The Rich Have a Coronavirus Cure: Escape From New York

When fake rumors inspired a run on toilet paper, the 1 percent made a panicked exodus to their second homes.

Comments: 267

  1. While I am afraid of getting the virus mostly because I cannot visit my sick relatives. But I am looking forward to spending some time working on projects in my garage alone..... This is one of those times when being a loner works. Stay safe everyone.

  2. @John For once I feel sorry for the extroverts and the people lovers. They are going to have to try to find a way to exist without scads of people. Sounds like we have both had a lot of practice.

  3. @Mike S. @John Heh heh, that makes 3 of us. I was supposed to return 8 books checked out from the library earlier this month. I just got word that the library is closed for the rest of the month, and that no fines will be imposed for the period. The books include 3 cookbooks plus a wine primer. Yep, sometimes being an introvert pays dividends.

  4. Thursday night about 8 p.m. the streets in Sag Harbor were deserted according to a phone call I got from a friend who was driving through the Village on her way home from stocking up on groceries. On Friday morning other Hampton locals were reporting on social media posting comments that the rental market was suddenly hopping because people wanted to get out of the city. Meanwhile real estate agents were getting cancellations from prospective buyers who thought it was better to wait it out for a few weeks then set up viewings. Homeowners also concerned about showings and open houses right now. So what do you believe in these trying times??

  5. @old lady cook Sag Harbor is no longer deserted. It now looks like the 4th of July weekend, and they are definitely not staying home. They are now out shopping, totally wiping out the local grocery store, pharmacies and having lunch at Dockside.

  6. Here we go, the usual jab at second-home owners. I'm not one of them, but I also am not envious and bitter. Wouldn't it be better to get through this pandemic without resorting to Trump-like divisiveness? The people the author is sniping at might very well be the CEO whose family trust provides housing and education for unwed, pregnant teens, or the surgeon who on weekends volunteers his skills at clinics, or the law firm partner whose pro bono work has helped battered women escape their abusers. Or whose largesse keeps our cultural institutions functioning. Easy targets.

  7. @B. I like rich Manhattanites, I really do. My father was a white-collar worker employed by a company run by rich (old money) Manhattanites. He was paid well and treated well by his employers. That company was sold to a conglomerate in the 1970s and no longer operates in the USA.

  8. I find the vehement responses quite revealing. I found the writers tone mildly ironic. Such spirited defense of those leaving suggests they also sense the irony but would rather paint a portrait of complete innocence, even benevolence, in fleeing and perhaps taking the virus with them to possibly uninfected communities. (How many had themselves tested before departing, since we now know one can be asymptomatic for days?) Well, dear posters, best to avoid our master of irony, Mark Twain. I assume you have packed your copies of Camus’ The Plague to contemplate as spring breezes waft the greenery.

  9. No vehemence here. When people paint others as all bad, they must of necessity paint their opposites as all good. But as a resident of Flatbush, I also see that some, but not all, poor people have at least as many unpleasant qualities as some, but not all, rich people. Please, much better to get back to seeing people as individuals and not as types.

  10. When we are being told by infectious disease specialists multiple times every hour that the only way to flatten the curve here and save the most vulnerable among us (the elderly, those with underlying conditions) is social distancing, why is this article judging those who are making that choice? I might not represent all who are decamping, but in my case leaving the city is not only about taking care of myself and my children. It is about protecting those we might unwittingly expose to harm in our densely packed apartment building in the city. We are not in the highest risk groups so will weather this virus fine, but our elderly and ill NYC neighbors might not, and I take responsibility for them. I have also invited at-risk friends to join me in my home outside the city. When racism and exclusion are baked into this experience (Trump: “foreign virus”), please don’t exacerbate the problem by mocking choices community members make to be part of the collective solution.

  11. @E. S.: Social distancing isn't the same as going to the Hamptons to shop. That is more like "potentially spreading the virus further and faster." ~

  12. @ifthethunderdontgetya Who says people are going to the Hamptons to shop? People have to eat. And I bet most of those shop owners are glad to have the business - and extra money - to pay their staff, rent etc. Aren't the shoppers in the city and other stores also potentially spreading the virus? Or do you prefer to cast blame at those who are more privileged?

  13. @E. S. But these folks are NOT pursuing "collective solutions". They are looking out for #1, with zero empathy or corner for any "collective" or public interest. The fact that you apparently can't understand this is revealing.

  14. Once again, F. Scott Fitzgerald is vindicated in his argument with Ernest Hemingway. The rich really are different from you and me.

  15. @Philip The rich are different, but mostly not in a good way.

  16. @Jackrobat This kind of sweeping, judgmental generalisation only serves to further divide people and create and us/them mentality which drives resentment, judgment and hate. I know many wealthy people who are amazingly kind, considerate and generous with everything they have, who would never judge anyone regardless of their circumstances, and I know people with very little that are like that too. I also know a lot of awful people at the other end of that spectrum. Everyone should both look after their own health and well-being to their best of their ability, and also be mindful and aware of how their choices affect others, to equally think about the greater good. Off the cuff comments like this are unhelpful.

  17. @Rae Income inequality is a real problem in our society.

  18. During the Cuban missile crisis, we lived a couple of hours from San Fransisco. My dad had loaded up the crawl space with water and canned goods. He also loaded his .22 rifle, to scare away the “San Franciscans” when they came for our food.

  19. @Suzanne While house-hunting on S.I. 30 years ago I came across an old but well-kept house with an ersatz 'bomb shelter' created out of cinder blocks in the basement. Good luck.

