On Monday, New York governor Andrew Cuomo banned gatherings of more than 50 people in the state, his most drastic measure to stop the rapid spread of the coronavirus. The White House, in a move that finally seemed to acknowledge the gravity of the outbreak, was even more aggressive, telling people to avoid gatherings of ten or more.
Some people in New York City appear to be listening — and they should. New York City’s 814 confirmed cases of COVID-19 ranks higher than every state in the union except for the one in which it’s located. On Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio told city residents to prepare for a “shelter in place order.”
The most obvious sign of the extreme social distancing taking place in New York City are the tumbleweeds blowing through its typically crowded tourist attractions and commuter hubs. From Times Square to the World Trade Center, some of the city’s most crowded places are suddenly ghost towns. New York City today looks like Wuhan, China, five weeks ago.