New York City – While New York, Once at the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, strict social distancing rules were imposed on businesses, travelers outside the country and other groups to limit the spread of COVID-19, narrow metro cars in New York City It tells a different – and disturbing – story.
Pictures from inside some rush-hour subway trains last week showed passengers filling seats, while others were forced to stand uncomfortably close to them. The vast majority wore masks, but there was little to no social distancing in those cars.
Fox News saw express trains heading from both the Bronx and Brooklyn to Grand Central Station in Manhattan during the morning. Although the passengers were not completely crowded with people, the passengers did still stand side by side in some cases.
“Crowded conditions in the New York public transportation system have been one of the main factors causing their epidemic,” Dr. Marty McCurry, professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, told Fox News.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, often hit the airwaves to urge people to wear a mask and social distancing. On Monday, he called on the New York Police Department to enforce rules that enforce masks in public places. “It’s the law now – you walk down the street without a mask, you’re six feet away, and you’re being violated.”
Back in March, Governor B. Close nonessential business. The state, and especially New York City, has been slow to reopen compared to other areas; The city’s restaurants were allowed to open their doors for indoor dining only last week, with restrictions in place.
However, amid the lack of social distancing in some subway cars, Como’s office denied looking the other way; Metropolitan Transportation Authority [MTA], Which operates subways and commuter trains, is a government agency. Rich Azobardi, a senior adviser to Como, said comparing the subway to restaurants “is foolish and ignores modern science and history”.
The governor’s office also indicated that the underground trains were vital to many essential workers, and that passengers and staff were required to wear masks at all times. “As we saw across the country, it was the cramped, unmasked gatherings that drove the gatherings,” Azobardi said.
However, the state’s response did not acknowledge the apparent lack of social distancing. In fact, Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is also a Democrat, argued that the MTA would limit capacity in subways and buses last spring, but the state turned it down, claiming in part it could cause overcrowding at bus stations and train platforms, Wall Street Journal mentioned in June.
New York was baffled by the first wave of COVID-19 infections that struck the United States in March and April of this year.
Given the spread of the virus, which has infected 463,000 New Yorkers and killed more than 32,700, across the state, Cuomo ordered on March 20. Non-essential business To shut down and ask people in his state to stay at least six feet away from others.
These restrictions limited restaurants from eating until early June, when only outdoor seating is permitted. On September 30, restaurants were allowed to open their dining rooms at 25% capacity, but many owners say that will not be enough to keep their business going.
“We have been facing for the past six months and six months of rent, electricity, insurance and a lot of other things for which we couldn’t get a penny,” Joseph Smith, owner of Bobby Vans Steakhouses, told Maria Bartheromo of FOX Business last month.
“The same governor allows North New York to have 50%. The same governor allows the Hamptons to have 50%.” “Why is New York City, Manhattan, a victim and why aren’t we allowed 50%?”
While struggling business owners pleaded with the governor to ease restrictions, de Blasio moved over the weekend to close schools in nine city zip codes, citing a rise in cases. Cuomo agreed to the move on Monday; It is scheduled to go into effect Tuesday.
Non-essential businesses in those areas can stay open – for now, but further closures will put more pressure on the New York City economy which is already facing the prospect of more than a third of its restaurants disappearing.
The New York State Monitor last week warned up to 50% of New York City’s bars and restaurants It can be closed permanently Within the next six months due to restrictions. The closings mean a loss of up to $ 23 billion in taxable sales and 150,000 job losses that generate $ 10.7 billion in wages.
The loss of revenue could add to the financial pressure on New York City, and the subway system that was already struggling to pay for maintenance and modernization.
New York has asked Congress for $ 12 billion in emergency aid to cover MTA’s projected losses for 2020 and 2021, primarily due to lower prices, total revenue, and projected cuts in the earmarked taxes that fund the division. The public transportation agreement causes a total deficit of $ 16 billion over the next four years.
The ride rate is currently 32% from its pre-pandemic average of more than 4.3 million daily passengers. Riders are required to wear a mask, or face a $ 50 fine, but are only encouraged to follow social distancing measures as per guidelines set by the MTA.
However, the agency runs the cleaning process 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and also provides hand sanitizer and masks to passengers if needed.
The MTA directed Fox News to a study released last week for American Public Transportation Association Which did not find a direct relationship between public transportation use and the transmission of COVID-19.
However, this does not mean that no such link exists. Incomplete data collection, insufficient sample size or poor methodological design are all reasons the study might not show a correlation, according to McCurry.
May study suggested by American Enterprise Institute He noted that there was a strong relationship between public transportation and the climate and that population density was “clearly” the reason behind the severe damage to New York City.
In terms of what New York could do better, McCurry said poor city ventilation in subway cars and on platforms is a “recipe for superpowers.”
He said that having public transportation and an open economy with spacing and universal coverage is possible, referring to Asian countries where “mass disavowal is not a political argument, it is widely accepted.”