  20. The statement that the virus can spread easily before the onset of symptoms is misleading. There has been little evidence to suggest this, in part, because it is very hard to identify asymptomatic spread. At the very least, with no sneeze and no cough, there is a limit to how widely you can spread a droplet-based virus as an infected asymptomatic individual. It would likely require more intimate contact than lining up at a grocery store (eg sharing food/utensils, hugging, cuddling, kissing). Asymptomatic spread is more relevant to spread within family units. Assuming these individuals plan to shelter in place, in a locale with lower population density and perhaps more spacious homes, they are unlikely to contribute to geographical spread in the manner suggested. The most recent evidence suggests that people are most infectious on Day 5 following the onset of symptoms. It is true that on Day 1 and 2, there is an unusually high level of virus in the nose and throat (before coughing starts), but these people are not “asymptomatic.” They likely are feverish, fatigued and feeling quite off. This is the “prodomal” stage of infection. If we accept the idea of “widespread, asymptomatic infection” people will feel completely helpless and wonder if there’s any point at all in trying to mitigate the virus spread. This is not the case. Be sensitive to how you feel and take it seriously if you “feel off”.

  21. @Sarah Beerbower abscence of evidence is not evidence of absence.CDC web site states that the virus spreads from close contact with people within 6 feet of each other, as well as from sneezing/coughing. while it says that asymptomatic spread is not though to be the main means of spread, I wouldn't discount it. asymptomatic spread also doesn't mean we give up --- it means we test, test, test, to find out where pockets of infection are so we can control them. sadly our public health response has not been to test widely.

  22. The absence of evidence also does not make a “fact”! I merely react to the statement “The fact that the virus spreads easily before the onset of symptoms...”. We just don’t know this to be true. The CDC recommendation on 6 feet is largely based on the size of the virus and the distance it can travel from being expelled by a cough or a sneeze before falling to the ground. If asymptomatic, coughing and sneezing may be less likely and more intimate contact may be needed to transmit the virus. The scientific publications I have seen for asymptomatic transmissions have all focuses on familial units. I am not saying asymptomatic transmission is absent, but probably not a huge contributing factor for transmission outside families. Testing would be great! But since we don’t have the tests, anything we can do to increase distance between individuals, in this case those who are able moving to homes in areas with lower populations density and perhaps larger homes in which they could better isolate a single sick family member from other healthy family members, is good. It just seem like an inappropriate time to scorn or roll our eyes at these behaviors.

  23. @MD "our public health response has not been to test widely" may be this year's understatement.

  24. I have a history of pulmonary embolism and most likely would not survive COVID-19. I am not in the 1% by a long shot, but I do have a very modest house 80 miles outside of the city. I am trying to decide today whether I should go there and stay until the pandemic is on the downward curve. I know that it is not fair that I even have this option. But I also need to take some responsibility for my own safety, for my own life.

  25. @B Sherman I would say go now, and go quickly. You will be far safer outside the city, unless there is no viable hospital a reasonable distance away should you face an emergency. Pick up sufficient supplies en route, then self-quarantine for a couple of weeks to be sure you don't infect anyone else in your community. Anyone who can leave NYC in advance of what seems very likely to become a lock-down should make their escape. (I did.)

  26. @B Sherman the issues you have to weigh are the availability of intensive care options. the town 80 miles away may or may not have adequate equipment and staff to treat you. staying in the city would expose you more if you did not keep to good quarantine measures. as an er nurse my choice would be to stay in the city and shelter in place strictly. and I am not sure if your hx of p.e. greatly increases your morbidity?

  27. Please go! Take care of your health. This article is a bit ridiculous...making people feel guilty for having a bit more than others. Don’t we have better things to do with our time? Besides, I thought we are encouraged to isolate socially...doesn’t leaving a densely populated city a good thing at this time? Unless people have something positive to add, where everyone can benefit, perhaps there should be a moratorium on these types of articles.

  28. I'm reminded of post 9/11 when my little bedraggled town was besieged by downstate crowds running for safety. The town has been entirely transformed, mostly positive. Unlike 9/11, I worry about every downstate neighbor's health as they dig in for the long haul. Boisterous restaurants will be a no go if open. Many local events have shut down. I foresee many an urbanite suddenly fumbling around discovering how to create a victory garden. Yes, these are people with financial stability. I've watched many become deeply engaged with environmental and local families's well being. Improving the local public school and library. Amazingly low unemployment rates. This is the positive angle. I do wonder about this time around. Whether the little town will dive into negative territory. Any place can become saturated with the habits and lifestyles of those who ran for safety.

  29. I wouldn't read too much into this. Around the Delaware shore, a place with plenty of second homes, mid-March is the start-up for the season. The weather has been warm, the shore is lovely, the air between you and others is salty, why not head out ?

  30. @Ginger What "Delaware shore"? I know New Jersey has a "shore", but Delaware has the beach.

  31. It’s bad enough that our community is overrun in the summer, but now we have the entitled swarming to our little town off-season as well, with cats, canvas bags and Covid 19 in tow. I may just head for NYC.

  32. @Newport native How thoughtful of you. I assure you, even with these terrible city people in your town you are far more privileged with space and resulting safety than in NYC where most of us millions remain and try to run necessary services.

  33. Not sure it is a wise to move to the small towns in Suffolk and away from the best medical system in the US, ie New York City's. There are not enough doctors and hospitals out there in the boondocks.

  34. @Safiya only 2 hours from the city easy to get back if medical facilities are a concern.

  35. @Safiya The logic is avoiding getting sick for a few months and then come back to pick up the pieces. Btw, I would do anything to avoid NY medical system next few months unless you want to get coronavirus or die waiting for a bed.

  36. @Safiya That sounds arrogant to call Suffolk County the boondocks. Population Density of Suffolk County - 1,637 people per square mile. Population Density of New York City: 66,500 per square mile. In terms of community spread risks, New York City health resources could be quickly overwhelmed.

