5 Lessons We Can Learn From COVID

In March of 2020, COVID entered our lives and unleashed a world of uncertainty. Like the morning of 9/11 or the assassination of John F. Kennedy, we will all likely remember exactly what it felt like, and where we were, when a virus forced us into our homes indefinitely.

The events that followed would unfold much like a tsunami– a single catastrophic blow followed by a series of precarious waves. Government orders became a life raft without a paddle, keeping us afloat with expectations but without real direction. Soon, days blurred into a single hourglass as we watched our time evaporate. And with it went our jobs, lives, comfort, stability, and maskless faces. We’d no longer be the same because nothing was the same.

But there’s hope. We have vaccines, businesses are reopening, travel bans are lifted, and loved ones can gather once again. Our tomorrows are more promising than our yesterdays. So, now that the worst part is behind us (fingers crossed) what have we learned? What will we take away from it all?

Here are 5 lessons I learned from COVID:

How to be an Optimist

1. How To Be an Optimist

The saying, “someone always has it worse,” carried me through the worst of times. When my family got sick, when I lost loved ones, when my company dissolved, when everything I knew turned upside down, I acknowledged that I was still more fortunate than others. Those who lost so much more.

COVID-19 taught me that in changing my perspective my mindset would shift as well. Every moment became an opportunity to be grateful for what I did have. I learned how to accept the growing pains by turning negatives into positives and literally counted my blessings every morning. It wasn’t easy. Days would go by and I’d accomplish nothing, except the ability to say I was fine. For months the mere concept of staying happy and healthy saved my sanity, because I didn’t allow myself to fall into despair. I was sad, I was struggling, but I knew I still had tomorrow.

Being an optimist amid chaos didn’t mean things weren’t wrong, or that I wasn’t sad. It meant I could overcome the situation because I was hopeful for the future.

2. To Take Advantage of Today

Tomorrow takes on a different meaning after being locked down or closed out. When real life turned into Groundhog Day, only without the benefit of Bill Murray, every day became a lost opportunity. The gym session I postponed, the grocery shopping I put off, the people I forgot to call, the prolonged ‘we should get together sometime,’ they no longer existed as part of a hypothetical timeline. Tomorrow was stolen and my brand new 2020 planner became a relic of a pre-pandemic world.

In the days, weeks, and months that followed, as time blended together, COVID-19 taught me to take advantage of the day ahead. When nothing is guaranteed, not even toilet paper, following through on even the simplest task becomes a foundation for the future.

3. That We’re All Part of a Global Community

The onset of the pandemic was marked, in my mind, by two defining moments. The first, when I assumed a sickness in China wouldn’t make its way to New York. The other, watching videos of Italians in lock down singing from their balcony. One instance elicited fear while the other inspired hope, and that would come to define my year ahead. A year where death tolls made headlines and reports of heroism turned pages.

Between international flights and the internet, our world is more connected than ever. When an outbreak in China made its way across the globe, in a matter of weeks, ‘halfway around the world’ quickly ended up in our own backyards. But, unlike the Spanish flu, thanks to technology, the pandemic of 2020 connected us. We had TikTok trends, video calls, Netflix ‘Top 10s,’ baby Yoda, and the ability to see, in real time, how the rest of the world was responding. Some of us doom scrolled while others searched for hope in a haystack. It all proved that we are linked, in some way, shape, or form.

COVID-19 taught me that, and it created a sense of togetherness in the most isolating of times. Every single person on the planet experienced the same thing, a notion that is concurrently heartbreaking and freeing.

4. Copywriting as a Skill

When the newspaper I worked for dissolved, along with the entire life I built around it, I felt displaced. I didn’t just lose a job, I lost a family, a home, an entire community and, along with it, financial security. The economic tole of the pandemic was inescapable and I was caught in the wake. Companies were downsizing, office spaces rendered useless. With nowhere to turn, or so I thought, I searched for a way to make money independently. That’s when I tapped into copywriting.

