Experts Ponder Causes Of New York’s ‘Breathtaking’ Outbreak

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    A couple looks at the ABC News video screen showing coverage of a coronavirus outbreak in Woodbridge, N.J., Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in New York's Times Square. The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in New York climbed to 3,800, with close to 900 in intensive care, with the peak of the outbreak weeks away, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

    NEW YORK (AP) — How did the coronavirus outbreak get so bad in New York?

    It’s likely a combination of its size, how crowded it is, its international popularity and other factors.

    New York accounted for roughly half the U.S. cases, as of Wednesday. Federal officials say the rate of people being sickened is four to five times greater in New York than other parts of the country.

    “We have 10 times the problem that the next state has” when counting numbers of cases, said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, during a press briefing on Wednesday.

    “It really is breathtaking, when you think about it,” he added.

    Scientists expect the number of new infections, hospitalizations and deaths in the New York area to increase over the coming weeks. But they also believe that social distancing and staying inside are slowing the spread. It just may take time to see, because it can take days for an infected person to develop symptoms.

    It’s a bit like in astronomy, “when the light you are seeing from a star is in the past,” said Troy Tassier, an economist at Fordham University.

    Public health experts pointed to the size and density of the nation’s biggest city as a likely factor in its coronavirus caseload. Cuomo noted New York draws travelers from around the globe, including areas where outbreaks erupted earlier, like China and Italy.

    “I have no doubt that the virus was here much earlier than it was in any other state, because those people come here first,” he said. (If that’s true, no one realized it: The first reported case in the U.S. was in Washington state, weeks before New York’s.)

    Some also noted the state’s big push to test people – more than 12,000 on Monday alone, according to figures the governor’s office released Wednesday.

    Dr. Deborah Birx, who is coordinating the federal coronavirus response, on Tuesday suggested: “Part of it is the spread that may have happened on metal surfaces, like in the subway and people that were in the subway.”

    Whatever the reason, the size of the problem in New York is staggering.

    If it were its own country, New York state would rank fifth in the number of cases, after China, Italy, Spain and Germany and about tied with the rest of the U.S.

    The state has more than 30,000 cases and close to 300 deaths, most of them in New York City. Germany — with four times New York’s population — has just over 37,000 cases and more than 200 deaths.

    Aubree Gordon, an associate professor at University of Michigan’s school of public health, said restrictions on residents will work, eventually. “From the time that a measure is put into place, it will take at least a few weeks before we see an impact in the number of new daily cases,” Gordon said.

    But Gordon suggested New York would have made a bigger dent if it had acted earlier.

    Federal officials deserve more blame than New York leaders, argued Dr. Brian Strom, a disease researcher and the chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences.

    He alluded to conflicting messages by different federal leaders about how serious a threat the virus posed, not to mention other problems like delays in virus testing. That left localities to take action, “and unfortunately, that was on the late side and undercut” by federal messages, Strom said.

    It can be difficult to motivate government leaders and the public to take big steps against a disease before the problem hits threatening levels, said Dr. Mark Dworkin, who teaches about outbreak investigations at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

    “It’s very hard to get people to believe or trust that when the hospitals aren’t full and there’s very few cases,” he said. “You’re up against a lot to really make something happen early. You’re up against a lot of barriers to really doing something optimally.”

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    31 COMMENTS

    1. I know one thing that’s gonna happen after all this is over. Cuomo is going to force DeBozo to decentralize, especially Manhattan. Since most work nowadays is done thru computers, workers will be telecommuting from their homes and Manhattan will become more or less a ghost town. And because this is gonna cost NYC to lose a lot of money, (fewer tickets, fewer businesses, etc.), people are going to finally move out of the city and move elsewhere with the corresponding massive drop in real estate prices. I thought this was gonna happen after 9/11, but will almost certainly happen with this pandemic, unfortunately.

      • I don’t think so.

        If working from home is more efficient then economic production will go up. If we don’t need the offices for business they can be used for residential, hotels, and recreation thereby improving quality of life.

        All in all, rather than the doom and gloom you see, increased telecommuting is good for NYC.

        • Cuomo kept saying that the main reason why NYC had such high coronavirus numbers, is because of it’s very high density levels. This is why the numbers in Europe are so high as well. Again, with most work nowadays done thru computers, there is no real reason for companies to maintain centralized locations. As for converting office buildings to residential places and hotels, this is also not feasible since it just replaces office density with residential density. High density is the real problem and that’s what’s going to change significantly after this magaifeia passes, hopefully.

    2. confused- how will we ever get out of this mageifa without our shuls & yeshivos ? can it really be that torah & tefila cannot protect us ? i met an old yid this morning in a matzo bakery and i asked what are you doing here he answered me ” ich been greit tzu gein in fire far matzos”? for dorei doros we were moser nefesh for torah umitzvos
      i am home but i hope i’m doing the right thing,

      • HaKol biyidei shamayim chutz mitzinim upachin. You have a duty to obey the laws of nature and act rationally while praying and learning the best you can. Mesiras Nefesh and peshia are not the same thing.

      • Fools come in all ages. In the previous generations people were able to risk their own lives for Mitzvot. This elderly moron is putting not only his life at risk but also others. He won’t get reward for this. How sad that he sees himself as a saint like the ones that were risking “their” lives in previous generations.

      • So well said . Even during the Holocaust we put “ others “ lives at risk just to do Mitzvahs. This idea that we look at it purely hlacha is questionable

      • Calling people apikores is an halachic label. It therefore follows one who applies the label to others when not justified is “m’galeh panim b’torah sh’lo k’halcha” and would be Himself considered an apikores!! Since there is no way the Torah considers a person who doesn’t buy into your translation of events an apikores, it only follows that you are the apikores here.. to be fair though and “dan l’kaf z’chus” it’s clear that your obsession with the gays indicates that you are gay yourself and in denial, struggling to suppress those feelings (There were studies conducted in Europe on people who are overly concerned or occupied with the gay question and found a staggering amount of closet gays in the group) And that’s why you kick and scream like a bumbling fool about the matter… Take it easy, Heshy! We love you anyway. It’s ok to have gay feelings as long as you don’t act on it.. it’s ok.. shhh my child, it’s ok!

      • Heshy, it must be nice to “know” why Hashem does things. You really can’t stop obsessing over same gender marriage and pride parades – the reason why is pretty obvious!

        • Are you suggesting that Heshy has something in common with those Republican politicians and evangelicals who protest such proclivities and then get cauight engaging in the very activities they speak aghainst?

    3. Every web site, every post there is a Heshy with comments related to “gay” issues. Me thinks Heshy spends too much time on this one issue. If you can’t change the world just regroup and spend more time learning or helping old people, it’s called Chased.

    4. I would advise everyone that’s at this such as as elderly or an underlying illness just leave the tristate ASAP. The tristate area is the worse then about the whole country. Go to Israel or go to Oklahoma. I’m not a doctor so it maybe worth asking your Doctor first but it seems like new York is one of the worse places now. Of course it goes without saying that when you arrive at your new area you should follow the rules 100% so nobody can see were spreading it. If anyone reading this message has access to any influential people , PLEASE ask them to consider spreading this message. Hopefully this will save many lives.

    5. Running to Oklahoma won’t help because the entire country is getting punished for same gender marriage. You can’t escape Heavens wrath. Those that fight it like Noach will survive. It’s not enough to go to minyan to survive. You need to unite and outvote all politicians who are anti Torah.

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