On March 20, New York governor Andrew Cuomo ordered all workers in nonessential businesses in New York to stay home to combat the spread of coronavirus.
Coronavirus cases in the U.S. have gone from 151, when I did my first Youtube video on the virus, on March 7 to 35,179 on March 23. That’s over 35,000 cases in 2 weeks.
New York has the majority of those cases: 16,900, with 150 deaths to date.
So why aren’t New Yorkers taking it seriously?
If you follow me on Twitter (@realjimmyim), you’ll see I’ve mentioned some stupid things people I know or friends of friends in the city have been doing. One person met a guy on Grindr and they had sex. One person who has covid symptoms, including a fever, decided to go for a run in the park, potentially exposing himself to hundreds of people. And a couple in my building told me they went apartment hunting and saw an apartment yesterday.
In a time of uncertainty, when all medical experts unanimously encourage people to self quarantine, and government officials beg people stay home to stop this virus from spreading and killing thousands of people, many New Yorkers somewhat believe they are special or exempt. Why are they being irresponsible?
Who knows. I know people have the thought process of “I’m young” and “I probably won’t get too sick” but they are not thinking of people around them. I get frustrated because I genuinely care about everyone’s health and safety. When some New Yorkers do something as thoughtless and needless as actions I mentioned, I start to worry, especially since I am keeping up with 7 friends who currently have symptoms, in Los Angeles, New York City and Madrid, Spain. Maybe the reality hits me harder since I personally have friends who are experiencing symptoms. At the end of the day, I hope everyone I know will be smart and responsible during this time to keep their chances of getting covid to a minimum.
At this point, regarding my friends who have symptoms, all I can do is tell them to self quarantine and contact their doctors if their symptoms worsen.
Even if you do not have symptoms, you should still self quarantine. You could have the virus without knowing it for days. But it seems that not a lot of people agree with this fact, or choose to ignore it, so it’s important *everyone* self-educate on how to prevent spreading the virus.
That includes all New Yorkers.
You’ve likely seen photos of tourist spots in NYC, tourist spots that are now ghost towns, but that’s a matter of the photographer getting a great photo in that instant.
People are definitely out and about, mostly in the smaller neighborhoods, even here in the East Village.
Like many New Yorkers, I have a dog who needs to be taken out to use the bathroom. I have shortened her walks considerably, down to 10-15 minutes, and fortunately, I live across the street from Tompkins Square Park.
One thing I want to clarify: It is perfectly fine to walk on the street as long as you are social distancing and not in contact with anyone by minimum 6 feet. I make sure there is at least 20 feet distance to be safe. For instance, if I see a couple walking my direction on the street, I’ll cross over. I only go out once a day for 10-15 minutes to walk my dog. I do not touch anything and I avoid people.
I should point out that coronavirus can live on surfaces for days. So let’s say you go to the park and sit on a bench. Maybe someone who had previously been sitting there sneezed on that bench. You just increased your chances of getting it.
Please see this report in the New England Journal of Medicine, which states the virus can remain viable in the air for up to 3 hours, on copper for up to 4 hours, on cardboard up to 24 hours and on plastic and stainless steel up to 72 hours.
It is fine to be on the street alone but it is not OK to be in social settings or places where there are many people.
Each time I go to the park, this is what I see:
-Young guys playing basketball, at least 10 of them at a time.
This is clearly not social distancing.
Here’s a great report on whether you should participate in recreational sports right now, from the Globe & Mail, and the answer is no. In the end Greta Bauer, professor in the department of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario says: “Right now I would avoid all non-essential group activities beyond small groups. Every infection we can prevent now represents multiple infections prevented in the coming weeks.”
– Parents and their children on the playgrounds.
Why is this bad? The parents and kids are in a small space, definitely within 6 feet of each other, and touching surfaces where coronavirus can live for up to three days. It’s depressing and a little frustrating to see parents let their kids play on the playground, one of the fastest and easiest ways to spread covid.
“Discourage children and teens from gathering in public places while school is dismissed to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in the community,” states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
I spoke to a friend, who has a daughter with 3-year old son that she takes to the playground during the pandemic. She says it’s impossible to keep her kid busy and sane confined to a small space. Sure, that’s a great gripe, but not a challenge. Take your kid on a walk or to the riverside in nature.
– Many dog owners in the small dog park.
Taking your dog to a dog run in the park is not social distancing, nor is it smart. Your dog may be immune (for now) but you’re still in contact with other humans.
Also, I know there are a lot of reports that dogs cannot get co-vid. However, as information on the co-vid develops, all dog owners should continue to read reports because there is a lot if misinformation circulating online.
Not only did that *one* dog with “weak” positive co-vid symptoms in Hong Kong die last week, another dog just tested positive. We do *not* have enough information on how this virus spreads from dogs to people, so please be safe.
According to the Dog People by Rover, going to the dog park “might not be a great idea right now.” But daily walks are advisable—both for your dog’s activity level and your own.
– The person I know who has covid symptoms and went for a run in the park.
Let’s say you have the flu. Will you really decide to go out of your apartment and expose yourself to hundreds of people? It’s incredibly irresponsible. You must self isolate. Even if you believe you will not get in contact with someone, you run the risk of touching a surface or coughing or being in contact with someone who sneezes right next to you.
Remember, when you return from your jog, you still have to open the door to get into your building, so that’s a surface you touch, as well as your door, which is already leaving coronavirus in parts of places outside your self quarantine. If you cough in an elevator, that’s another place you leave it, as it can stay in air for a while.
Be responsible now. If you do not have covid symptoms, it is fine to go for a jog, as outdoor exercise is allowed during this time, but continue to practice social distancing.
People in my building going to see an apartment.
Their lease is up in May, so they decided to go apartment hunt yesterday. I understand the uncertainty of the time, but it doesn’t mean anyone is invincible and incapable of spreading the virus.
Remember, restaurants and businesses are closed, and entire cities are on lockdown, for a reason. No one should think they’re special right now.
Please remember to social distance.
Why is the coronavirus so contagious?
Listen to Dr. Daniel Pastula, who has worked on epidemics around the world, as he spoke to UC Health. What makes the new coronavirus so dangerous to humans is simply that it’s “novel,” meaning it’s new to humans, so we don’t have any way to fight it.
“This is the first time it’s ever circulated in humans,” Pastula said.
“The virus isn’t more powerful, per se, than other viruses. But when it enters the human body, we have no pre-existing defenses since our bodies don’t immediately recognize it as a dangerous intruder. Imagine an old, walled medieval town. If this virus were a disguised attacker arriving at the town’s protective walls, but open gates, the guards would not immediately know to be suspicious. With this coronavirus, it’s as if the guardians of our cells have kept the gates open and let the coronavirus in without immediately recognizing its danger.”
Everyone, please continue to social distance and quarantine, and I thank those who are taking this seriously.
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