Once the world went virtual, content became currency. No one passed by traditional ads anymore or met in person, which meant that digital storytelling could make or break a business. People were going online for everything– from workout videos to product purchases. In an ‘aha’ moment, I knew my decade long career as a journalist would benefit those that solely relied on the internet for their livelihoods. I could edit, write, proofread, and create countless forms of content for others because I made a living doing just that. The only difference was I’d be doing it for the business directly, not a publication.

COVID-19 taught me that I had a lucrative, transferable skill– writing. Prior to the pandemic, I never considered copywriting. But in a sink-or-swim situation, it revealed a new horizon of possibilities. As I began to take on clients for projects, I built a side-businesses. It awarded me some financial relief, both physically and emotionally, while also providing me with a purpose again.

5. What I Really Need

With nowhere to go and nothing to do, I questioned what I wanted most. In the beginning it was Amazon. Without travel, without events, without a social life, I wanted something to look forward to and tracking packages became a hobby. But, with fluctuating income, the joy of opening boxes quickly dissolved into guilt and I was forced to find happiness elsewhere.

When the familiarity of the outside world faded, physical desires dwindled and external comforts like events, food, working out, or even shopping, no longer satisfied me because they no longer existed. At the time, I lived at my childhood home, after a tumultuous setback only a few months prior. As isolation continued, I ached for personal freedom and solace. I took to the outdoors on weekends– walks on the beach, hikes in the Hudson Valley– and quickly discovered that what I really needed was to reconnect with myself. So, I did just that. I got my own apartment, started a daily walk routine, read more, cooked more, and got involved with more non-profit work. COVID-19 taught me that as my distractions waned I attracted more of the life I truly needed, and wanted.

Take The Good, Leave The Bad

In the months, and even years, ahead we will rebuild from the wreckage of COVID– the political unrest, mourning our deceased, financial impact, addressing our mental health. But through a worldwide restoration comes personal reflection, an opportunity to learn from what was lost. In taking something positive from an unarguably difficult situation we can come out of it with understanding. Maybe it’s blind optimism, or perhaps it’s just hope.

I’d like to acknowledge that COVID-19 impacted everyone differently. My heart goes out to all of those suffering right now. You are not alone. If you need assistance please comment below and I will refer you to an organization that can help.

COVID-19 PTSD Is Inevitable

As COVID-19 cases begin to surge across the country, again, questions surrounding when life will truly return to normal rise along with it. And yet, our current plight is anything but a mystery. Did we really think we had this thing beat in less than four months? Was reopening such a good idea?

As New York State’s numbers, once the epicenter of the pandemic, continue to decline the only thing that everyone (well, almost everyone) can agree on is that, no matter where you are, this is still far from over. In addition to the virus itself, according to the American Psychological Association COVID-19 aggravates existing mental health problems while potentially onsetting new symptoms– symptoms that can outlast the virus.

There is a universal trauma happening.

It’s been well documented that trauma occurs from war, oppression, natural disasters, and individual experiences. The current pandemic is no different, except it is a “mass trauma” filled with “anticipatory anxiety” on a worldwide scale. Without a cure or vaccine, society collectively wonders– will it come back? Is it safe to reopen? As more people file for unemployment and businesses continue to shut their doors, physical recovery is compounded with an eye on financial recovery. These anxieties are known as “peritraumatic”, occurring around the time of trauma in the form of intrusive thoughts.

Jessica Corea, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, explained, “The world is experiencing a unifying trauma of loss and uncertainty. Patients are facing anxiety, depression, and financial stress all at the same time while trying to adapt to a new normal.” Even when the pandemic itself passes, it is sure to leave mass emotional destruction in its wake in the form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a classified mental disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Like any radical shift, the traumatic effects can go on for years.

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder can happen to anyone.

“Previous epidemic studies report high prevalence rates among people exposed to the trauma resulted from an infectious disease epidemic,” the National Center for Biotechnology Information reported on June 5, 2020. Just like SARS, MERS, and HIV/AIDS, COVID-19 survivors are most at risk for PTSD, followed by family members who directly witnessed a loved one suffer or die, medical workers, and the general public. Further, the psychological trauma was categorized into three groups. First, directly experiencing the symptoms. Next, witnessing those who struggled. And third, experiencing a “realistic or unrealistic fear of infection, social isolation, exclusion, and stigmatization.” Essentially, like the virus itself, everyone is at risk.

