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Sunday, 19 April 2020

What happened here? Independent epidemiologists must do a deep dive into what made NYC the coronavirus epicenter

New York City stands out, tragically.
New York City stands out, tragically.(White House Handout)

Everyone on Earth (and maybe even beyond) knows that New York is a special place in a special country. The 8.6 million of us who make it our home are proud to live the most vibrant place on the planet.
But why has the coronavirus so brutally punished New York City and our suburbs with unparalleled misery and suffering and death? We have to find out, not just to learn what went wrong, but to prepare for next time. There must be an independent review of what caused our singular calamity.
We have the best doctors and nurses and hospitals anywhere on the planet, now valiantly battling the disease to save fellow New Yorkers. Our water and sanitation and health systems are the tops anywhere, or so we thought. So what caused the pandemic to hit here hardest, Asia and Europe included?
Is it our density, that we’re packed into crammed apartments in tight neighborhoods? Is it our subway, as MIT Prof. Dr. Dr. Jeff Harris (he’s an MD and economics Ph.D.), poses in the adjacent column, the city’s lifeblood but also, perhaps, a conveyor belt for pathogens?
Is it that the bug was here before the first official patient, the nurse who returned from a trip to Iran? If so, why didn’t the city Health Department flag any weird illnesses? Was it a failure to contact-trace early known cases?

Was it Gov. Cuomo’s and Mayor de Blasio’s hesitancy to demand aggressive social distancing in the critical early days? Was the call to shut down schools, which we agreed with at the time, fatefully late?

Maybe it’s all of these reasons or none of them. Let’s find out. Ignorance is risk.

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