By Ken Gibson
New York City and the surrounding area are seeing fewer cases and deaths on a daily basis, but the “all clear” is far from being sounded. Less deaths still occasion massive pile-ups of bodies, mortuaries are way past their breaking point, and the danger from hundreds of infected corpses every day is a reality even Alfred Hitchcock or Wes Craven could not produce on the darkest screen.
This dark cloud lacks a silver lining. Those who live must endure a bare economy and a loss of social contact.
The desire to get back to normal is restrained by the possibility that this could flare up again. And what ‘this’ is we do not even know. The most experienced medical professionals are seeing a range of symptoms, with many people not even coughing or sneezing. Heart failure, liver damage, muscle fatigue, headaches, are all commonly reported symptoms – and one article listed damage to every organ of the body as a symptom.
Reading to the end, it then seemed that COVID 19 does not per se have any symptoms; but that rather, it just attacks the immune symptom and whatever germs a person has are then free to launch a deadly attack on whatever part of the body they specialize in. So, we need to be on guard not only against the COVID 19 viroids attaching themselves to us but to any other germs that might then be empowered to set up shop in our brains, livers, kidneys, lungs or other organs.
Riding the subway is tantamount to dancing in a minefield. There is no map to show you where the invisible enemy might decide to explode. One gets on with masks, gloves and sundry forms of protection, spraying seats and shadows while feeling like Don Quixote. The windmills of the mind imagine green spheres with reddish suction cups waiting to attach themselves to every surface.
But not all are so skittish. The A train I take at 2 am on a Friday is full of unconcerned souls, most with no masks, or, if they have them, hanging down, along with their pants. Personal belongings are strewn across empty seats. The unwashed are at ease, not bothered in the least when someone sneezes and wheezes. The train has become their abode. Their living room, their kitchen, their bathroom. The home of a new and powerful elite that is above the law
Those who serve this elite group – the Mass Transit Authority workers – are rapidly becoming infected and dying. 70 had died by that Friday, and by Monday, the figure was 80 or more.
Legally, the MTA workers have the right to refuse service to anyone not wearing a mask. But this just does not work in a political environment that has been created by the far left. Even before 2020 came like some diseased baby dribbling putrid saliva down its mouth to infect the world, MTA workers were on the front line of attack. Some were beaten; some were stabbed; some were killed; and some women drivers had urine thrown in their faces.
And the band played on. While the homeless used the NYC transit system as their personal playground, slashing faces and pushing straphangers to their deaths on the tracks, neither NYC mayor Bill de Blasio nor NY governor Andrew Cuomo took effective action.
The mentally ill, the rapists and the murderers, they all roamed free like some characters in a bad movie. While honest hard-working people found it hard in NY to get housing, this lot was being given not just low cost and free accommodations, but even high-priced units in midtown; the sick and crazy were placed in Carnegie Hall. And when they got arrested for violent crimes, little was done. The papers do not go a day without stories of people being maimed, slashed, burned, raped, tortured and murdered.
By the time I reached 42nd Street, there were a dozen or more of these elites on the A. Switching to the E, I encountered almost as many.
My destination was Queens, which is per capita the hardest hit county in the city, and in the entire nation. Communities like Elmhurst, Corona and Flushing are virtual ghost towns. I did not stay long in this borough. A main reason for my travels was to meet others who wish to work together on a number of levels to fight this epidemic. We realized early on that the politicians of NY – state and city – were not doing the job. It would be up to the citizens – and up to the real men and women – to do what was needed. Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio, for instance, do not get along, and their staffs do not get along. Both are good at blaming Trump for things, but their rants against the President are doing no one any good.
As an example of this, I cite the incident of the Mayor’s motorcade to Brooklyn, where 100 or more bodies were being left unattended, only to be hauled about by rented Uhauls. A black woman screamed on him: “You cannot blame this on Trump.” Her husband had died, and her calls were ignored for days, as she tried to keep his body on ice. Liberal platitudes and attacks on POTUS did nothing for her or the millions of others in the city. Trump came through for the Big Apple, he did not turn his back on his birthplace. He tried to work with the Dems here, and sent troops to the Javits Center and an entire US military hospital ship.
