The United States crossed the threshold of one million deaths from Covid-19 on Thursday, the White House announced, but, like New York on its knees in 2020, the country wants to turn the page on pandemic.
“We must remain vigilant in the face of this pandemic and do all we can to save as many lives as possible, as we have done with more tests, vaccinations and treatments than ever before,” the President said. Joe Biden in a statement as he presides over a virtual global immunization summit on Thursday.
Europe has surpassed two million deaths from the disease, a new “devastating step”, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
In the United States, officially the most orphaned country in the world (ahead of Brazil, India and Russia), there has been a daily increase in the number of cases this past month, after several months of decline.
The country that has eliminated the need for the mask, which is now advised only indoors, is seeing a rebound in the number of cases due to Omicron subvariants.
However, its effects seem to be less serious in a population that is fully vaccinated at 66%, and more than 90% for those over 65, while the fourth dose of the vaccine is only open at the moment for those. over 50. years.
After more than two years of pandemics and several waves of variants, however, the United States intended to turn the page on Covid-19.
– riots in New York –
New York, an economic and cultural magnet, thus seems to have regained its legendary effervescence.
New Yorkers, Americans and foreign tourists return to Broadway theaters, photograph themselves under giant digital advertising signs of Times Square, climb the Statue of Liberty, ride carriages to Central Park, walking and biking on the bridge from Brooklyn, hurry to the most beautiful museum in northern Manhattan …
There are so many attractions that have been gradually reopening since 2021 and have made the megalopolis world reputation of 8.4 million souls.
Noon and night, traffic is hell again in the heart of Manhattan, its financial and commercial lungs.
The queue in front of thousands of restaurants, stalls, take-out trucks for white-collar and blue-collar workers is growing. The most trendy terraces in Manhattan and Brooklyn are crowded again.
“We’ve been waiting a long time for this return from New York,” breathed Alfred Cerullo, who heads the Grand Central Partnership, a pro-business lobby in Manhattan. “There is no doubt, he told AFP, you can feel the energy of the people on the street”.
– Nightmare of 2020 –
The contrast is noticeable in the spring 2020 nightmare.
The center of the pandemic, the “city that never sleeps” was empty for weeks, deserted as in a science fiction movie.
The large arteries of Manhattan and Brooklyn were only enlivened by sirens that provoked the distress of emergency services, with too many hospitals and morgues forced to hide the bodies of Covid victims in refrigerated trucks.
Janice Maloof-Tomaso, a nurse who worked near Boston at the time, recalled that many caregivers could not bear to “see death”. “Some have been traumatized, and many have left.”
About 40,000 New Yorkers have lost their lives in Covid since the spring of 2020 and both the island of Manhattan and the massive neighborhoods of Brooklyn and Queens are carrying the scars of the pandemic.
Lack of customers for months, thousands of small businesses have gone out of business, their windows are still covered with wooden planks or posters of real estate agents.
– Remember –
Among the small owners of this store, Frank Tedesco runs a jewelry store in very upscale Westchester County, north of the Bronx.
He confessed to the AFP that he saved his store in 2020 thanks to the help of the public and his own assets, but he felt “obviously worried” because he didn’t “(know) what was going to happen” and if how can he cope with another “shock” caused by the economy. by the return of the epidemic.
New Yorkers remain on their guard. The mask is still common on the street and indoors – and mandatory in transportation.
And teleworking has become a habit: according to security company Kastle’s weekly barometer, the New York office occupancy rate still stands at 38%.
The boss of investment bank Goldman Sachs, David Solomon, acknowledged on May 2 that the rate of employees returning to the office had nearly reached 50 to 60% of the workforce, against 80% that was present before Covid.