“There is now a new normal that may be with us for a long time. Just as 911 impacted our lives in many ways so has this pandemic. I would certainly call this a traumatic event that has impacted everyone,” noted Elissa Smilowitz, Director of Triage and Emergency at North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center on Long Island.

Health experts across the globe are now preparing to treat patients with COVID-19 PTSD. Except the underlying issue is that PTSD symptoms don’t begin to develop until weeks or months after a traumatic event, and we are still in the middle of the pandemic itself. So, when does peritraumatic end and posttraumatic begin?

Medical News Today explains the four symptom types of PTSD are reexperiencing trauma, avoiding situations, negative changes in perception, and hyperarousal, in the forms of nightmares or flashbacks. Michigan Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry also reported, “PTSD is also associated with exaggerated activity in the brain networks associated with processing threat-detection and negative emotional responses.”

Reopening is contributing to a societal anxiety.

As cities across America roll back reopening, the response to COVID-19 is still being tackled on a state by state level. New York recently put gyms and malls on an indefinite pause while its New Jersey neighbor halted indoor dining. Meanwhile, in a reversal of events, New Jersey greeted shoppers at the local malls as Long Islanders enjoyed indoor dining at 50% capacity. In addition, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut are now mandating a 14-day quarantine period for anyone traveling from 16 states– that’s double the amount originally reported only a week ago.

“The pandemic has really caused mental health struggles that I’ve never experienced. After postponing my wedding twice and losing two grandparents to COVID, all in less than a month, it feels strange that the world is trying to go back to normal so fast,” Long Island native Melissa Navon expressed of her personal struggles. “Nothing feels normal for me and the threat isn’t over yet. It’s difficult to explain how that feels to others who haven’t been personally affected. Many young people don’t think they need to wear masks. What they don’t understand, for some reason, is wearing a mask will protect those at risk. People like my grandparents might have survived this pandemic if everyone took the proper precautions.”

With no sense of stability or continuity mindsets are becoming increasingly fragile. After months of self-isolation reopening became a source of hope. The phases were planned, something to look forward to. Smilowitz said, “Some families are recognizing that the reopening is a good sign. However they are still anxious about whether these safety protocols will be enough.”

Focus on what you can control.

Beyond wondering how to behave there is continued concern over others behavior as well, as mask shaming trumps even political agendas. But the longer the pandemic goes on the less secure it all feels. Society is losing trust with its government and health officials, as new information spreads on a daily basis. Without a sense of guidance the internal battle to feel some sort of normalcy is lost.

Corea explained that early in the pandemic “patients were experiencing guilt for small aspects of joy” while others were suffering. Throughout, it has remained important for individuals to find balance and process fluctuating feelings. “It can shift within minutes given the current circumstances. Patients are encouraged to prioritize self-care and avoid running themselves down so they can be fully present, even if that means making a difficult decision to say no to others and setting more boundaries.”

Unlike scenarios of the past, isolation has been a key factor of the pandemic making traditional stress management unattainable. Something as simple as seeing loved ones can onset anxiety. But there are ways to cope.

“These thoughts don’t serve you. Live in the present, do not dwell. Having some control in your environment helps you feel more grounded and less anxious. Go slow, maybe just do one thing you would like to do and see how it feels,” advised Smilowitz.

How will we navigate PTSD in a post COVID world is yet to be seen, but experts across the board agree that for a large percentage of humanity it is inevitable. For a comprehensive list of ways to get ahead of COVID-19 PTSD, visit the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs National Center For PTSD.

Hamptons Gala Season Gone?

The Hamptons has a world-wide reputation for being a location of means. On the outside, it’s seen as a place of luxury homes and fancy parties, lined by beautiful beaches and noted celebrities. But those on the inside know that part of what makes the Hamptons truly special is its philanthropic community.

