It has been over two weeks now since Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered all non-essential businesses closed and for New Yorkers to stay indoors in an effort to flatten the curve of the coronavirus pandemic. Even with these extreme measures new cases of coronavirus continue to rise and the death toll climbs higher with each passing day. And we have not even reached the apex yet.
For many New Yorkers, being forced to stay at home in a "shoebox" apartment isolated from friends, family, and colleagues has not been easy. For many who have lost their jobs, the uncertainty is excruciating. For others, adapting to a new routine of working from home while their children move to online schooling is challenging at best. The utter lack of space, contact with the outside world, and restrictions on everything we once took for granted can be downright depressing.
But we are doing it because we all know someone who is working on the frontlines and see every day how our hospitals are overwhelmed. New Yorkers are staying at home to help flatten the curve, and we are doing it because it's all we can do to help bring this pandemic to an end.
Between the incessant screams of ambulance sirens rushing new patients to hospitals all day, and the seemingly never ending negative news headlines, there is one moment each day that breaks up this daily monotony that has become the new normal. At 7 p.m. each night, New Yorkers open a window, or step out onto balconies or rooftops and make some noise for two minutes. We scream, we clap, we bang pots and pans, we make music, but most of all we give thanks and gratitude to all the frontline workers who are risking their lives every day.
It is an emotional and powerful moment to see and feel New Yorkers come together as one and reassure each other that we will get through this. It is a moment where those who feel powerless in this pandemic to show their gratitude to all the health-care workers, delivery and grocery store workers and everyone else who is out there, every day, in the thick of it. My kids and I look forward to these two minutes everyday because in this moment there are no negative headlines, there are no sirens blaring. There are just New Yorkers united together to see this through.
It will be some time before things return to any sense of normalcy. In the meantime, please do your part, stay at home, help flatten the curve, and be there for our frontline workers as they will need our support when this is all over more than ever.