With the expansion of omicron, New York fears reliving the nightmare of 2020

New York, United States | AFP | Brooklyn restaurants are closing one after another due to the advancement of the omicron variant and the lines in front of the covid-19 testing centers increase every day: New York fears reliving the nightmare of 2020, when the city was the global epicenter of the pandemic .

The state of New York, which includes the city of the same name, announced Saturday that it had detected a record number of infections for the second day in a row with about 22,000 positive cases.

In the Greenpoint neighborhood alone, more than a dozen bars and restaurants have temporarily closed due to employee or customer infections.

Near McCarren Park, about 30 people line up in front of a parked medical van offering rapid tests.

And at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Manhattan, the popular television show “Saturday Night Live” will not be filmed before a live audience, but with a limited cast and crew. Musical guest Charli XCX resigned from her performance.

“It looks a lot like March 2020,” says Spencer Reiter, 27, a neighborhood resident who works in finance and gets tested with her friend Katie Connolly, a student, because some of her friends have tested positive. .

– “Really creepy” –
“Seeing these lines … is like starting over,” Reiter tells AFPTV, while his companion says “this is all really creepy.”

New York was hit extremely hard by the first wave of the pandemic in the spring of 2020.

The megalopolis of 8.5 million people, long dubbed “the city that never sleeps,” then stood completely deserted for many weeks, a scene that looked like something out of a science fiction movie.

The vast avenues of Manhattan were animated only by the anguished sirens of the emergency services. Overflowing hospitals and morgues were forced to store the bodies of the victims in refrigerated trucks.

At least 34,000 New Yorkers have lost their lives since spring 2020, and the city, especially Manhattan, has never truly regained its legendary pre-health effervescence.

– “Return to the starting point” –
“We are back where we started, perhaps even much worse” than in March 2020, warns Jolanta Czerlanis, a 54-year-old Polish woman, as she waits to be tested for the virus after having felt some symptoms.

“It is very scary and it is very worrying because we expected it to improve,” says this employee in the gastronomy sector.

In recent days, nervousness has gripped the United States at the very rapid spread of the omicron variant. President Joe Biden predicted Thursday a “winter of serious illness and death” for unvaccinated people.

On December 1, the number of new daily cases nationwide was 86,000 and on December 14, 117,000, an increase of about 36% in two weeks.

On Tuesday, deaths from covid-19 since March 2020 surpassed 800,000, the highest number globally, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The “omicron has arrived” variant, the mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, also noted, that on January 1 he will leave his place to his successor, Eric Adams. “We have to admit it: it is moving very fast and we have to be faster,” he told CNN on Friday.

De Blasio imposed mandatory vaccination on municipal officials, which as of December 27 will be extended, in principle, to the entire private sector, some 184,000 businesses.

But nothing says that Adams maintains that measure.

– Panic on Broadway –
Just before Christmas, when New York awaits the return of tourism, scenes of panic are experienced in Broadway, the famous theater and musical district, where cancellations of functions are on the increase due to positive cases in the cast.

On Friday night the cancellation of the next four shows of the show “Rockette” was announced due to “the increasing difficulties of the pandemic,” according to the production, quoted by the New York Times.

The musical “Hamilton” was in turn canceled without notice on Thursday night.

“We flew in for a day just to see ‘Hamilton,'” Dara and Myron Abston, a Michigan couple, protested angrily on AFPTV cameras.

Edouard Massih is currently keeping the Lebanese store he runs in Brooklyn open.

However, he fears that this wave of covid-19 will cause a new exodus of inhabitants towards the exclusive suburbs of northern New York, as happened in 2020, when the island of Manhattan was emptied.

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