New York Launches Tracing Network, Temporarily Closes Subway for Cleaning

New York City’s subway system will be suspended temporarily for several hours each night in order for a thorough cleaning to be performed.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the Governor of New York, announced Thursday that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority would shut down the subways from 1 am to 5 am each night starting May 6 to disinfect the trains.

Political Cartoons about the coronavirus Cuomo¬†described the operation as the “most aggressive, creative and challenging undertakings” that the MTA had ever undertaken. He said that the scope of the plan was unprecedented, but it was vital for workers to be safe.

The Governor acknowledged that subways are essential for commuters and said that the MTA would establish an “essential connect program” for workers who need buses or vans when the subways are closed.

MTA also provides free car-hire services for essential workers.

Long Island Railroad, Metro-North Railroad, and the Long Island Railroad will all undergo deep cleaning each night. However, due to drastically decreased ridership, there will be no interruption in service. Every 24 hours, buses will be thoroughly cleaned.

Cuomo also announced a new contact tracing protocol that will allow people who come into contact with COVID-19 patients to be identified and tested to prevent the spread of the virus.

Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, has partnered up with Johns Hopkins University to launch a training program for people who want to become tracers. Experts estimate the state will require 30 tracers for every 100,000 people. This means New York may need anywhere between 6,400 to 17,000 tracers, depending on the number of people who test positive for coronavirus.

Photos: Hospitals Fighting Coronavirus

The health officials in the state reported more than 299,690 cases and 23,477 deaths of COVID-19.

Bloomberg announced at a briefing on Thursday that Johns Hopkins and Bloomberg Philanthropies will recruit volunteer tracers through colleges and universities located in New York. The tracers will be required to complete a remote training course that will cover epidemics, privacy, and contact tracing. They will also have to pass an exam.

The program will also be made available to other cities, countries, and states. Cuomo stated that New York would also work with New Jersey, Connecticut, and other states, as so many people commute between them.

Governor added that the quicker you identify positive cases and track with whom they were in contact, you can isolate and test those people to slow down the spread of infection.

Camille Busette, senior fellow at Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C., think tank, worries that the Trump administration’s stimulus package will not go far enough in helping the most vulnerable citizens of the United States.

She says that “what I believe is missing is a sense of empathy and coordinated federal, state and local responses, particularly for those who are on the low end.” “People with limited means who may be living paycheck-to-paycheck will find it difficult to buy groceries, even if they are able to leave the house.”

Busette believes it is time to stop disconnecting those who cannot pay their utility bills. She also argues similar exceptions for those who are unable to afford housing, cell phone service, car payments, and medical care. She says that we should be compassionate with those who can’t afford to pay their bills.

Brandi Tonkel was a 16-year waitress at Pizza Hut Fort Wayne in Indiana when the state temporarily ended in-person dining.

She says, “My boss sent me a text message and said that if there were any kitchen or delivery hours available I could come,” she says. But it’s still not guaranteed. He said that they had no other choice and didn’t wish it to be this way.

Tonkel, a mother of a 13-year-old daughter, began looking for online work on Tuesday. She says, “I am pretty good at saving money so I have a emergency fund.” If this situation continues beyond the end of March, then I will panic.

 

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