For decades, Memorial Day weekend has meant the kick-off to roaring summer nights spent gala hopping or cheering former presidents and Hall of Famers from the bleachers at the Artists and Writers Softball Game. Each event raises funds for a charitable cause, some local, some national, sprinkling in the magic of the season and an influx of tourism. As COVID-19 devastates the East End, perhaps one of the hardest felt hits in its wake will be the reality of a socially distant summer. Gala season has been canceled.

“We are still on and eager to do our part for our charities. We’re holding out hope that we’ll be able to gather in one way or another. This is the worst rain delay I’ve ever sat through,” said Benito Vila, president of the Artists and Writers Softball Game.

The famed AW Softball Game is typically held at the end of August, distributing funds to several charities. While outdoor sporting events are still up in the air, many nonprofits have been forced to cancel.

“What we will miss most is the chance for our animals and supporters to come together at our events,” said Scott Howe, executive director and CEO of Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons. “There is always such joy at ARF events. Having our animals there makes our mission tangible to people, and they allow us to thank our community in person. That personal connection is what I will personally miss, but we are already making plans to communicate in new ways while, at the same time, our work continues and evolves to help people and their pets impacted by COVID-19 and all the ways it has changed our lives.”

Elka Rifkin, director of The Watermill Center noted that it’s closed for the foreseeable future. “It is our great hope to re-open as soon as possible to continue to provide time and space for international, national, and local artists to create new work. We are grateful to those who have helped to support us in the past and during this difficult time.” Other canceled events include the Sag Harbor Historical Society gala, Breast Cancer Research Fund Paddle for Pink, and The Surfrider Foundation’s One Ocean Montauk benefit.

Zooming Into The Season

Some organizations are making adjustments rather than pulling the plug entirely. For example, The Surfrider Foundation is taking a unique approach to its 18th Annual Surf Movie Night, typically held at Guild Hall, by considering a potential drive-in movie experience. Others have decided to go completely virtual.

“We decided to pivot very early from an in-person event to a virtual event because we are truly an essential service. Canceling was not an option, as we are still providing all services to victims of domestic violence and have no choice but to raise money to help our clients continue their path toward healing,” said Ellie Kurrus, vice president of the board of directors at The Retreat. She is also the event chair for The Retreat’s All Against Abuse gala. This year, the gala will open up bidding on Friday, June 12, at 12 PM and it will remain open until 5 PM on Monday, June 22. On Saturday, June 13, at 6 PM will be the special Zoom Cocktail Party where bidding will be allowed on premier auction items.

Loretta Davis, The Retreat’s executive director, said of the organization’s largest fundraising event, “We are so excited to share this incredible experience with our guests. This is a new frontier for The Retreat and we have beautifully enhanced the journey. For the first time, access to the gala will be open to people across the nation. We have some superstar guests who will share their experience with The Retreat and some awesome auction items.” Guests are welcome to party in their pajamas, but gala attire and champagne glasses are encouraged.

The American Heart Association’s annual Hamptons Heart Ball will also be held through Zoom on Saturday, June 20.

“Through the Hamptons Heart Ball, we have been able to raise funds to further research and education here on Long Island. Of course, there will be a different feel to the event not having it in person,” said event chair Cristina Civetta. “The details really mirror the program portion of how we do our live event. All of our honorees, speakers, emcees, survivors and event chair will all be dressed in their best Hamptons chic and will provide you with a captivating evening that will encompass the mission of the American Heart Association. We are so excited to be having a live auction that evening also.”

A Means For Survival

For the vast majority of nonprofits, the summer galas are more than a reason to celebrate — they’re a means for survival. “The Parrish acted swiftly on modifications to the schedule of several events,” said Susan Galardi, communications director for the Parrish Art Museum. The nonprofit adapted quickly to its digital platform with online programming. While the Summer Family Party remains on schedule for its August date, the highly popular Midsummer Party and Late-Night Party, the museum’s most important fundraiser, has been canceled for July, and it has not been rescheduled at this time. “Despite the achievements in continuing to serve the community, the museum’s closure has led to a 75 to 80-percent reduction in resources, both staff and revenue,” Galardi added.