  37. How nice for them. I’m starting to feel like this is why DiBlasio is determined to keep schools open. The rich have their kids in private schools and those aren’t overcrowded and many have closed. The working class goes to overcrowded public schools and those 1.1 million kids will spread the virus to their community. And for anyone says the schools are being kept open for working poor who need day care, that doesn’t explain keeping HS and middle schools open. If DiBlasio is so worried about the poor, he can give out free meals at the schools and let the teacher and students go home.

  38. @Lisa I am also furious with de Blasio refusing to close the schools, but it is to protect poor families, not rich ones. Our fair mayor has decided to continue to feed poor kids (a good thing) and is willing to have many more New Yorkers die to do so (a bad thing).

  39. Please: Call Gov. Cuomo’s office and demand schools close. It’s really easy to leave a voice message tel: 518-474-8390 press option 2 then option 1. Tweet him, Facebook message, whatever. DeBlasio isn’t hearing it.... 1. We are out of supplies and kids can’t learn in this constant news cycle. They also can’t reasonably wash their hands enough after touching shared materials, crowding into a different room EVERY 45 minutes. The hallways, cafeteria, and gymnasium do not meet the social distance criteria and the cafeteria and hallways do not meet the max 500 public gathering parameters. 2. Many kids live in intergenerational households and/or have grparent as primary caregiver. Kids aren’t getting sick, but they are incubators and carrying it home. 3. We are sorely understaffed as pregnant teachers and teachers with pre-existing conditions, teachers over 50 take leave. The teachers and bare bones staff would not be able to manage a fight, an active shooter, an evacuation with all of the prior plans in place because we simply don’t have enough (wo)manpower. 4.Ohio, Maryland, Oregon, New Mexico, Michigan, West Virginia, Virginia, Louisiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Washington and Alabama have ordered all schools closed. Major metropolitan districts in Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Washington, D.C. and Austin, Texas, have also shuttered. And in these districts, children aren’t taking multiple forms of mass transit (like high schoolers in NYC)

  40. @Lisa It would be a wise move to close at least high schools, wouldn't it?

  41. We have a small house upstate that we bought for 50k because we can’t ever possibly afford even a studio in NYC, our apartment is rent stabilized but that doesn’t stop our landlady from threatening to throw us out every year. If that happens and we can’t afford the higher rents, at least we have something! This is the case for a lot of our friends who can not afford 1 million plus to have home security in the city.

  42. @Bob I am so glad that NYC rent control laws subsidize housing costs for people with vacation homes. I hope your landlady does throw you out.

  43. I have a car, a tent, a portable stove and a sleeping bag. I'm off to camp in the Smokies.

  44. DO WATCH hungry bears, storms, and lost souls looking for shelter. Still sounds like fun and u probably won’t be the only one making a fire! Good luck from the apple

  45. @Fran I have spent a LOT of time in the smokies. Bears and people there but not problem if you don’t tempt them with their desired objects ( food, valuable). Storms a matter of good tent pitching. Ticks are the thing to watch for.

  46. @Fran Do you have a three month supply of food? This thing may not peak until July. If you are good at foraging you might be OK.

  47. Spring training cancelled in PHX. Lots of tee times on great golf courses now available to the locals at reasonable prices. Looks like I'm going out tomorrow!

  48. The proclivity of the 1% and 0.1% in New York to distance themselves from the experience of all others in the city they claim to love above all else-- in a time of crisis-- is obnoxious and selfish. If you want more proof of this, read the Times' recent article about the dedicated emergency room service for those who pay $8,000 per month, and the doctors there who have prophylactically prescribed antibiotics and for some, the same inhaler that I use for my asthma. Not only is this bad medical practice, but it also endangers those who have conditions, ongoing or temporary, who need these medications. Going to a 'summer house' or 'country house' is just as bad: as others point out, going up to the Hudson Valley or the Hamptons may simply spread the virus to further reaches.

  49. @Emily Not everybody who has a second home is a member of the 1%, and some are far from that category. Maybe they are rent-stabilized in the city and have managed to afford a place elsewhere because their NYC overhead is low. I know plenty of lower-income artists and teachers who bought places ages ago, when real estate outside the city was cheap. So your ironic quotation marks around 'summer house' or 'country house' are likewise "obnoxious" (your word), although I realize the NYT piece is tracking the more entitled citizens among us. But just in general, let's try to be humane and expansive both in our hearts and in our thinking right now, and not offer blanket reductiveness at a very challenging moment. If someone is lucky enough to have a place to escape from NYC right now, they absolutely should -- then self-quarantine for a couple of weeks to be sure they're not asymptomatic carriers of the virus and about to become patient zero in places that so far do not have a patient zero. Less stress on all resources in the city is only to the good going forward. (I do agree 100% that the purchase of medical services by people of means, depriving those who are less flush with essential medications and support, is nothing short of grotesque, and am sorry to read how this has affected you personally.)

  50. @Emily; you could look at this from a much less hostile place. People leaving the city for a while is a form of social distancing, no?

  51. "Self-quarantine"? You mean AFTER they've gone to the local supermarket in order to wipe out the shelves by stocking two weeks worth of groceries?

  52. Look at the bright side. If the people who can afford second homes (and we know there are a lot of them here in Manhattan) all leave the city, that's just less crowding for the rest of us! They will siphon the products off the shelves of their local groceries and drugstores, leaving more here for us. Not all bad!

  53. @L.R. As someone who lives on the East End, our infrastructure is not set-up to handle this wild influx, especially during a medical situation. We have 1 small community hospital for the South Fork and our ambulance companies are mostly volunteer and older. So far my observations have included seeing numerous people from the city arriving at the stores only to wipe out shelves, filling carts with while senior citizens are trying to just find a few essentials, and acting like it’s summer vacation hanging out making plans. Yes, I understand why people would choose to come to a less densely populated area and how it will benefit the city where I too have loved ones, but the comment about “siphoning off” was quite callous to those of us who have live here year round working, trying to afford to stay where we grew up. We already have active cases out here and invariably a lot more just showed up. With very limited hospital beds and medical services available here this could be catastrophic for our local area.

