• Videos on social media show NYPD officers trying their best to enforce social distancing
  • New York is currently home to roughly half of the almost 70,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country
  • Emergency workers in New York are finding themselves short on supplies and employees as New York’s total cases surpass 30,000

The situation in New York is going from bad to worse as confirmed COVID-19 cases surpassed 30,000. New York alone currently accounts for almost half of the just under 70,000 confirmed cases in America. As the case count continues to skyrocket, New York Police Department officers are doing their best to enforce COVID-19 social distancing.

Two videos shared to social media show NYPD officers attempting to enforce social distancing from their vehicles in public. In one video an officer is heard over a speaker from his vehicle saying, “Don’t be selfish. Be considerate.” The officer is also heard saying, “That’s not six feet. It doesn’t matter, you’re in public. You need to be separated. Keep social distancing.”

A second video shows an NYPD vehicle driving down a street while reminding citizens to practice social distancing. “This is the New York City Police Department,” the officer is heard saying. “Due to the current health emergency members of the public are reminded to keep a safe distance of six feet from others while in public places to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Please help us keep you safe. Thank you for your cooperation.”

While some may say the NYPD is overreacting, others would disagree. On Tuesday, the office of the Chief Medical Examiner announced New York City’s plan to build a temporary morgue in response to the unexpected surge of deaths in the area. So far New York has experienced over 300 deaths in a very short period. While the majority of people that become infected with COVID-19 will not die, many will require a trip to the hospital, some of which will require intensive care. This leads to another problem that has raised serious concerns with medical experts.

The high influx of COVID-19 patients are slamming unprepared New York hospitals and stretching medical resources thin. A major complaint is the lack of ventilators needed for patients with more severe symptoms. The majority of the initial patients were said to be in the 70-plus age group, but for the past week, doctors are seeing more patients coming in under fifty. Experts are worried that New York is quickly becoming the next Italy. In Italy, doctors have been forced to ration care and give ventilators to the patients they believe have a higher likelihood of surviving.

Dr. Craig Spencer told CNN, “Last week when I went to work, we talked about the one or two patients amongst the dozens of others that might have been a Covid or coronavirus patient.” Spencer went on to say, “In my shift yesterday, nearly every single patient that I took care of was coronavirus, and many of them extremely severe. Many were put on breathing tubes. Many decompensated quite quickly.”

Meanwhile, the police are trying to keep the practice of social distancing enforced with a short staff and little to no personal protection equipment. Currently, there are at least 3,000 officers on sick leave, which is roughly 2,000 cases above normal. Despite growing numbers, New York State did not begin its stay at home order until Sunday, March 22. Other states facing similar but lesser case surges began near-lockdown restrictions in the previous days. Nearly seven million people were told to stay in their homes in San Francisco on March 17. California later placed the entire state on a stay at home order on March 20.

New York received its first case on March 2. A health care worker who had traveled to Iran and secluded herself seemed far from a threat at the time. Both Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo initially painted the first COVID-19 case as a dangerous but manageable threat to the city and went as far as to say the hospital system could handle it. They initially claimed the majority of New Yorkers were relatively low.

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