Diana Aceti, director of development at South Fork Natural History Museum, noted the museum’s gala, which celebrated 30 years last July, raises two thirds of the organization’s operating budget. “It is extremely important to raise necessary funds for environmental programs, initiatives, and operational costs.” At present, the annual SoFo gala is scheduled in-person for August 15 with social distancing adjustments in place, but Aceti acknowledged the possibility of having to go digital. “If we host an event online, we will include special surprise guests and other special surprises so that guests can enjoy a dinner, drinks, and a concert. We are brainstorming ideas daily,” she said.

The option to go to digital is giving The Ellen Hermanson Foundation a chance it otherwise may have lost — an opportunity to celebrate 25 years. “Twenty-five years is a big achievement and we do not want to let this pass without acknowledging that this is a very big deal for us. We know it is disappointing to have to cancel our in-person fundraiser, but we are confident that we will be able to create a fun, creative, and interactive event while bringing in much needed funds for The Ellen Hermanson Foundation,” Julie Ratner, president of The Ellen Hermanson Foundation said of both the summer gala and Ellen’s Run.

“We are grateful for all the professional, courageous, and compassionate heroes who keep us safe while combating COVID-19 on the front line and we are proud to be part of our strong caring and resilient community pulling together to face this challenge with love and support for each other,” added Ratner.

Stony Brook Southampton Hospital’s annual summer benefit is scheduled for August 1. Barbara-Jo Howard, the hospital’s director of communications and marketing will share news about the gala soon. However, she announced, “Later this year we look forward to beginning the largest campaign in our history; a campaign to build a new state-of-the-art community hospital. With lessons learned from the COVID-19 environment, this will undoubtedly be among the first post-pandemic new hospitals in our nation.”

Tom Dunn, executive director at Southampton Arts Center, said SummerFest is still in development, “We’re thinking about alternatives, maybe a smaller gathering and some other ways to come together safely as a community.” An announcement is coming in the next few weeks.

Looking At Other Options

The Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation is looking into other options for its annual Hamptons Happening fundraiser. “To date, the Hamptons Happening raised more than $5 million for the SWCRF and its innovative research that is uncovering why cancer develops and how to treat and prevent the disease that affects 1.8 million Americans annually,” Samuel Waxman, M.D., founder and CEO, Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation said of the event that has been held for 15 consecutive years.

“This year, the SWCRF is working hard to create an exciting event that will observe social-distancing measures while bringing the community together. It is grateful to the many chefs, restaurants, wineries, distillers, and fine food purveyors for generously donating their specialties each year, and stands by these businesses and everyone affected by COVID-19 during this difficult time,” added Waxman.

The LongHouse Reserve’s summer gala, themed “Exotica,” has been pushed back “until the first possible moment when it’s safe to have it.” Dianne Benson, LongHouse board chair informed that a silent art and design auction will be available in July, “with a portion of the proceeds shared for the first time with participating artists” who have been hit noticeably hard by the pandemic. Other events pushed back to September include the Southampton Cultural Center’s 5th Annual Wine and Roses Gala and Southampton Historical Society’s 11th annual Insider’s View.

Some groups have made the difficult decision to cancel their events for 2020 and postpone to 2021: St Judes Hope in the Hamptons and the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation’s Unconditional Love Gala. “While we were all looking forward to celebrating the 11th Annual Unconditional Love Gala, we have decided to cancel. We feel that this is the responsible thing to do. The health, well-being, and safety of our guests is our top priority. We thank you for your continued support and look forward to making our 2021 celebration even bigger and better,” said Katie McEntee, SASF’s director of adoptions and public relations and junior chair of the gala.

