Dozens of people outside the bars drinking and chatting in groups, many without wearing a mask, thousands of people participating in the racial protests, while others enjoyed the good weather in the parks, without respecting social distance. That was the panorama that New York City experienced this weekend, which recently saw the confinement restrictions lifted and began the reopening of its economy, after a long quarantine.
However, this lack of social distancing and the fact that many people do not wear masks has worried experts and authorities, because they fear that they could increase infections.
In this sense, the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, threatened to reverse the plans for gradual deconfinement after people did not respect the protocols to combat the coronavirus.
“Lots of social distancing violations, street parties, restaurants and bars that ignore the laws,” the governor tweeted. “Let’s follow the law or there will be actions from the state,” Cuomo warned local authorities.
New York City, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, is in the first part of a four-phase reopening plan. Restaurants and bars may offer take-out and drinks, but not outdoor seating until the second phase, which is expected this month.
Under social distancing guidelines, gatherings must be limited to ten people. It is also illegal to drink alcohol in public places in New York.
The governor retweeted a video showing hundreds of people partying on a street in Manhattan’s East Village.
“It is disrespectful to essential health workers and workers who have sacrificed for a hundred days and even some of them have given their lives to squash this virus (and the disease) COVID,” said Cuomo. “They have given their life. It is a lack of respect not to have the courtesy, the decency, to wear a mask, “he said.
The coronavirus has killed nearly 31,000 people in New York state, according to Johns Hopkins University. At the height of the crisis, in early April, nearly 800 people died each day in the state. On Sunday, Cuomo reported that 23 residents in the state had died in the past 24 hours, a new low.
“This virus is not going to rest” until it infects about 60% to 70% of the population, said Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Diseases Research at the University of Minnesota, in an interview with the Fox News channel.
According to The New York Times, experts have estimated that without a vaccine, about 70% of the population will need to be infected and develop immunity to stop the spread of the virus. The current number of cases in the United States is over 2 million, less than 1% of the population based on the newspaper count.
On June 8, New York City celebrated 100 days since the first coronavirus case was detected and restrictions began to be lifted. Some 400,000 workers were expected to resume their jobs in sectors such as construction, agriculture, manufacturing, and wholesale sites. In turn, retail stores could offer the service for customers to collect their products in the same store.
In an effort to provide alternatives to using the subway, the newspaper noted, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city would install new bus lanes that would give priority to some of the most congested streets in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, and that it would be banned the circulation of cars.