Tlater that week, my friend posted a picture from a street in his neighborhood where one of Manhattan's largest hospitals is located.
All along the sidewalk there was something parked that looked like white trucks.
“Fuck, is that the refrigerator? To corpse? ”I asked.
“Yes, there are many more than last week,” he wrote back.
The day before, he had sent a photo from Central Park. Tents were being erected for the many critically ill corona patients who will not be accommodated in the city's hospitals.
The white Samaritan tents made the park look like a scene from the civil war between the South and the North. A time when the United States was also in deep crisis, split between north and south, black and white.
The state of New York, where I live, is the epicenter of the coronavirus in the United States; the country in the world where most have been tested positive for corona. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has said that the wave of infected has begun to approach, but that the worst is yet to come. From Friday to Saturday this week, 630 New Yorkers died of corona in just a day. There are over 100,000 infected in the state, half of them in New York City. Right now, there are over 200,000 known infected across the United States.
Every day, I and Americans turn on not just New York, but across the country for Governor Cuomo’s daily press conference, broadcast live on every nationwide TV channel.
While I feel that the Corona crisis has in many ways brought both Danish politicians and the Danish population closer together to a common enemy, it is in many ways different in the US
On Wednesday, he urged Americans, including those not yet hit as hard as New York, to take the virus seriously. Cuomo calls his state the “canary in the coal mine”.
According to an expected curve of contaminants presented by the governor at the press conference, the number of deaths in New York alone will reach 16,000. Nationally, there will be many more: 93,000 dead.
“So to you guys who are watching the evening news in Kansas and saying this is New York's problem, that's not what the numbers say. The numbers show that this is New York's problem today. But tomorrow is Kansas 'and New Mexico's problem,' the governor warned.
That's great difference in how US states, politicians and citizens have reacted to the corona crisis. In a state like Florida, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis hasn't introduced a 30-day stay home order until mid-week. In states such as Mississippi and Missouri, this has not happened yet, despite the fact that many mayors in precisely those states' cities have begged for it.
“Some believe the state should take over everything in times of crisis, as if the state or experts should know better than individual citizens,” the Mississippi governor said, according to CNN, as a reason for not issuing orders to stay home to avoid proliferation.
While I – at least in the distance – feel that in many ways the Corona crisis has brought both Danish politicians and the Danish population closer together on a common enemy, it is in many ways different in the United States.
It is as if the coronavirus right now magnifies the differences and disagreements between states and the polarization between country and city. As if the crisis has put extra focus on America's huge, fundamental differences both demographically and economically. The differences that were so evident during the 2016 presidential election have only become more and more apparent since.
I am, myself moved in the countryside during the corona crisis – to Hudson in New York, two hours from Brooklyn, where I usually live. I have done this partly to get away from the tightly packed million town, but mostly to be closer to my husband, who lives up here most of the time, in case one of us gets sick.
One of the first things I did when I arrived was to join the local Facebook group, both for all the practical information – do supermarkets have more hands-on and can they deliver at our home? – but also to be part of a local digital community, now that real lifecommunities are excluded.
Hudson is a city of just under 7,000 residents in a district that voted nearly 50/50 on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in 2016. The city is a mix of wealthy city dwellers with weekend homes and locals typically from middle-class America. Quite a few of the latter are Trump supporters. Also outside of coronation times, the two groups often have difficulty with each other.
I especially notice Sheila, a woman with a nice white smile who often posts in the group. I can look at her profile, which is full of support statements for the president, that she is a loyal Trump support. She has at one point suggested that water boarding (A Water Torture Method, ed.) Two CIA agents investigating the Trump campaign's relationship with Russia in 2016 and texting privately about their discomfort with the president.
A relocated city dweller like me, Sheila is not happy. Last week, she wrote to the group asking the townspeople to go home from where they came.
“I've seen more people from the big city walking on our main street in clusters. They bring the infection here, “she wrote.
Many in the group agreed with Sheila. Others defended the townspeople, saying there had been long-infected in the district, and whether Sheila shouldn't stay home herself instead of playing police on the main street. An 'us and them' mood is quickly spreading in the digital community.
Something similar happened on my Instagram profile. Here, one of my acquaintances, a left-leaning anti-Trump from Brooklyn, wrote that she was disappointed with her white friends who left town to “ride the storm” in small, rural towns. Her point was that her typically wealthier, white friends – like me – had the opportunity to move out of town unlike her. Yet another case of privilege blindness.
I understand the anger of both women. Especially when you think of the TV pictures of privileged young people who brainwashed spring break on Florida's beaches, completely indifferent to corona. Or when you consider that a much larger number of black and minority Americans have poor health insurance.
In New York, you can see that there are many more infected in poor districts in the Bronx and Queens than there are in Manhattan. People who can afford to live in Manhattan typically have jobs where you can work at home. In the poorer areas, more people work in minimum-wage jobs in supermarkets or as nurses, essential occupations they cannot stay home from. Jobs, they have to take the subway closely with other people to arrive.
Trump: Two painful weeks
Might be the split is a natural consequence of a president and a federal government that has failed to take overall responsibility. At his daily press meetings, Trump often talks about standing together. Never has his words sounded so hollow. He doesn't even seem to believe the words himself when he reads them from his speech paper.
Trump has said states governors need to show “gratitude” if they want equipment from him