Here’s my current situation as it relates to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in NYC: I’ve been in a self-imposed quarantine with my girlfriend in our Midtown Manhattan apartment since Monday, March 16. She’s been in quarantine since March 14, so she actually has two days on me. But this is a group thing, so … sucks to be her. Neither one of us has shown any symptoms; we’re just being responsible Americans and helping “flatten the curve,” like we should all be doing.
For perspective on location, we live on the third floor of an apartment building in Midtown East, which is one of the most densely populated areas in Manhattan. We’re about a five-minute walk from the Empire State Building for any of you who think that’s cool; it’s really not, it just means more tourists in our neighborhood. Ipso facto, we’re in one of the worst possible places anyone could live outside of the Wuhan wet markets in China during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Maybe “Stay Indoors, A**holes!” is a little strong for a headline, but this shouldn’t be rocket science at this point. If that’s the headline it takes to get people to act right, so be it.
As of writing this, NYC has 36,221 reported coronavirus cases; that’s 22.74 percent of all U.S. cases.
Want to know what the streets are like in NYC? I couldn’t tell you because I literally have not left the confines of my apartment in nine days because that’s what we’re supposed to be doing. I can’t give you a detailed description of a desolate Times Square as Will Smith patrols the area with his loyal German Shepherd named Sam—garbage movie, but that’s a pretty solid “I Am Legend” reference, right?
The last time we left our apartment was March 22. Back in the early days of the NYC coronavirus outbreak—literally two weeks ago—my girlfriend and I would take quick 30-minute walks so we didn’t go stir crazy. We adhered to social distancing guidelines, but saw just about everyone else did not. If you live in a more rural area than our concrete jungle, congratulations; there’s probably a lot more walking space for you. We quickly realized that getting a little exercise and fresh air wasn’t worth the risk, so we haven’t left our apartment since. The result? She keeps asking me for a puppy and I’ve started having conversations with an imaginary bartender named Lloyd.
On March 22, there was a noticeable decline in the amount of people compared to previous walks. However, in the days leading up to our “last walk,” there were still plenty of people outside as if there wasn’t a massive pandemic happening. The current number of cases and deaths in NYC reflect the fact that people didn’t take this seriously when they should have.
I watch the media every morning. Everyone sees the numbers in NYC and think what a horror it must be. From my perspective, it’s honestly not that bad. Why? I’M STAYING INSIDE LIKE WE ALL SHOULD BE!
The last time I went to a super market was a quick 10-minute trip on March 15. I ran in, checked out every item on my smart phone, and got out without interacting with a single person. However, there were far too many people in that store for me to go back again and put myself and my girlfriend at risk. So how do we get our food and supplies?
Well, the beauty of living in a place like New York City is accessibility to dozens of delivery services. We’ve placed several orders without issue and we wipe everything down before it enters our apartment. Pretty simple, actually. Toilet paper, thankfully, hasn’t been a problem either. My girlfriend asked me early on what would happen if we couldn’t get any. My response: “Do a handstand in the shower.”
Quite frankly, if you’re in NYC and still going out, you deserve a case of the coronavirus. But for those of you not in New York, that doesn’t mean you’re safe from COVID-19—I’m looking at you, Florida. The initial wave of people taking their kids to Floridian beaches because they were home from school is absolutely flooring, even for a state that produces more WTF headlines annually than the rest of the country combined.
A lot of people look at the current situation in New York—specifically NYC—and think, “Not here!” That’s not true. Yes, it’s unlikely other states get hit as hard as New York due to population density and average travel, but that doesn’t mean you should continue on like everything is fine. Self-quarantine like the rest of us. Get ahead of this thing. It’s not that hard to entertain yourselves inside for a couple of weeks. The new season of “Ozark” just hit Netflix, so that’s a start. Plus, Skillset already gave you a list of unconventional ways to fight boredom.
To the people complaining about being sheltered in place and not being able to go outside or see friends and how hard it all is: Shut the f*ck up. You’re not special. We’re all stuck inside. It sucks for everyone, not just you.
But guess what? You live in America. This isn’t some third-world country with limited access to basic necessities like food and water. You complaining because you’re so bored because you’ve finished “Love Is Blind” on Netflix and don’t know what to watch is grounds for me hoping a coronavirus-positive patient walks into your apartment and coughs directly into your mouth. Be grateful for what you have at your disposal and stop complaining that you can’t get your daily Pumpkin Spice Latte because Starbucks isn’t an essential business.
You know the “Keep Calm” slogan? Yes, the same “Keep Calm and Carry On” slogan that originated around World War II. Yes, the same slogan that has now spawned various T-shirts that include “Keep Calm and Yoga On,” “Keep Calm and Eat Tacos,” and “Keep Calm and YOLO.” Well, here’s a new one for you: “Keep Calm and Stay Indoors”; those are literally the only two things you need to do right now. Don’t panic and don’t leave you domicile.
You don’t need lattes. You don’t need more toilet paper. If we all stay inside for a couple weeks, this whole mess will drastically slow down and eventually come to an end. The sooner you all get that through your thick skulls, the sooner I can go back to cursing at tourists as they stop in front of me on my walk home from the office to take a picture of that damn Empire State Building. Seriously though, what’s the attraction? It’s not even one of the top 50 tallest buildings in America anymore.