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Photo From N.Y. Subway Shows Jammed Subway Train
NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 18: A “E” line subway train waits for passengers at the 34th Street Station on February 18, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Hershorn/Corbis via Getty Images)

On Thursday, a photo was posted of the No. 2 train in Manhattan at 6 p.m. showing people jammed into it despite the efforts by New York City to implement social distancing among people.

There’s no way of knowing how many people on the train were working essential jobs necessary even in the midst of the coronavirus crisis and were risking their health to travel to them, but the picture was a disturbing reminder of how much the crisis has made normal life subject to rancorous debate as to how to act.  The cost of traveling by taxi or a car service such as Uber or Lyft could inhibit people from taking alternate methods of transportation.

On Tuesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, ordering the closing of the city’s playgrounds, stated that he might be forced to mandate social distancing measures, saying, “The NYPD has to get more aggressive. Period. Period. If you’re going to force me into a position where I have to mandate it, and make it a law, a social distancing law, which I think is absurd, but it has to be enforced. I’ve said this 100 different ways, but compliance is still not where it should be. How reckless and irresponsible and selfish for people not to do it on their own? I mean, what else do you have to know? What else do you have to hear? Who else has to die for you to understand you have a responsibility in this?”

Prior to that, on March 22 Cuomo said he was giving New York City 24 hours to make sure residents stayed away from parks, addressing Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and saying, “It has to be reduced and it has to be reduced fast, and that’s why I’m asking for a plan from them in 24 hours. I could make those decisions in New York City.  But I think they’re in a better position to do it. They know the problem. They see it. I mean, it’s all over the place. It’s not that you need a microscope to find this. It’s all over the city. Now, maybe it was a nice day yesterday, whatever.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio followed on March 27 by warning that residents might face $500 fines for violating social distancing rules, saying, “We have seen some non-compliance that is really of concern,” adding, “I don’t want people to be penalized in a time when there is so much economic distress … but I need people to listen. I’m asking my fellow New Yorkers to take it seriously or else there will have to be more severe measures.”

On Friday, AMNY reported that there has been a radical shift in how many people were traveling from home:

A new study sought to find out if social distancing is really working in the country’s major cities by seeing if people are actually staying home during the pandemic. The study, hosted by Voro, used the CityMapper app to track how many users in New York City were planning trips by car, mass transit and walking. As of April 1, New York City residents are planning 7% as many trips as usual, compared to 100% on March 2.

Based on the data from CityMapper, New York City saw a slight uptick in ridership between March 2-8. However, by March 9 the number of planned trips began to decrease, eventually dropping to 85% on March 11.Between March 11-19, the number of planned trips fell dramatically, eventually leveling out at 13%. The days following saw smaller decreases in ridership, settling at 7% by April 1.

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