  54. @N.J. I didn't mean to be offensive, just trying to look at the upside. And yet you seem to resent the "people from the city arriving...only to wipe out shelves, filling carts...acting like it's summer vacation." Kind of like what I said? Let's not be mad at each other. We're all just trying to make the best of a horrible situation.

  55. I live in the Hamptons and it feels alot different this week. All three of my summer neighbors are back, the private jets are screeching once again, and the stores are emptied. We already have community spread of the virus out here, so the risk is very real of catching it out here.

  56. @JJ And smaller hospitals.

  57. @JJ Yep and they have the highest probability of exposure since they travel a lot.

  58. @JJ We have community spread in the city, so I'm not sure what the difference is.

  59. Escape to the Hamptons? In this case I'd prefer to have 2000 acres in Wyoming or Nebraska, with enough supplies to last three months.

  60. @PeteH And a personal infectious disease specialist in case you get sick.

  61. I have one of those, my brother. Who happens to be if the opinion that we humans are overreacting to this virus by several orders of magnitude. Many of his colleagues agree.

  62. Coronavirus: Dangers, risks, such a medical term denotes. A social contract should always be to benefit all members of society, regardless of social class, race and many others, but leaders, elected or not, especially those of the hard-right, the men and women of the hard-left always referred to as specialists in cruelty, never made the minimum effort needed to permit themselves to abide by the terms and provisions of such an important contract – that’s socialism and all of its imagined and unwanted consequences, they always loudly contended, even when circumstances, such as trauma, associated with an extremely sad life of poverty demanded it. So an unprecedented national (preferably worldwide) crisis - of catastrophic or disastrous proportions, as the victims of the pandemic, apparently with the rapidity of a supersonic jet, continued to be larger in numbers than before, trillions of dollar in value erased - the Coronavirus had become, they found themselves obliged to be persons who no longer have the distinctive temperament and habit of solely and strictly operating under the same legal constraints, fiscal constraints, that before all allowed them to particularly also exhibit signs of neglect towards a significantly large and important segment of society.

  63. "Woodstock knew about hordes." Is this supposed to be a clever reference to the original, and notoriously overrun, Woodstock festival? One can only infer that that is Bellafante's meaning. And while Woodstock does get mighty busy in high summer and leaf peeping season, the festival didn't happen anywhere near there -- it was held in Bethel, NY, nearly 60 miles away.

  64. “By the time we got to Bethel, we were half a million strong”. Nah—doesn’t have the same ring.

  65. Traveling (in SUVs, no less) uses lots of resources, like gas, which should be getting conserved, and then going into stores elsewhere to "stock up" seems like a way of possibly spreading disease farther afield

  66. Always stymied by the the hate scorned upon on people of means. That being said the virus will still tracking down on all people regardless of income. Why the need to create class system and vilify people based on their successes in life?

  67. @Tony: It’s called wealth disparity, and it has deeply detrimental effects on those left at the bottom. I am reasonably above the poverty level, not wealthy- but I can absolutely understand the resentment.

  68. @Danielle "It’s called wealth disparity, and it has deeply detrimental effects on those left at the bottom." How? How does someone owning a second, or third, home, harm those that don't?

  69. @GMooG They come to their second homes like here on MV. The winter residents are not equipped to staff the stores like they do for the summer onslaught. Second and third home owners are here at the numbers we aren’t used to- screaming hollaring at us and hoarding the food on our winter supply level shelves. Working class and poor island families can’t buy toliet paper. They come to an island. On a ferry. I’m out stores. Possibly carriers To a medical care system already strapped with waitlists and winter staffing in our hospitals. This my friend. Is how this is harmful. To us and them also.

  70. To be fair, if I had the choice of crowded city living and a more secluded home in the country to go to in the face of a contagious pandemic, I'd go to my country house, too.

  71. @Anna Not sure how to put this, but maybe you are in a rural area, so you do have a clue. Medical care if you need it, is not quite as automatic as in NY or other cities. In the little town where I come from, If you need an ambulance, it's going to take a little time - maybe 15- 20 minutes - for the volunteers to get there, and 2o to 30 minutes to get to a hospital. The hospital isn't Bellevue, but a small regional hospital with minimal staffing, and likely no specialists on site in off hours. Often, just access to doctors may be limited - there are fewer. If you need personal help - well, you better have your own, whether family, friend or hired, because there aren't any services to speak of. There are expectations from many urbanites which cannot be met. So if they leave a well served urban area, they best be prepared to handle all that comes up on their own for a while. Getting away from the center sounds like a good idea, but only if you're healthy, independent and accept isolation and a different set of risks.

  72. @cheryl if it gets bad NYC hospitals will be over whelmed

  73. At work we are looking for ways to allow staff to legally work from home. But most of them told us already that if told to work from home, they will stay away but will not work. We had to tell them to stop calling out sick just because they are scared of the coronavirus, as a few of them have already done. We asked for a doctor note that proved they were sick, but magically they got well over night. But - the bars were empty last night, last call was around midnight, and my favorite pub closed by 11. The restaurants a ghost town as well. The city might not be closed, but I have never seen NYC as a ghost town before. They might not have closed the city, but they scared people away for sure.

  74. I have a older conversion van which I have re-made into a budget minimalist RV. Less than $2,000. I can let it set just for emergencies like this type. Plan ahead. Don't need the Hamptons or Fire Island. Go anywhere there is a road.

