This picture is the reason I worry about a rebound in the number of cases in NYC, and across the country as well.
My friend forwarded me this picture from a friend of hers who wanted to enjoy the warm Spring day yesterday. So he headed towards the Hudson River, wearing a mask, and prepared to socially distance.
But the moment he saw this, he went back home.
The same was true of Central Park yesterday. There were droves of people in the Park, most who were wearing masks, but many who were not. In the Park, there is more maneuverability so you can maintain the required 6 feet of separation, but it was an absolute pain. And there were many others who could care less if they did or not.
I saw an elderly woman, probably in her 70s, walking down a path. She was not wearing a mask. And the moment I got close, she stopped and asked me what direction I was going. When I stated I was continuing up the path past her, she became super anxious and said, "stay 6 feet away, stay 6 feet away!"
The absurdity of this interaction almost made me smirk.
If the goal of walking in the Park is to relax and enjoy the weather, but you are not able to because you are afraid of contracting COVID-19 from someone, and the park is relatively crowded, and you are at high-risk of complications if you contract it, and you make an active choice not to wear a mask, uhhhhhhh, WHY THE HECK ARE YOU OUT THEN??
Even my stay in the Park, taking full distancing precautions and wearing a mask, became too much of a chore. So my stay was much shorter than I intended.
I am worried about people becoming complacent during this period as the numbers decline and the weather begins to warm up.
Life at some of the hospitals is slowing down. Some people who were once reassigned to other departments, such as the ICU, are being sent back to the general operating room pool as the needs decline. On a very basic level, this all seems like a good thing. And do not get me wrong, it is.
But after seeing numerous protests across the country, including two nurses who stood in the middle of a busy street in Denver, Colorado, to block protesters who were railing against stay-at-home and social distancing measures, I have come to accept that people in the US, and many other countries, are inherently selfish.
And this has nothing to do with political leanings. Because actions speak louder than words, whether you are loudly protesting in groups without masks on or taking a quiet stroll in the Park in groups without masks on. The situations may be different, but they both yield similar dangers. And this is why I will continue to be concerned.
The world was not ready for this pandemic despite numerous warnings over the years, that much is obvious. Our country's death rate based on confirmed cases so far is over 5%. That is bad. The UK, Italy, and France are all around 13%. That is horrible. Yet Germany is "only" a little over 3%.
Using Germany as a comparison, I think they have a relatively low number of deaths compared to many other countries for the following reasons:
The citizens give a damn about one another, they respect their leaders, and their leaders took a unified, scientific approach and applied it across the country. We have none of the three.
Policies are dictated by science and expert consensus, deficiencies in knowledge acknowledged, and are then subsequently communicated in one unified, transparent voice. The respect and trust the citizens place in their leaders, specifically Angela Merkel, where they believe the policies implemented are rooted in hard science and are in place for the greater good, is something I so desperately wish we as a country could unify behind. But I do not see this ever happening in the US.
Even though our country is called the UNITED States of America. Which is sadly ironic.
Because I see very little unity in this America at all.