Prioritizing the safety of others, East End Hospice is encouraging supporters to host a Pig Roast Picnic and dress up for a summer gala at home while donating to their cause. “Many long-time supporters of these events, as well as new donors, have stepped up to make their gift a straight donation this year. Some have even increased their support because they know the need is urgent right now. Other longtime event supporters are pivoting to support our COVID-19 Response Fund or make in-kind donations of much needed PPE and other essentials for our staff,” said Mary Crosby, East End Hospice’s president and CEO. The annual Box Art Auction has been pushed to October, following state and Centers for Disease Control recommendations. 

The famed fireworks over Three Mile Harbor are still planned for July. The Clamshell Foundation’s Great Bonac Fireworks and sandcastle contest are both scheduled and the organization is hopeful that they will go on. “We have the permits. However, the safety and well-being of all is our top priority. We are putting 100 percent of our focus and funds into those in need right now, but remain hopeful the wonderful tradition of the fireworks and sandcastle contest will both happen,” said the foundation’s president, Kori Peters.

Founded in 1901, Southampton Fresh Air Home has been through worse than COVID-19 — it endured two world wars, the Spanish influenza, and the Great Depression. For 32 years, the nonprofit’s Grucci fireworks have been a signature touch to its annual American Picnic fundraiser, an event that typically raises over 25 percent of the organization’s annual operating revenue toward programs for physically disabled youths. While the picnic is packed up, the show will still go on. “Thanks to our rich history and continued support by our community, we continue to adapt and persevere during these trying times. We are currently offering virtual programs and activities which provide for a great distraction and socialization for many,” said executive director Thomas Naro. The annual Decorators, Designers, and Dealers event has been postponed to Saturday, August 29.

This article first appeared in The Independent Newspaper.

Fernweh On Earth Day

I woke up today with an ache in my chest. It’s a pain I’ve felt before, one I’ve come to know all too well. The German’s call it ‘fernweh’, and while there’s no English translation equivalence for it, it can be loosely defined as distant sickness. Unlike wanderlust, another German word literally translated as a desire to wander, fernweh can cause actual discomfort out of the desire to travel to undiscovered places.

Considering my constant affliction with wanderlust, I’ve been fairly good at keeping my conceptual travel plans at bay during a global pandemic. The old me would comb through travel websites, marking up an ever growing Adventure List. But, amid COVID-19 I’ve only skimmed through a single book — realizing at that moment I could check off the cover photo as ‘places I’ve been.’ All things considered, I’ve done an excellent job at ridding travel temptation during this quaran-time. Albeit, I’m unsure if it’s self-preservation or actual self control.

Banff National Park, Lake Louise


But this morning fernweh washed over me like a tidal wave, my gut instinct drowning in moments of what could be. My mind drifted to the mountains and I saw the big Montana sky. I heard the neighing of a horse I longed to ride through the valley and felt the wind blow through my hair as the dirt kicked up behind. Fernweh grew, pinching my arms and legs. It eventually gripped my emotions, the way a good kiss lingers even after lips have left– happy at the memory, saddened by its disappearance. Was it possible to miss a place I had never been, to feel so completely lost for something I had yet to experience? The emotion is anything but foreign and yet I somehow forgot all about it.

In an attempt to ease my fernweh, I began scrolling through images of past adventures. I may not be physically capable of boarding a flight right now but in the meantime I could at least travel down memory lane. I recalled a drive I took through Jackson, Wyoming in summer of 2017. My friend gave me the keys to his truck and I drove for two hours in a single direction, to the point cell reception and GPS were out of reach. Locals yelled at me for driving irresponsibly down side streets (it was a very big truck, turns were impossible, and I had no idea how to work it). Eventually, I got to a dirt road and drove to the end. I parked the truck, got out with no one in sight, phone completely out of service, and started to follow the sounds of the river. I kept walking down a narrow path that was created by the few wanderers before me. It was beautiful, and very representative of my personality– always the pathway less traveled, giving my mother a metaphorical heart attack with each anecdote. 

