could easily be a 6-month crisis” and that he expected the number of cases to continue to rise.
The state of emergency declaration gives NYC the power to do things like establish curfews, ration supplies and order people off the streets where appropriate.
Despite his concern, he was adamant at the time that schools and public transport would not be affected, saying “we are going to fight tooth and nail” and “do our damnedest to keep the schools open”. De Blasio’s reasoning here was that kids need meals and parents need a place that can care for their children while they go to work.
One positive we can take from this outcome is that, while it is time to act, it may not be time to panic.
2. Gatherings of 500+ people have been banned
On March 12th, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that gatherings of more than 500 people will be banned until further notice. He also said that venues with a capacity of less than 500 will have to halve that number.
While exceptions to the rule will be made for hospitals, nursing homes and mass transit, the banning saw the closure of the city’s Broadway.
It will create an obvious shift in the day-to-day life we’re used to in NYC. Bars and restaurants will have to reduce the number of patrons they let through the door (with some closing their doors temporarily), concerts will be cancelled and tourists that visit us for our vibrant culture will be reduced for a while.
Last Sunday saw the closure of the city’s public school system, as well as the shutdown of tens of thousands of bars and restaurants.
3. The subway is still open
As panic rises and rumors continue to spread about the shut down of the city, Mayor de Blasio has expressed his desire for many things to continue running as normal. The subway is a primary focus here; Mr de Blasio sees public transit as the foundation of the local economy and a vital resource for working people.
On Thursday he said, “if it’s not coming from my mouth, don’t believe it.”
4. The NYPD has plans in place to protect New York’s residents
The New York Police Department is not only taking to Twitter to dispel myths, it’s also taking precautions and changing how it responds to emergencies and non-emergencies across the city. The department has been issued with guidance on how to deal with interactions with people showing signs of the virus, and more gloves, masks and hand sanitizer have been given out.
Union president Pat Lynch said in a statement: “No matter how this pandemic progresses, New York City police officers will remain on the front lines and will continue to carry out our duties protecting New Yorkers,” union president Pat Lynch said in a statement. “But we shouldn’t be forced to do so without adequate protection.”
As of Saturday, no NYPD officers have been confirmed to have contracted COVID-19. However, if the virus does begin to affect manpower, changes such as switches to 12-hour rotations will be put in place.
5. You can take steps to help slow the spread of COVID-19
It’s easy to adopt the mindset that, as an individual, your actions don’t have a significant impact on the outcome of this scenario. Protect yourself and others to stop the spread of coronavirus in NYC by taking precautions such as:
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
- Don’t touch your face with unwashed hands
- Don’t shake hands with others
- Monitor your health for cold and flu-like symptoms
- Stay at home if you feel any symptoms. If they don’t reside in 24-48 hours, tell your doctor
- Avoid unnecessary gatherings and travel
- If you feel sick, stay away from people with conditions like lung disease or weak immune systems
- Consider working from home if possible
- Avoid public transport if possible
- Practise social distancing
Keep yourself and your roomis up-to-date with the latest correct information by heading to nyc.gov/coronavirus.