Showing posts with label New York City. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New York City. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

COVID SIDE OF LIFE. Day 9: Covid Takes Gotham

Pandemic Log: Tuesday, 24th March 2020

A Panamanian friend sent me this cartoon. It has been circulating among her friends as the virus has started to tighten its grip on Panama; impacting young and old, healthy and infirm with impunity.

This cartoon felt appropriate for New York City, also known as Gotham, as we were informed yesterday by the White House task force that the New York region has now become ground zero for Covid-19 infections in the country.

According to the CDC, the infection or “attack rate” for folks living in the greater New York metro region is at one in 1,000 people, which is eight to ten times higher than the rate of infection anywhere else in the US; making New York the new global epicenter for the virus. 

Right after we finished watching the White House briefing, Murphy followed through with inimitable timing to cement his Law and explain why its has been around for centuries.

My wife’s friend who lives across the street, texted to tell us that her husband has symptoms and four people in their building tested positive. This simply put the exclamation mark on the fact that Covid was not only wandering freely through our neighborhoods but now actively knocking on doors on our street.

New York now accounts for 5% of all cases, worldwide. The total number of confirmed cases as of today stands at 23,000. The Governor believes that we have not yet seen the peak of this infection and that is likely to occur sometime between 15th April and 1st May. 

The good news is that these facts have made New York the cynosure of all eyes and aid nationally, and our state will get higher priority for everything from Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers, to much needed ventilators for high-risk patients. 

The army corps of engineers is hard at work turning The Javits Convention Center and other local venues into 1000 bed hospitals, which will be operational later this week. 

What can you do to help? STAY HOME. 

Especially, if you are older, or of any age with underlying health conditions, you must not leave your home under any conditions. For the rest of us, the more time we spend indoors, the less chance the virus has of spreading and infecting our friends and neighbours.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

COVID SIDE OF LIFE. Day 7: Sunday Bloody Sunday

Pandemic Log: Sunday, 22nd March 2020

Our first Sunday with New York on lock down did not feel slow or lazy but more like a surreal dream that for the moment feels never ending one.

At 9am our laundry lady was on the phone asking us to bring our clothes in because her boss decided to close the laundromat; starting that evening. They had remained open in the first days after the September 11th attacks, during the great Manhattan blackout and through the 2008 financial crisis but were defeated by an invisible an insidious virus. 

When I asked if someone had gotten sick, she said that was not the case and that all the employees had lobbied to remain open, but the owner was adamant that he did not want to risk anyone getting ill. 

Just last night millions of Manhattanites had breathed a collective sigh of relief, when the Governor issued an executive order stating that all non-essential businesses would be required to close, but classified laundromats as an essential service; allowing them to remain open along with hospitals, pharmacies, delis and grocery stores.

This is probably a hard thing for most people to get their head around but many people in this city, especially those who live in walk-ups and pre 1970’s buildings do not have a washing machine in their apartment or laundry services in their basement. 

Granted that running out of clean underwear might not be at the top of anyone’s concerns, but it does become an additional inconvenience for many of us who will now have to add hand washing clothes to our list of things to do.

Monday, March 16, 2020

COVID SIDE OF LIFE. Day 1: Job Today. Gone Tomorrow.

Pandemic Log: Monday, 16th March 2020

On Friday the 13th I was a contract employee at a global agency, finishing up a new business pitch. We had just been informed that everyone was being asked to work from home, starting that day.

That evening before I left the office I was told that I was being put on a new project. It was to start the following week. I ventured into the weekend grateful that my gig was being extended and that I would have a paycheque a while longer, during this uncertain and turbulent period.

Cut to Monday morning, I emailed my boss to discuss the new project and asked about my new contract. He suggested I speak with the HR head as they were responsible for sending my contract.

I contacted HR and they told me they would need to get final sign-off from the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and would then get the renewed contract back to me.

All good.

About twenty minutes later I got an email from the head of HR saying the CFO said that because numerous clients had cancelled or postponed ongoing projects, the company was suddenly stuck with excess staff capacity and would be unable to take on an external resource.

Not good.

The world was still pretty calm when I left the office on Friday evening.

Yes, people were preparing to work from home and getting used to a strange new normal, but as the weekend progressed things got dire.

The number of cases in New York State continued to rise. Panic started to set in among state and city  officials, as the Federal government woke up to the fact that they needed to deal with this crisis on a war footing. It could not be business as unusual.

The stock market crashed; again.

Oil prices plummeted; again.

States started mandating that all restaurants, cafes and bars close.

Gatherings of 500 people or less, allowed on Friday, became no more than 10 by Monday.

Primary elections in a number of states were postponed.

Lines at grocery stores continued to grow; even as their shelves continued to empty.

I had a gig on Friday. Everything changed the following Monday.