  75. I'm with B Sherman of the Bronx... Definitely not part of the 1% (top12-15?), my wife and I have a reasonably priced Vic, 325 miles north...not many New Yorkers make it up here If I get the virus, I'm toast; 80+, recent open heart op, unending sinus infection. My son, out and about town, moved back in this year...No chance for us to be safe in town, so we stay far away. We have a spare space...If a friend or couple was in need, in our position, for sure, I'd have them up. In the meantime, there is no moral choice, One must stay out of danger if possible...the fact that some (rich or not) have the possibility to do that is fortuitous.

  76. This should be encouraged. By leaving the city, people lower the density and flatten the curve so instead of peaking this summer, we will have a lower peak this fall. Instead of the upper limit 1.7 million deaths the CDC projected in the Times article, we might hit the lower limit 200,000 deaths the Times reported. Although New York City has very good hospitals, the city’s resources will be severely strained. The city might even consider busing poor people, who don’t have vacation homes, to upstate refugee camps.

  77. They are used to running away. I'm friends with many of them They run from their misery without pandemics. They're a skilled set in these matters.

  78. I live on an island with an excellent, state-of-the art, but very small hospital. Our year round population is about 17K, and the hospital is currently staffed to serve the winter population. 22% of our year round population is 65 years old or above, which means we are at higher risk of seeing complications and deaths from COVID-19. Currently there are no reported cases on the island, but we have seen a huge influx in seasonal residents arriving over the past few days. I'm not sure that these folks understand we have only 25 staffed beds in our hospital, or that they are unnecessarily increasing the risks for everyone on this island if they arrive carrying the virus but are asymptomatic.

  79. @Jane Norton They probably do know that they're lowering their risk of infection while increasing the risk for the year round residents. It's probably worth the risk to them.

  80. @Honora The issue isn't whether they have a right to be there, but is it the right thing to do? Is it that far off from hoarder behavior? We have a social responsibility.

  81. @Honora Like many year round residents, I am unable to afford to own a house here. My livelihood, in part, depends on wealthy summer residents and visitors. If New Rochelle can cordon off a section of their city to protect the spread of the virus to other communities, how unreasonable is it to protect our unaffected community from the virus by asking people not to come here if they don't need to?

  82. The rich will always be able to look out for themselves, and they'll always grab and hoard resources others more desperately need.That's how they got rich.

  83. @larry bennett This is a narrow view, don't you think? Not all of us who are well off grab and hoard resources. Some of us are generous with what we have. And I didn't become well off by stepping over anyone else.

  84. Yes. Class warfare is what we need right now. Thank you for this vital reporting. Also, people of means but without second homes have stocked up on supplies to ride this thing out a few weeks, while people living paycheck to paycheck maybe have not. Also also, people who live in houses rather than apartments are going to come into contact with fewer people than apartment dwellers. That’s just greedy. To level the playing field we should outlaw private living spaces and put everyone in communal living so everyone of us has an equal opportunity to get sick. It’s only fair.

  85. @S. Feeling guilty? Put upon? Large house? Too much TP?

  86. @S. I'm greedy because I love in a house? Communal living so everyone has an equal opportunity to get sick? Really, are you serious?

  87. It’s truly a shame how little sarcasm comes through via the written word. But I’d hoped the extreme positions taken would have made that obvious. I should have added something like “let’s start looting the abandoned apartments of the rich while they’re safely ensconced in the hamptons!” (Don’t do that actually; everyone chill. And Netflix.)

  88. First, "fake rumors" is redundant; a rumor is something unproven, which can spread rather quickly due to a lack of badly needed information. There are no fake rumors. Second, a lot of people blew off preparing because they thought it would never happen to them, but the minute we were told to prepare, there were insufficient resources for everyone to do so. In the meantime, there's an enormous vacuum regarding what we should all be doing, and most of us don't really know what to do, so we do whatever we think will reduce the odds of becoming exposed. Should we stay in our homes? Should we avoid public spaces? And if so, what do we do about public spaces impossible to avoid, like hallways in our buildings? Many of us have been told to stay away from our work settings, indefinitely. Finally, the rich do not have an cure--this whole thing is finally being taken seriously in the US because some of the most powerful people out there have been exposed.

  89. @David R - "...like hallways in our buildings?" I have not seen or heard a neighbor in quite a while now. I did smell curry next door last night so they are still alive and living there but no one else has ventured out in a while. Even the hookers have disappeared in my neighborhood and the sirens aren't blaring all night. Its been so long since I have seen the landlady that I wonder if her entire extended family went back to Samoa to weather this out. At the first of the month when I got my disability check, I loaded up the house in case of a complete Seattle lockdown which is quite plausible. I didn't go crazy or hoard anything but I have enough food and meds to stay inside for 60 days if I had to. And by then, I will have a new crop of beans and peas in the front closet:)

  90. So I was waiting for some acknowledgment that the gig economy has left millions high and dry. no work, no paycheck, no sick leave, no federal acknowledgment - no less assistance. what are these people to do?

  91. The likes of Uber, et al., should be responsible corporate citizens and step up at the very least in the way of stipends for food and rent and essentials for those off of whose efforts they profit.

  92. Actually just checked the Uber website and, at least for its drivers that get sick it’s offering financial assistance. Doesn’t help the drivers trying to get rides when people aren’t leaving their homes, but that’s a big step (considering they’ve considered their drivers to be independent contractors in every court case they’ve ever seen)

  93. They should...but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  94. Prevention is better than cure especially if one has a weaker than a normal adult's immune system such as the 82 year old woman who died of Corona virus (CoV). If one is infected, one's immune system is the best ally and the most proven cure. Certainly escaping crowded areas of mega cities like NY or anywhere in the US is one of the many ways to make fresh air an ally in the fight against CoV or any infectious agent. Those in NY commuting to work on a bike or just getting around are also helping themselves by being empowered to use fresh air as an ally to prevent exposure to the CoV. We can only overcome the CoV pandemic if we stay cool and not let the panic pandemic overshadow or crowd CoV. Understand that being exposed to a few virus particles in a city like NY could be an advantage one could acquire a herd immunity from micro exposure to the virus. Acquiring protective herd immunity could be the next best thing to a mass immunization, considering the vagaries of deploying a vaccine. If one understands nature, one will quickly realize that the scary worst case scenarios are to be taken with a tiny pinch of salt. In fact I would love to be around a CoV infected person 20 feet apart in an open ventilated space and breathe the same air and get exposed to that infected person's exhaled air and welcome a dozen or so of the CoV particles. That tiny amount will elicit a protective immune response that can then mount a protective response to future exposure to billions of CoV.

