At this point, New York City is a safer bet than most other places in the United States. On Saturday, July 11, Florida registered 15,300 new cases of coronavirus. While many of these cases seem to involve people in their 20s, never the most responsible crowd (still waiting for that frontal cortex to finish developing), the fact that many seem asymptomatic simply makes them more dangerous. California’s new cases have escalated so quickly that Governor Gavin Newsome has rolled back access to most indoor activities outside the home. And in Arizona, over 44,000 new cases have been diagnosed in the past two weeks.
So for older New Yorkers, the notion of taking the sunbird route to a warmer, safer climate in response to the pandemic seems less and less like a good idea. In all the Southern and Southwestern states, cases have escalated exponentially while New York City has its caseload holding steady with no evident spike in new infections two weeks after the initiation of Phase Two.
Of course, population density increases risk. But apparently not as much as ignoring practical common sense medical advice for political reasons. Even as Governor Cuomo has, after a bad start, made good decisions based on science and transparency and turned New York into a success story of disease control, Governors such as DeSantis in Florida, Ducey in Arizona, and Kemp in Georgia turn a blind eye to the dire increases in their states for reasons clearly more political than medical.
This article succinctly addresses the question of whether New Yorkers are fleeing the state. The New York area’ssecond home market has boomed, as have suburban markets, during the past two months. How many of these will become permanent homes remains to be seen, but if the past is proof, many will return to the city. Sometime in the next year, the full panoply of New York’s attractions will likely be available once again. By then, an increasing number of former city dwellers will likely long to return, growing tired of the isolation, mallification, and non-walkability of suburban life.
The coronavirus penetrates everywhere. Except for the most rural areas, safety seems to depend more on adherence to basic hygienic protocols than it does on most other factors. As long as New Yorkers are careful in elevators and continue to dine outdoors in restaurants, as long as temperatures get checked in office buildings, New York should be able to maintain a low infection rate. Real New Yorkers understand that. They pay New York taxes because they feel a civic responsibility to the city they love. And they are not moving somewhere else, very likely no safer when and if a second wave comes, to try to escape a virus which increasingly shows up indiscriminately. What you buy when you buy New York real estate is more than an apartment or a house. You buy a lifestyle, a connection to a dynamic and exciting culture. No one would pay the kind of money they pay for 2500 square feet in Yonkers. It’s not the space that gets the premium; it’s the location.
This too shall pass. And as the next round of entrepreneurs create the new New York 3.0, the city will still be drawing ambitious people from all over the world (assuming by then we have a President who lets them in!) who will ensure it remains vibrant and alive, the center of the world.