On occasions, I pass by the Javits, and I can see that very little is going on there. The ship is now long gone. One of the military medical staff on board contracted the disease amid the NYC mismanagement. And while it was supposed to be there for those with COVID 19, hundreds if not thousands of patients in nursing homes ended up dying in their infected nursing homes. Their fate is the worst; family members are denied access, and their bodies are left to fester in closets.
This situation was exacerbated if not brought on by stupid ideas from the left. Staff complained that they were told NOT to send patients to hospitals; thus, the patients stayed in the homes, infecting other patients and staff. Further, some staffers say that they were told NOT to wear masks, on the grounds that wearing them would frighten the residents.
Now, both staffers and residents are dying. Out of this will be born many lawsuits, with the nursing homes counter suing the state, and possibly, Cuomo personally. Below I have cut and pasted a comment from a reader on this site whose moniker is shadowstate1958:
“Who is to blame for the Huge numbers of nursing home deaths in New York?
THE MORONIC GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK ANDREW CUOMO!
Cuomo to blame for COVID spreading through nursing home: Goodwin.
The Department of Health order, dated March 25, decreed that nursing homes and rehab centers could not use a positive COVID-19 test as the sole basis for rejecting a patient being referred from hospitals. Fearing state regulators, many facility executives say they accepted the transfers even though they believed the order was a death sentence for some existing patients and staff.”
Note the words: “death sentence for some existing patients and staff.” For patients at the Isabella Nursing Home in Manhattan, 98 were executed this way. That hit home to me not only in that I live nearby, but I have been there many times and always found it very clean and professional. My girlfriend gave a recital there in 2018. Singing gospel to the accompaniment of a grand piano, she never dreamed that the stage would be turned into a deadly scene of state-mandated executions. But it was. Thanks to the Democrats. For whom neither of us will ever vote.
While it is no surprise that nursing homes are a source of infection, it is that some religious communities are another. I rode through Borough Park and noted that about 75% of the people I saw, including children in groups, had no masks on the street. That part of Brooklyn is composed of Orthodox Jews, and while clean, they underestimated the spread of the disease.
On 30 March, the New Yorker had a lengthy article in which the reaction of the Hasidim was noted. In it, a rabbi is quoted as saying: “Faith is not the absence of reason.”
But somehow the absence of reason was taking root in place of faith among the faithful. And three days later, Rabbi Chaim Mertz was given a funeral in Williamsburg, another area of Brooklyn that is home to the Orthodox Jewish community. This led to a police presence with barricades, the presence of the mayor, and countless articles for and against both sides.
Social distancing in the Orthodox communities has been an issue for weeks, coming to national attention a month earlier with the funeral of 96-year-old Yosef Leifer, the rabbi of Congregation Karnei Reim on Avenue N. He had survived the Holocaust, but fell to COVID 19.
His funeral was attended by hundreds of his followers, against the orders of the state. Videos online showed the mourners in close proximity, flouting the laws of the land. Both reason and faith were violated. The Bible does not support such actions, but notes: “The prayers of them that flout the law are an abomination unto the Lord.”
Those who fail to follow the law can be endangering their mother, their father, their children – and their rabbis. Being part Jewish myself, this is my position – and I am far from being alone in it.
It pains me to see this in any religious community – including the Christian communities that so proudly defied logic only to see their leaders fall from this plague.
Those congregations – Jewish or Christian or of any other persuasion – that followed the rules stayed safe. The Greek Orthodox communities of Astoria and other parts of the city, for instance, follow the rules, with only 10 people in the pews at a time, and have few if any casualties. They also follow medical guidelines for any prescriptions, including those for chloroquine – which cured one Greek woman last month. Under the supervision of Dr. Taymur Mirza, a 102-year-old Greek woman recovered and has since rejoined her community.
