If a pond were the shape of the United States and someone threw a handful of rocks into the water at the ten major cities reserving a huge boulder for New York City, the waves from the splash would trace the covid-19 pandemic in America.
The greatest wave of them all, which began with a giant splash into the New York/New Jersey area, became a tidal wave that worked its way through the suburbs of Westchester, Nassau, Suffolk, Monmouth, Connecticut, up towards New England and down towards Washington, D.C.
The numbers of new cases and deaths soar without abatement as a frightened public, now over two months sheltering-in-place, in many cases jobless, protests to be allowed to go back to something ‘normal.’ But there is no ‘normal’ left, nor might there be for some time to come. Some collective rage is in order. But today’s State Capitol semi-automatic stand-in protesters are just warming up. Much as people yell to be allowed to travel freely, there won’t be much travel far from home now.
“They’ll re-evaluate the importance of travel. They’ll revisit the need for face-to-face business meetings.”Frank Bruni, New York Times, May 3, 2020
Travellers young and old, for business or pleasure, are asking ‘Will I be safe from Covid-19?’ Knowing what we know now, short of an effective vaccine, to share an Uber, taxi, Lyft or taxi, to ride commuter and long-distance rail and bus lines, or taking ferries, or riding subways, or staying in hotels, purchasing airline tickets, renting a car, going to Disneyland, and taking a cruiseis of no use to us, not until people stop catching covid-19 while traveling.
“They’ll reassess their use of mass transit.”Frank Bruni, New York Times, May 3, 2020
Within NYC, subway usage declined by 93% during the stay-at-home. Ridership of those working from home or not working at all fell off immediately. Added to the numbers of people who are not shopping, not traveling, not visiting, not learning, not entertaining or being entertained and subway ridership hits all-time lows. Non-essential workers are not permitted to ride the subway in NYC. Breaking old habits can take an earthquake.
Covid-19 is an avalanche, flood, and earthquake all rolled into one. For many, there will be no going back. Economy is going to be important now.
*Laurie Garrett, NYTimes, May 3, 2020