A Look Back At The Rise Of The Pandemic In NYC In May 2020

NYC Lockdown New Yorkers

On May 6, 2020, New York City had the most coronavirus cases in the United State, with 326,659, according to The New York Times. NYC is an extremely cramped city, with 220,000 businesses and thousands of residents who live on top of each other. Now that we’re coming out of the pandemic (slowly but surely, thanks to testing, vaccines and boosters), I thought it was crazy to read this story I wrote when things took a turn with NYC Covid back when the lockdown started. It was an extreme time, and it’s interesting to take a look back at the rise of the pandemic in NYC in May 2020 when I wrote this post.

Take a look back at how, two months after Covid was declared a global pandemic in March, NYC reacted — and what I was feeling with NYC Covid

It’s not easy being a New Yorker during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown, and as much as I adhere to social distancing regulations, the fact I’m sardined into a city with 8 million residents makes it 8 million times harder. When I see people fail to social distance in other cities, and go out in protests, I see a heap of privilege.

Obviously, I chose to live in NYC, and I love it here, but I didn’t see the pandemic coming like anyone else, and now I know NYC (or any other heavily populated, compact city) isn’t great for pandemics! However, I see the NYC lockdown as something to learn and grow from.

Mask on at Laguardia
Mask on at Laguardia Airport in NYC

Americans have been in quarantine for almost two months know, and I know it’s tough, and it’s affecting us psychologically, but please, hang in there. You’re saving lives.

If you feel like you’re absolutely losing your mind, take a look at 7 ways the national lockdown can be more challenging for New Yorkers. A lot of friends and family have told me they know I have it rough, and I’ve mostly been silent on how rough it actually is. However, it’s been helpful to friends who live in more spacious homes in more spacious cities like Atlanta and Los Angeles, who realize they may not have it as bad. 

7 Ways NYC Lockdown is Challenging for New Yorkers

1. When you see photos of a deserted Times Square or The High Line or Central Park, you have to remember: NOBODY lives there. New Yorkers literally live on top of each other in neighborhoods like East Village and Chelsea and Upper East Side with thousands of other residents.

The likelihood of me leaving my apartment and not passing another body is non-existent. I’ve been filming various walks out, and I pass at least 120 people in a 45-minute walk, on the same sidewalk, right next to me (not from a distance), especially joggers.

People are going to leave their apartments to pick up groceries, to go to the pharmacy, to jog, to whatever. We can not hop in a car like many people in other cities to just get away! 

Lockdown NYC
East Village during coronavirus pandemic.

2. Like most New Yorkers, I live in a tiny apartment: 200 square feet to be exact. I don’t have a living room to go into, a backyard to sprawl out in. I literally have to push aside furniture to do cardio or lay out my yoga mat. It is not easy being in quarantine in a tiny space, and I’m sure I speak for all of New York City residents, but we make it work. 

3. I had to wait three weeks to get toilet paper, and I know some people who still can’t get it. NYC has been out of hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes for two months now, and don’t get me started on paper towels. We have to improvise or conserve what we can. 

4. My kitchen is about 4 feet long, and it’s in my living room. I have two burners, no oven. Like most New Yorkers, I’m not used to cooking all the time because we don’t have the luxury of space and amenities, so I ate out often, which isn’t a strong option these days. 

My Small NYC Kitchen
My “kitchen” in NYC!

5. In tiny spaces in NYC lockdown, our pets are just as stressed. They’re used to going on long walks and going to the park. When they’re stressed, it stresses us out, and vice versa. It is not easy being locked up inside while I have seen people on social media complain about having to social distance from their huge backyards or along long empty sidewalks. 

6. No, not everyone in New York City is smart about social distancing. I’d say about 30 percent of people on the streets, in the East Village, wear face masks, and its the same for many neighborhoods. Don’t believe me? Go to NextDoor.com. Go to Twitter. Go to Facebook. Residents are speaking up and getting tired of those who are not wearing face masks or social distancing.

Wearing a face mask, at this point, is a sign of respect, and some New Yorkers don’t get it, and those of us trying to be safe are the ones who are penalized. So, yes, we are at risk every time we leave our apartments. 

Cops East Village Lockdown NYC
Cops handing out face masks in East Village, NYC.

7. I live in a small building with only 20 residents, but that’s on the small side for NYC, where hundreds of people can live in a building. There are 4 residents on my floor, one of which has people come in and out of his apartment for some reason, and the other who delivers food every night (so there are random people on my floor many times a day).

We have an agreement to mop the floor daily, and wipe down doorknobs, but it’s just a daily stress we’d love to not live with during this time.

I bought a humidifier during Covid, and it’s the best thing I ever did because I LOVE it and use it every day. Check out the Levoit Humidifier on Amazon.

To paint you a picture of what lockdown is like with NYC Covid, I filmed a Youtube video with some clips of NYC during coronavirus lockdown below. Take a look.

How is your city doing during lockdown? Is it like NYC lockdown? Feel free to leave comments below.

*This story was originally published in May 2020

More stories during Covid-19 pandemic

Jogging is the new manspreading during coronavirus pandemic. 

13 U.S states have *not* ordered a lockdown yet. Take a look. 

New Harvard study shows when U.S. can end lockdown 

All coronavirus tracking reports have conflicting data. Which should you trust?

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