Despite orders from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio for all residents to stay inside, hunkered down in a corner with a medical mask on, thousands poured out on Tuesday to see a flyover by the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels.
Pilots from the U.S. Navy teamed up with the Air Force for breathtaking flyover around noon local time to pay tribute to the hospital workers fighting COVID-19 on the frontlines.
The Blue Angels said on Twitter that city residents should “refrain from traveling to see the flyover,” adding “residents should observe the flyover from the safety of their home-quarantine. Social distancing should be practiced at all times. Stay home and stay safe!”
Pictures showed thousands flocked to the banks of the Hudson River on the brisk spring day, flouting the calls to stay inside.
The jets then refueled before heading to Trenton, N.J. Philadelphia for a 2 p.m. flight as part of a a series of multi-city flyovers over the next two weeks.
Thunderbirds/Blue Angels flyover Philly/Camden to salute COVID responders! pic.twitter.com/ueG63VIQZF
— Don Draper (@DonDraperUSA) April 28, 2020
The Thunderbirds said the flyover would be “a show of national solidarity” and “collaborative salute from the Navy and Air Force to recognize healthcare workers, first responders, and other essential personnel while standing in solidarity with all Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Pictures show the 12 jets soaring past the Empire State building and the Statue of Liberty in Manhattan in formation.
Blue Angels flyover NYC! pic.twitter.com/Eqh1oIBPAo
— Asaf Benaroch (@assafbh1) April 28, 2020
“We’re excited to fly over cities across America as our way of saying thanks to the healthcare workers, first responders, and all the people who selflessly run into the breach working to keep America strong,” said Gen. Dave Goldfein, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, and Adm. Michael Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations.
Before the flights, mission commander U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. John Caldwell said: “We hope to give Americans a touching display of American resolve that honors those serving on the frontline of our fight with COVID-19. We are truly excited to take to the skies with our Navy counterparts for a nationwide tribute to the men and women keeping our communities safe.”
Cuomo on Tuesday outlined his 12-step plan to reopen the state, which includes keeping hospital capacity beneath 70%. Cuomo wants two weeks of decline in the number of new cases and hospitalizations in the areas he will hopes to reopen, but he said it will take a “miracle” for New York City to reach the requirements in the next few weeks.
Cuomo’s initial lock down officially ends on May 15, but the governor said on Monday that he could well extend it for some regions of the state.
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