  95. @Girish Kotwal - Relying on just the right circumstance (20-feet apart with just a pinch of airborne particles) is a chancy proposition indeed, and hard to recreate outside a laboratory.

  96. @Ironic Angel Tuscaloosa. My proposition is only wishful thinking for now but it could explain how a large population acquires immunity to the virus some day if and when that happens and the virus no longer knocks down people. We do not have to recreate thst situation it could happen without our knowing. How do you explain how Ebola came and went without a vaccine being developed in a timely way. When the swine flu pandemic was around it took down 17,000 people, I was one of those that was infected but did not receive the vaccine, I did not die. Why because some power decided that I was to die with the virus. No with the grace of nature, my immune system cleared the virus before the virus could kill me. Most infections with CoV are mild and an infected person's own immune system given the time to get into action will prevail. So the concept that I am introducing is to help people understand that we are not heading towards the end of the human species as we know it and that worse case scenarios and maps are not to be taken more than a pinch of salt. Hope should spring eternal that the survival of our species is eternal.

  97. @Girish Kotwal don’t quit your day job to become an epidemiologist or virologist. They aren’t even sure whether getting it and then recovering provides immunity, so your plan is not a good one.

  98. The fact is we cannot ‘get away’ from the virus. My hope is that this pandemic will in the final analysis bring us together’. Neil Pollicino Manhattan

  99. Poe's The Mask of the Red Death repeats. There is no way to avoid something that is very contagious even during the incubation period. The new versions of asylum-seekers think they can build a wall. Lotsa luck to them. It ain't gonna happen.

  100. Just one more example of the rich needing to be locked up. What ill do they not spread? In my neighborhood, nobody has ever invited over a Prince for 14-year olds, and nobody has left.

  101. No mention in this article whether any of these privileged people took along their maids, doormen, servants, etc. in a display of compassion or concern. What are the odds that happened? Every plutocrat for his/her self in America, circa 2020.

  102. The MUST have taken some staff or else how would their household function?

  103. In answer to your question. Yes. I have a small modest home in Southampton, listed on Airbnb. I received a last minute request this week from a personal chef who’s employer suddenly decided to head to the Hamptons for ten days. In March! Yes. Some people have a couple thousand extra bucks to house their staff. Off site.

  104. I read the quote from the market owner in Woodstock while sitting in a B&B in Phoenicia.

  105. Population density in the Hamptons on a holiday weekend can compete with that of some sections in NYC. Also, the jetset that has more probability of having being exposed to the virus since they travel a lot and mingle with the like. If I were a local, I'd cross the street.

  106. Great to have the wealthy second home owners leave the city's medical resources to the rest of us!

  107. @TEB Speaking as a practicing physician here in a location where they will be relocating, they will simply find that with all the old people who live in the country, their chances for a respirator in the hospital will be limited, and the viral loads to which they will be exposed will be much higher because of the elderly in the hospital. Much better stay with the essentially young and middle-aged in the city who will experience bad colds and be able to weather this out at home, which would be the patriotic thing to do.

  108. @TEB Lol, they've left world-class hospitals like Weill-Cornell and Mt. Sinai in favor of their local urgent care.

  109. Yes, there are benefits to being rich. In our society, money is an incentive to work hard and to do things than help other people. If you have dome things that have helped a lot of other people why should you be able to use the money you get as you wish.

  110. @Grace A person who's willing to recognize the facts would acknowledge they were only able to do things that "have helped a lot of other people" (your euphemism for "made them gobs of money," typically by exploiting the labor of others) only because they've had access to the societal infrastructure, starting with the Long Island Expressway they use to reach Wainscott and Sag Harbor. Telephones, buildings, electricity, home heating oil, cars, trains, and planes, the internet, schools (public and private), hospitals, police forces, fire departments, farms, food-distribution chains, the list goes on and on. No one makes money without availing themselves of these things and the community that developed and maintains them. A moral person would want to give back to their community. In this case, instead of fleeing to save their own skins, they'd stay put and see where they could lend a hand.

  111. Most of the very rich, as Mr Trump, inherited their money.

  112. @Grace Why should having an incentive to "work hard" be the difference between life and death? Why insult half the country that are living at or below the poverty line? Are you saying half of all Americans don't work hard? It's presumptive and disgusting. Most developed countries have a healthcare system that covers everyone, regardless on income or employment. So maybe instead of living in your glass tower that put us in this mess, maybe consider that if everyone was covered, we wouldn't need to run away like cowards and get the medical help we need and stop this pandemic.

  113. The overweight, the smokers, those that subsist on unhealthy diets, those that never exercise are the ones that overtax our healthcare system and they will during this crisis. When figuring out the per person cost of healthcare in the USA no mention is ever made that the USA is practically the world leader in percentage of the population with diabetes or heart disease or opioid addition or obesity. Could this possibly account for why our healthcare costs are so high?

  114. @Marie Seton Great point. We're wiling to lockdown cities, close schools, effectively restrict peoples' freedom because of a virulent and more severe virus. But we allow junk food to permeate our schools and lifestyle, allow tobacco companies to sell their wares, allow unhealthly lifestyles. More people will die from these chronic, self-inflicted illnesses than the Covid many times fold. And we will probably expend a huge amount of money on Covid, which will sap resources from tackling these other issues.

