New York State currently has 92,381 coronavirus cases. It makes up nearly half of all cases in the entire country. Of those, 48,462 are in New York City proper. New York has more coronavirus cases than most countries in the world, to the point that other states are banning travel to and from New York.
Here in Florida, coronavirus tourists from New York brought the epidemic to resorts and vacation homes in droves. The state has had to physically set up checkpoints on the freeways to stop them from coming in. There was not a single coronavirus case in our county until the New Yorkers showed up, trying to flee their own state’s quarantine.
So what are the NYC media types trying to get trending on social media?
Let’s take a moment and ponder why the lockdowns in New York City have not done much to slow the spread of the virus.
In the South, people do not live on top of each other. It is possible for me to spend the next month without ever talking to another human being, because I have a house with a large yard surrounded by forests and a month’s worth of food in my pantry. There isn’t even pollution in my area. At night in the summer, I can see the Milky Way.
Your average apartment in New York City does not have a pantry. In fact, your average apartment in New York is probably smaller than my pantry. The flip-flops piled on the floor in my closet have more personal space than New Yorkers. New Yorkers have to go out into the world, and they have to be up in each other’s faces. To get out of their building, people need to ride in an elevator crammed with others. They pile into grocery stores. Telling them to stay inside decreases their contact with other people, but it hardly eliminates it. And that’s under ideal circumstances.
While New Yorkers gasp at heat maps of Southerners who are still driving over two miles a day (spoiler: your average grocery store in the South is more than two miles away from where most people live) that’s actually the detail here that keeps Southerners relatively safe. We aren’t up in each other’s business unless we choose to be. (Much like how Mardi Gras spread the illness in Louisiana and surrounding states.) It’s also 90 degrees here. I know journalists think this is a super-special cold virus that actually loves the heat, so let’s not spoil things for them and tell them what the biological purpose of a fever is.
And while the New York media likes to squawk about how “healthy” they are relative to the rest of the country, that’s not even remotely close to true. I’ve been to Manhattan, and it’s as full of fatsos as Atlanta. In fact, you are more likely to have access to fresh, healthy food in the South (even now) than you are in NYC. They live in a city that is full of air pollution, which in itself puts them more in line with China as far as being at risk for a respiratory illness.
There are millions of impoverished people in New York who do not have access to top health care. Paul Krugman doesn’t see them on his walks on the Upper West Side, but they are the reason New York had a Medicaid-driven multi-billion dollar budget gap before this crisis even started. And why DeBlasio is famous for putting up people in rat-infested public housing. And let’s not even get started on the homeless.
These are major, major issues when it comes to covering the spread of illness in the country and public health. The population density and economic inequality in New York City make it impossible for the city to respond effectively to an epidemic. It should be a public policy initiative to get people to move away from densely populated areas. For their physical health, for their mental health, and for the health of our environment. But that would involve folks pondering for a second that maybe their lifestyle isn’t as great as they like to think it is.