The Muslim communities of NYC, many of which run delis and bodegas, are scrupulous in their following of the laws, and they too have few if any reported cases. This is good news for New Yorkers as they have proven reliable as purveyors of food and basic products – including masks and disinfectants. For which I am a customer, especially as I use the subways to ride around and meet with other people who are preparing for whatever may come, and that may include food shortages.
Coming home on the F train, I reflected on this last possibility. Having gone all around the city, I note that only the boroughs of Staten Island and the Bronx, with their large park areas and low population densities, could have enough arable land to feed their inhabitants. For the other three, there is limited space and much higher population densities. Some of my partners have started growing food, using deli containers to sprout tomatoes, peppers, ginger, etc. Others have staked out some clearings in the woods where they struggle to create drainage and bring in looser soil for planting potatoes etc.
Getting off the F and going up to the A train platform, I notice some strange graffiti at the Port Authority station. It reads: “On your knees America – SURRENDER TO CHINA NOW!” Written in black, it has some strange yellow logo behind it. I take a picture of it and move on. This is not a good omen for the weekend.
On Saturday, I take the train to the 72nd St. Dakota Building stop, from which I cross into Central Park, where I meet a friend. He too is growing some tomatoes, and buying silver in case of future currency failures. We all remember what happened in Greece when people had to stand in line for hours to take out 50 euros, their daily limit. Those who had gold or silver were able to trade, cash was not the king.
My trip to the park has another angle to it – I am looking at the food trees: black cherry, black walnut, pawpaw, etc. I take note of their locations, hoping that they will be fertilized or self-pollinating. Even the pokeweed does not escape my notice; though its berries are deadly, its leaves, if pre-cooked, can be eaten. There is plenty of this in the park but I hope to never have to partake.
Food is still available in quantities, but with some items no longer available. And one must wait in line, as I did Sunday at $ store in Upper Manhattan. All the stress of waiting in lines and having this virus hovering overhead makes for short tempers. One man is threatened with a beat down for not wearing a mask as he enters the store. A few days after this event in New York, the reverse happens in Michigan, where a security guard is killed by the family of a person whom he told to wear a mask.
Monday morning I am back on the trains, and I write on this site that the homeless who refuse to wear masks are a danger. The next morning AM New York carries an article in which Eric Ulrich, the only GOP councilman in NYC, says the same; that day, Cuomo picks up on both of our remarks and orders a shut down of the subways from 1am-5am which will start today (6May). Penn Station will be closed as well, and a cleaning of the trains will take place.
After this pronouncement, which ought to have been made weeks earlier, I board an E train in utter shock, seeing something I have not seen in my half a century of riding here; a clean train. And not only a clean train, but it has been painted with bright murals like an ad for a Broadway musical. Not a single homeless person is on it. I sit alone, riding on the wheels of steel once again out to Queens.
By Monday morning, the clean has worn off; two homeless are found dead on the subways; natural causes are cited. This day I go to the Bronx, and I am pained at what I witness. On Inwood Avenue, few are wearing masks, including two people smoking a hookah at a shop illegally open; on Boston Avenue – a man spitting at passers-by.
I have had enough, and take the 6 train south, only to find it stops and forces everyone off at Holt Avenue due to a fire. A month earlier, the 2 train was stopped by a fire caused when a homeless man pushed a flaming cart into the train, killing the conductor and wounding 15. I wait for another train but it too is stopped. Exasperated, and regularly spraying alcohol, I get off to walk to the 2 train. Four young men with no masks get on and start a mini-riot, with scared passengers moving away. They then fight among themselves, and one of them drops a bottle of vodka. To everyone’s relief, they then get off.
When I get home, I look at my phone for missed calls, and turn to the photo gallery. Maybe I was just dreaming about that graffiti telling America to surrender. But no, it is there, along with my memories of riding the subway. They will never go away. Never, ever.
All I can do is go to sleep to avoid the nightmare. When I wake, it will be here, thanks to lousy politicians who have made a mess of this city – with a little help from their friends in Wuhan.