On November 18, New York City Mayor Beth Howe announced that more than 1.1 million students would be affected by the city’s new-crown positive rate, which has risen more than 3 percent over the past seven days. The policy will now last at least until after the Thanksgiving holiday at the end of November, when the government will decide whether to extend it.
As the outbreak worsens, the New York government says it is likely to issue more economic blockades soon, including a ban on indoor dining and the closure of gyms.
New York City has been closed for up to six months in the spring and summer, and the shift system began to gradually open on September 21.
The safe and smooth resumption of schools not only marks the return of thousands of affected families to life, but also means hope that the economy will gradually improve. The re-opening of schools will allow more parents to return to work, help boost the flagging economy and provide the necessary education and life support for thousands of disadvantaged students, many of them living off free food supplied by schools. Now, less than two months after the school’s re-opening, the re-opening will make New York City’s recovery more difficult and a blow to confidence that even the basic survival of students will be challenged again.
The move also means that previous efforts to re-open schools have been almost in vain. The government, New York school officials, teachers and parents of students have been in a scorching standoff since the summer over the timeline and specific ways in which schools will be re-opened, with teachers’ unions saying they would choose to strike if the school opened and more than half said they would not dare to send their children back to school if they did. Under pressure from all sides, the government has been delaying the start of school and has stipulated that schools will be closed again once the positive rate exceeds 3 per cent.
However, the New York City government does not seem to have a better choice.
Since the outbreak, New York City’s confirmed positive rate has stabilized below 1% since mid-June. However, against the backdrop of a full-scale outbreak in other parts of the United States and record daily national confirmed cases, New York is not alone. Nationwide, the positive rate as of November 18 has climbed from about 5 per cent in September to 12 per cent, with the average number of new cases per day over the past seven days exceeding 160,000.
(Current number of hospitalizations for new crown patients in the United States Chart Source: One Acre and Three Points)
Not only have new records been set for confirmed cases, but the renewed worsening of the current outbreak has also led to a surge in deaths and hospital admissions, both significantly above previous peaks.
The U.S. federal government has not implemented any restrictions on the movement of people, and New York State only requires out-of-state personnel to be quarantined for three days when they come to New York, and to show proof that the new coronavirus test results are negative. This does not effectively prevent the spread of the virus and is difficult to actually implement. As a result, the outbreak in New York deteriorated again entirely as expected.
As can be seen from the chart above, after a relatively stable four months of outbreaks in New York City, the number of new confirmed cases per day has started to surge since mid-November, almost doubling.
Whether the move will help control the outbreak remains controversial, despite the city’s announcement that schools will be closed immediately. Mark Levine, chairman of the New York City Health Board, said it was too late for the government to act despite the closure of schools, indoor dining and gyms remaining open and not even advocating for people to work from home as much as possible. Levine argues that the priority of closing indoor dining and gyms should be before closing schools.
The rest of the Country is in trouble compared to New York. California, Washington state, Michigan and Oregon have all announced bans on indoor dining, as well as other measures such as closing movie theaters and gyms. Chicago on Monday began a new home-segregation order.
Restaurants, gyms, cafes, hotels and places of worship are the main places where the virus is spreading, according to a November 10 study that tracked mobile phone data from 98 million Americans. The scientists involved in the study say restrictions on these public places in a short period of time can significantly control the spread of the epidemic , with the risk of contracting the new coronavirus increasing as people spend more time in public indoor spaces. The model recommends a 20 per cent space occupancy limit, which would reduce new infections by more than 80 per cent.
The impact on the economic recovery will be more pronounced than the closure of public schools, with restrictions on public places such as restaurants and gyms. These small and medium-sized enterprises provide about half of the U.S. employment, and employment is directly related to the U.S. consumer situation, providing the main driver of U.S. economic growth. As a result, the Government is extremely reluctant to pay a huge economic price again. Still, there is no other choice.