  115. @Marie Seton Hmmm, this sounds an awful lot like President Trump, no? Overweight, lack of exercise, unhealthy diet. He almost brags about his unhealthy habits, pretending he is invincible and perfect. How I long for Michelle Obama's dedication to healthy food and exercise for Americans, and especially children. I know the surgeon general is saying we should stop our partisan bickering, put we have so many reasons to vote out the current administration and restore advocates of preventative health back to the White House.

  116. @Marie Seton Anything that exists for profit, the price will just keep going up.

  117. The more people travel, whether it is the rich fleeing to their second homes or vacationers taking advantage of low airfares due to empty planes, the more they risk spreading the virus when they could have stayed home and helped contain it. Wherever you are and whatever your means, stay in your own city to help keep disease from spreading.

  118. @Mark Lebow Open the windows and hopefully mgmt will turn off central air.

  119. @Mark Lebow That’s how the Asians did it. The bubonic plague was forwarded by the rich fleeing the cities, as the poor could not

  120. Best result: empty elevators, kind and neighborly volunteering by those now more at home to deliver things outside elderly or inform neighbors’ doors; sparse socially distant seating at restaurants; uncrowded (but still busy) farmers markets - people walking calmly in the lovely spring sunshine. Life going on carefully, with sprays and wipes, but the SUVS gone and building staff less stressed. Very pleasant upside to uncertain times. We all want one another to be well, who actually have to live together.

  121. @Nell Hi Neil. Nice sentiment. Almost like a breath of fresh air.

  122. Protecting yourself in this situation IS protecting others. We want to distance from each other. Those who can go (not me and my family) should. That includes rich and poor. Many low-income people have family outside of NYC and they (especially young/single) are going if they can or planning on leaving to help distance from crowds/roommates. The best exodus NY'ers can pull off will still leave millions sharing tight quarters.

  123. It’s the same thing the rich did during the Bubonic Plague. And yes, history does repeat itself.

  124. @Eric Wish I had a copy of The Decameron, but our library system has closed.

  125. So, people who worked hard enough to have a second home left the city. That is good, lessens population density and spreads people out. That is about all there is to this article.

  126. @Thomas Yes it is good. But way too many of them got it without working hard. Like all those who sit in my building in gigantic rent stabilized apartments at 1/5 of market rent, because they manage to hide their real income in LLCs.

  127. @Thomas What makes you think they all worked hard for their second homes? I don't begrudge them, but let's not pretend that inherited wealth doesn't have something to do with their good fortune.

  128. @CacaMera That is definitely not right. There should be income testing every few years to avoid this.

  129. The best protection and preventative from the rapid spread of this virus is to wear a face mask. The CDC has made a grave mistake in recommending against this. Due to the current shortage of store-bought masks, self-made masks can be fashioned from handkerchiefs, scarves, other fabric, etc. While not perfect, they will prevent much of the potential spread of this disease, especially if they are handled carefully and sanitized regularly (rubbing alchohol or even straight lemon juice). Wash hands after removing same. Public officials need to advocate this protective procedure.

  130. @JTK "The best protection and preventative from the rapid spread of this virus is to wear a face mask." False. If you are likely to be in close contact with someone infected, a mask cuts the chance of the disease being passed on. If you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, or have been diagnosed, wearing a mask can also protect others. So masks are crucial for health and social care workers looking after patients and are also recommended for family members who need to care for someone who is ill – ideally both the patient and carer should have a mask. However, masks will probably make little difference if you’re just walking around town or taking a bus so there is no need to bulk-buy a huge supply. -The Guardian

  131. @JTK I’m a practicing physician and I couldn’t agree more. They are essentially “a face tampon“, and keep the virus inside the mask and not spreading onto the community or onto your hands were you further spread it. If there’s not that much on the surface of the world to clean off your hands after contact, we will be much further ahead. Of course, it does not prevent respiratory inhalation of particles but those are only present within 6 feet of an individual where is this heavy droplet deposits all over the world at the person walks through and that is the major risk. That is with the mass keeps from emitting. Sick and even some clinically infected individuals are essentially Paint gun spraying the entire community, even if they cough impartial into the elbow or hand. Nothing beats a mask to contain it. And if you don’t believe this, take a look at the article on what the Asian countries have done to stop this. A key ingredient has been a mask. There is no social stigma wearing it as it is considered a courteous thing to do, and now a very essential thing to do. Of course, it’s almost impossible to find them now and people are stealing them from our clinics. If a sick person were to wear a cotton scarf or bandanna and then change it and wash it daily, that would be an enormously practical way to prevent transmission of this disease

  132. @JTK Agree with uji10jo. This is wrong advice. You should leave face masks for health care professionals, where they are actually essential in protecting from the virus. They only protect you from someone coughing and stop you touching your face (so you could tie a scarf round if that was the object). You're way more likely to catch it from transferring the virus from your hands to your mouth, nose or eyes.

  133. I suspect that people are less afraid of the virus than they are of the lockdown. Two weeks (or more) of quarantine-like restrictions ain't no joke.

  134. @laurence Do you think that’s worse than the virus? We all need to sacrifice something right now, and you have to think beto d your personal inconvenience. Your and too many others’ willingness to emphasize that what will be difference between the Asian countries that stopped the virus in its tracks, and the disaster that’s going to happen here if we’re not more civic and selfless.

  135. @laurence, we got a stack of books from our local library. Two weeks and a long life afterward beats dying young, wouldn't you say?

  136. @laurence ...... Italy to close all stores except for grocery stores, pharmacies, and those selling 'essentials' in a bid to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. So, why the panic shopping?

