New epicentre of coronavirus, New York is far from a lockdown

Edited By: Sonal Gera WION Web Team
New York, New York, United States of America Published: Apr 02, 2020, 01.10 PM(IST)

Coronavirus in USA/New York Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence had earlier said domestic travel restrictions were an option to stop the spread of coronavirus, especially in "hot spots'' and areas where cases are out of control.

Over the past week, the United States has become the new epicentre of the global coronavirus pandemic. New York alone accounts for roughly a quarter of the 1,00,000 infections in the whole United States. And more than 500 people have now died of the virus here.

The impact of the pandemic is still not at its peak, and yet the medical facilities are at a breaking point.

The United States has also overtaken China as the country with the most infections in the world.

But, contrary to this, New York has not yet been put under a lockdown -- one of the major reasons why the infection rate grew exponentially.

New York is the most densely populated city in the US, with some 27,000 residents per square mile. A lockdown could have helped people practise precaution.

Domestic flights are still operational. US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence had earlier said domestic travel restrictions were an option to stop the spread of coronavirus, especially in "hot spots'' and areas where cases are out of control.

But they haven't announced any flight restrictions in New York or other states nor publically broached the subject recently, beyond reminding people they should avoid non-essential travel. 

As a result, flights in the US are resorting to their own shutdown, prompting Trump to say he was mulling a ban on domestic flights.

Trump said on Wednesday that his administration was considering halting some domestic flights and rail lines between coronavirus “hot spots,” or cities where COVID-19 has hit hard. 

“I am looking where flights are going into hot spots. Some of those flights I didn’t like from the beginning,” Trump said at a White House briefing on the pandemic.

“Closing up every single flight on every single airline, that’s a very, very, very rough decision. But we are thinking of hot spots, where you go from spot to spot, both hot.”

A national lockdown, however, looks like a far cry. When asked about the possibility, Trump said a national stay-at-home order wasn't needed because "you to give a little bit of flexibility" in states or regions where the coronavirus hasn't been as big a problem. He cited the Midwest and Alaska as examples.

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