Somewhere in two hours outside of Jackson


Suddenly, it dawned on me that today is Earth Day, established in 1970 as a way to spread environmental awareness. April 22, 2020 marks its 50th anniversary, a milestone date that is observed on a global scale with over 190 countries engaged and 1 billion individuals mobilized in action. Heightened by the novel coronavirus, this year’s message includes contrasting before-and-after images and statistics. NASA stating the Himalaya’s are being seen for the first time in decades in parts of India, sights of jellyfish swimming through Venice’s clean canals devoid of gondolas, and the World Economic Forum reporting a decrease in global pollution. The American Museum of Natural History posted a video . It points to a population increase from 3.7 billion to 7.8 billion in only 50 years, and the detrimental effects on planetary health, including its toll on wildlife. Now with countries enforcing quarantining humanity is beginning to see the Earth, and all of its inhabitants, a lot clearer.

It’s as though my soul knew this, literally awakening with an empathetic understanding that the world would never be the same; a world currently on pause that I may not recognize in a post-pandemic era. Could my fernweh be a universal ‘om’ of sorts? A calling for travelers bound to their homes who yearn for a plane ticket? Or is it all just coincidence?

While it never took staying home to elicit a desire to book a flight, or a road trip, it does produce a newfound outlook of the world around me. So, today I celebrate Earth Day in my papasan chair, admittedly searching the internet for places to add to that Adventure List– Montana, Iguazu Falls, Antarctica, the Azores, Lake Tahoe, etc.. Each destination a natural wonder that will afford a greater sense of appreciation, and growth, when social distancing is over.

A Glimpse Into NY Police During COVID-19

When COVID-19 first broke out no one in the United States thought much of it, since it began on the other side of the world. But for New Yorkers the world is a much smaller place when taking into account air traffic from JFK and Newark International Airports, both under 15 miles from Manhattan and less than an hours train ride. According to the JFK’s website, JFK had over 34.6k flights in January of 2020, only a slight decrease from 35.6k in December 2019, and Newark had 35.1k in January, down from 36k in December. Both hubs serve as not only destinations but connections to cities all around the world, a hotbed for pathogens to spread. This is back when China first began seeing a spike in illnesses, cause still unknown at the time.

America sat back in its recliner chair as the city of Wuhan, China began to make news. For most of the population this was the first time they ever heard of Wuhan and its over 10 million inhabitants– now infamously known for its Huanan seafood market (noted as the live animal market). Meanwhile, back in NYC, in a few weeks time COVID-19 was already running rampant through a population of 8.3 million. New Yorker’s walked around blind to a virus that couldn’t be seen, and still had yet to be identified. Now, months later, as citizens socially distance themselves by staying at home those on the frontlines are in the trenches. And NYC police officers are no exception, reporting to duty as normal to keep the city alive and safe.

City officers, especially those stationed at highly trafficked locations, are one of the highest jobs at risk for exposure. Fortunately, as alerts for COVID-19 began to rise the department enforced precautionary measures. Memos stated that those feeling sick or showing any symptoms (cough, fever, difficulty breathing) were to take a sick leave and self quarantine immediately for 14 days. Only those who tested negative were allowed to return to work. But, according to the CDC, symptoms don’t begin to appear until anywhere from two to 14 days after exposure. It was only after people began testing positive that gloves and N95 masks were distributed. Which means as police officers were once walking around without gloves and masks the potential for infection continued to spread.

In one patrol unit, of approximately 250 officers around 15 cases reported positive with many more out awaiting results. During the pandemic there’s been a tremendous sense of understanding, as units encourage officers to remain home to focus on their health. While things haven’t needed to shift gears just yet, contingency plans include longer hours or transferring of personnel to meet department staffing needs.


america american flag architecture bridge
Photo by Lex Photography on Pexels.com

As of April 9 at 5 PM EST, NYC Health COVID-19 data reports 87,725 confirmed cases with an estimated 21,571 hospitalized. The spike in deaths rose by 1,042 in less than 19 hours– going from 4,778 at 5 PM on April 9 to totaling 5,820 at 11:30 AM on April 10. The numbers continue to climb as New Yorkers socially distance themselves, transforming the city that never sleeps into a scene out of a post-apocalyptic movie. For now, all there is to do is stay inside, disinfect as many surfaces as possible, and thank your frontline workers.