COVID-19 Has Actually Put New York to Sleep
"The City that Never Sleeps" has fallen asleepby Ciprian Florea, on
New York City, the epicenter for the novel coronavirus in the United States, is in lockdown and citizens are asked to practice social distancing and stay indoors. As this video from Shifting Lanes shows, the streets of "The City That Never Sleeps" are now almost empty.
Although it’s not exactly safe to take to the streets, especially in New York, Hansen from Shifting Lanes took a Hyundai Veloster N for a drive in the city. It’s not a test drive or an act of unnecessary bravery, but a video made to show how New York has become almost deserted during lockdown. Aside from a few people on the sidewalk and the occasional car on the street, New York City is empty. A desolate picture showing what a pandemic can do.
Hansen mentions that it’s very difficult for a car enthusiast like him to stay inside, but stresses that he didn’t leave the car during his trip. And he also urges viewers to stay indoors during the pandemic, as recommended by the government and local authorities.
New York City is facing a serious crisis
The state of New York is by far the most affected by the COVID-19 outbreak with more than 30,000 cases confirmed as of March 25. New York City itself reported 15,597 cases, while Westchester has almost 4,000.
The death toll is moving close to 200 in the city and close to 300 in the entire region.
The outbreak prompted authorities to postpone the 2020 New York International Auto Show. Originally scheduled in April, the event will take place in August. Assuming that the pandemic will be stopped until then, that is. With the Jacob Javits Convention Center now empty and with no public events on the horizon, the state has announced that it will turn it into a field hospital.
According to New York governor Andrew Cuomo, FEMA will build four hospitals that will cover some 40,000 square feet inside the convention center. Each hospital will have a 250-bed capacity. A fifth hospital with 1,000 beds is being built by the Army Corps of Engineers.
Overall, the Jacob Javits Center will house at least 2,000 patients.
The state is also looking to set up temporary hospitals in Westchester County’s convention center and at two state university campuses on Long Island. They should be ready to operate in the first week of April.
These field hospitals are crucial in the fight against the pandemic as the massive number of patients threatens to overwhelm New York’s healthcare system.
Road traffic drops nationwide
New York isn’t the only city that’s gone from busy to really quiet in just a few days. As the novel coronavirus spread throughout the U.S., traffic dropped in most major cities.
According to INRIX, a Washington-based company that provides traffic-related analysis, traffic started to decrease on March 13, after more than two weeks of steady increase. The decline was relatively small at five percent on March 13, but traffic dropped by 18 percent on March 15 and 24 percent on March 15. Nationwide traffic eventual dropped by 30 percent on March 20.
In New York, one of the most affected areas by the pandemic, traffic dropped by 43 percent by March 20. San Francisco experienced an even bigger drop of 51 percent, while traffic in Seattle decreased by 29 percent.
Traffic will probably continue to drop until the lockdown passes and it may very well hit the dramatic figures seen in Italy, where the drop hit 65 percent compared to January. Satellite data also suggests that air pollution has cleared significantly in major Italian cities like Rome and Turin and we may see a similar phenomenon in the U.S. too.