How New York City Became The Epicenter Of The Coronavirus Pandemic

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Commuters wear facials mask for protection against the coronavirus as they ride the M train, Friday, April 10, 2020, in New York. (Mary Altaffer/AP Photo)
Commuters wear facials mask for protection against the coronavirus as they ride the M train, Friday, April 10, 2020, in New York. (Mary Altaffer/AP Photo)

To hear the radio diary about the bar-turned-grocery store selling items to New Yorkers in need, click here.

New York City's battle with COVID-19: full morgues, empty streets and a lot of questions about how and why the virus hit so hard and fast. We’ll look back at the trajectory of the disease, how the city and state responded and what lessons can be gleaned for other cities facing outbreaks.


Anna Silman, senior writer at New York Magazine. Since the epidemic struck New York, she’s been writing a series called "Diary of a Hospital." (@annaesilman)

Errol Louis, political anchor at NY1 News. Host of NY1’s "Inside City Hall." (@errollouis)

Dr. Bruce Farber, chief of infectious diseases for the Northwell Health hospital system.

From The Reading List

New York Magazine: "Diary of a Hospital: Losing Hope in the ICU" — "Today wasn’t a great day. We did the best we could. It just went on and on. A lot of people just dying in front of us. Due to the nature of the crisis, there are so many sick patients overwhelming the staff. It’s very difficult to get everyone into the ICU in a timely manner. We’ve tried to deploy other physicians and medical personnel to help manage the critical-care patients on the floor, but nonetheless it’s very overwhelming."

NY1: "Bronx Doctor Speaks Out About Fight Against Coronavirus" — "Dr. Bobby Chiong, the chairman of the Department of Radiology at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx, joined Errol Louis to talk about the high rate of coronavirus cases in the borough, and his experience fighting the virus on the front lines."

New York Times: "How Delays and Unheeded Warnings Hindered New York's Virus Fight" — "A 39-year-old woman took Flight 701 from Doha, Qatar, to John F. Kennedy International Airport in late February, the final leg of her trip home to New York City from Iran.

"A week later, on March 1, she tested positive for the coronavirus, the first confirmed case in New York City of an outbreak that had already devastated China and parts of Europe. The next day, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, appearing with Mayor Bill de Blasio at a news conference, promised that health investigators would track down every person on the woman’s flight. But no one did."

Politico: "Cuomo asks Congress to stabilize Covid-19 response" -- "Gov. Andrew Cuomo renewed his call for federal action to help New York during the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday, arguing that congressional aid, including enhanced Medicaid funding, has fallen woefully short."

New York Daily News: "CARIBBEAT: COVID-19′s fatal connect with Caribbean- and African-Americans in the city" — "In recent weeks, city Public Advocate Jumaane Williams has had several solo performances — repeatedly asking New York City officials to release COVID-19 data by race."

New York Times: "Cuomo and De Blasio Continue to Spar Over Closing Schools: Live Updates" — "The N.Y.C. mayor has said that city schools will be closed through the end of the school year. The governor insists that it’s his decision."

This program aired on April 13, 2020.


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Meghna Chakrabarti Host, On Point
Meghna Chakrabarti is the host of On Point.


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Stefano Kotsonis Senior Producer, On Point
Stefano Kotsonis is a senior producer for WBUR's On Point.



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