Slowly but surely, COVID-19 is growing once
again across New York City. The dreaded second
wave has arrived.
A vast number of cases have broken out on
Staten Island and in other clusters across the city.
The COVID-19 positivity rate is creeping back up toward
the 3 percent mark, a threshold which, if the
city crosses it soon, will likely prompt Mayor Bill de
Blasio to order public schools closed and shifted to
remote learning indefinitely.
The increase in cases prompted Governor Andrew
Cuomo to order all restaurants, bars and gyms
closed by 10 p.m. statewide to prevent people from
being out late and potentially spreading COVID-19.
The governor also declared, two weeks shy of
Thanksgiving, that all household gatherings be
capped at a 10-person maximum — though that mandate
is about as unenforceable and impractical as a
mandate could be.
We knew it was going to get worse in the fall.
Elected officials and health experts have all said as
much. The efforts the city and state took to beat back
the virus the first time was extraordinary — but so
very painful — in myriad ways.
For months, people complained about the measures
taken to limit the virus’s spread. We agree
that some of them, such as the ban on indoor dining
throughout the summer, went too far and too long.
People now bristle over the new regulations and
question what the government is doing to them. But
we’ve lost the plot if we think that government is the
sole problem here.
That mask-wearing has become a matter of politics,
not public safety, has helped spark new clusters
of outbreaks. Next to the virus itself, the rabid defiance
and carelessness among some over having to
wear a cloth over a face to protect other people has
been the most nauseating part of this entire pandemic.
State and city government can respond to this
tragedy and provide the physical needs to answer it.
Mandates and executive orders mean nothing if we
choose not to follow them.
So we all face our moment of decision here — not
as a city, but as a people.
Do we take responsibility for this crisis and each
other by masking up and socially distancing even
during the holidays? Or do we keep throwing caution
to the wind and put the entire city at risk of further
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The increase in cases prompted Governor Andrew Cuomo to order all restaurants, bars and gyms closed by 10 p.m.
statewide to prevent people from being out late and potentially spreading COVID-19.
Photo via Flickr/Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Offi ce