05 April 2020
Bhubaneswar: The death toll surged past 8,400 by Saturday (GMT), as America’s caseload climbed to 3,11,616. The New York state alone recorded 113,704 positive cases -- 63,306 in New York City, where 2,624 have died -- just 6,000 short of hard-hit Italy's total number of cases. As the state’s health care system grapples to provide support, the severe shortage of facilities, including the ventilators looms large.
Coming back to numbers, about half of the cases come from the forever bustling New York; almost 10 times more than any other state. So, the question arises- How did New York become the epicentre of America’s coronavirus crisis?
Density & Population
Health experts said that answers are largely specific to the New York metropolitan area -- its density and population. The first and most obvious explanation for the severity of the area's outbreak is that New York is the largest and most densely populated city in the US and coronavirus tends to spread in dense places.
With over 8 million people, New York City is also the largest city in the country. So, New York's high number of coronavirus cases is also just a reflection of its size.
Another reason why New York has so many confirmed coronavirus cases is because it is looking for them. While US is being criticized for lagging in testing, New York has made a dedicated push to ramp up testing at hospitals, labs and drive-through centres specifically set up in the densest areas. With FDA approval, New York state authorized 28 public and private labs to begin testing for coronavirus on March 13, the first state to do so.
Even though New York state administrators for ramping up the testing facilities, they received severe flak for delaying the implementation of social distancing. New York state had its first case of community spread, but even then, the Governor and Mayor resisted disrupting life too much. Because the virus spreads exponentially, a delay of even a few days leads to major differences.
New York City is a world-renowned tourist destination and the most visited destination in the US. The state’s Governor had previously said that contagious people from countries that had earlier coronavirus outbreaks travelled to the city and spread the virus. Health experts believe that the virus had begun its contamination way before the officials became aware of it.
Sadly, experts stress that this is just the beginning. Though the state, including the city, has been under strict stay-at-home orders since Sunday, New York is not expected to reach its peak in coronavirus cases for at least another two weeks. The crisis is expected to worsen in the near future. And other states will witness similar surge soon.