  137. Don't forget the Berkshires. The road from the Taconic was a steady stream of New York license plates this morning. They were headed to our fancy grocery store, where the line at the meat counter was twenty-five people long the moment they opened the doors this morning. I suggested out loud, "Guess it pays to be vegetarian." I got no smiles, but then, I didn't get any eye to eye contact, either.

  138. @sheela Would I be correct in thinking there was less than six feet "social distancing" in the line of twenty-five people at your meat counter? This morning in Portland, Oregon, where I live, the store was much too crowded for much distancing, but folks seemed to make up for that by moving around extra fast. The auto traffic seemed especially speedy, also. It was as if people thought that the less time they were away from their homes the less exposure they had. Why are we so irrational? Why can't they react calmly like I do? I'm busy constructing an igloo out of toilet paper in the basement. All I need is another two hundred rolls...

  139. Local Vacation Rental Companies are advertising ‘Unexpected Leave. Come to the Outer Banks. Experience uncrowned beaches with fresh ocean air. ‘ what they don’t tell you is that this island has a very small hospital, no seasonal workers, and no toilet paper on the shelves. I’m waiting to see a drive by testing facility on our local Walmart parking lot.

  140. This will be one of the key failures of the administration and a major mechanism for disease distribution. In the absence of accurate testing which the South Koreans used to contain this rationally, the Chinese method of shutting down the country for 10 days has worked and is the method that we need to consider. They are getting very few cases these days as people basically suffocated the illnesses in their own houses and did their patriotic duty. People did not distribute the disease across the country as these wealthy folks will be doing, whether they like it or not. Regional hospitals will be more overwhelmed, particularly as the countryside is predominantly elderly. Middle-aged and older folks will have a better chance of being seen in urban hospitals which have many more beds. If the president had been wise, he would’ve had everybody coming back from anywhere overseas self Quarantine for 14 days and to ban travel inside the country. He needs to explain these facts, but he is unable to understand them or unwilling to share them for fear that the market will crash further and that this will reflect upon him. Ultimately, the market cannot sustain the uncertainty brought on by him. Now that he’s letting potentially sick people back into the country without adequate screening, and letting unscreened people move all over the country, things will really get complicated and we will not recover as quickly as we could’ve if we were strong and strict in the beginning.

  141. @Boxengo Trump didn't take the situation seriously enough while other countries arebattling. from NYT report : Jan. 29 Cases have been reported in 17 countries. In China, the outbreak has surpassed that of SARS. Five cases are confirmed in the U.S. Mr. Trump tweeted: “Just received a briefing on the Coronavirus in China from all of our GREAT agencies, who are also working closely with China. We will continue to monitor the ongoing developments. We have the best experts anywhere in the world, and they are on top of it 24/7!” Feb. 2 The death toll has topped 300, including the first fatality outside China. The World Health Organization and U.S. have declared a public health emergency. Mr. Trump spoke with the Fox News personality Sean Hannity: “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China,” Mr. Trump said of the coronavirus. “But we can’t have thousands of people coming in who may have this problem, the coronavirus. So, we’re going to see what happens, but we did shut it down, yes.”

  142. Can we stop the class war for once, both rich, e.g. Tom Hanks, and poor are affected.

  143. @DL Hanks deserved it for "Joe Vs The Volcano"

  144. Based upon the empty shelves at my local grocery store this morning, I'd say the New Yorkers have already arrived. I say welcome; this is probably a pretty good place ride out whatever this is going to be. Just keep washing your hands, please.

  145. Do we really have to turn on each other now? So people with means are leaving the density of the city for the comfort and presumed safety of their country homes. Can you really blame them. There is nothing that they can contribute by staying other than adding to the population density and buying groceries that others need. Not to mention utilizing potentially overtaxed medical system. Their absence only makes it a bit easier on the rest of us. I'm very moved by the people in Italy who are forced to stay home and have chosen to make music and sing the national anthem in support of their medical workers. That's solidarity. We really need some of that right now instead of people hoarding toilet paper and resenting others for having other options.

  146. @LeeBee China and other Asian countries stopped this virus by prohibiting all movement, Or in the case of Japan South Korea, had working rapid testing that allowed them to figure who could move and who couldn’t. It worked. Since we won’t have that testing for another 2 to 4 weeks, we’ve got a practice with the Chinese did successfully. The bubonic plague was spread by the rich leaving the cities and spreading it around the country. Most people leaving are not of the age where they really have to worry about this, just a specter of possibility. Instead they will likely bring subclinical disease with them to explode in the countryside where the elderly live. Another trend I have noted is grandparents parents and children all coming up together to stay in the same place.That’s a great way for the grandchildren to give it to their grandparents which could be fatal. I think it makes sense for the grandparents to get out of town possibly but for gods sake the parents and children should stay home and Drown this thing in the bathtub, by staying at home. They’ll make it. They just don’t want to give it to the elderly. Hence, the accusation of selfishness

  147. Not sure what value this article adds to the Covid-19 conversation. But ok. By the way, we have an upstate home and we are hardly wealthy. And we aren’t heading there because we are still in the city working. Not every situation warrants the opportunity to point out how we in society differ. Now is, instead, precisely the perfect time to focus on the exact opposite.

  148. Weren’t not wealthy, we can just afford two more home than many other people can /s. ugh, spare me

  149. My wife and I worked hard for what we have, including a beach house, which we rent out when we're not there. But it's early in the season; we might be there soon before the renters show up - if they do in this paranoid time. I'm grateful to have an alternate place to go if needed. An observation, please: I'm one liberal who is tired of being demonized by less financially-successful liberals for what success I have. We earned it through honest work and smart spending and saving. Thirty years ago I couldn't rub two quarters together without owing one of them, but I worked my way out of it. Being successful and being liberal are not antithetical, and I'm not ashamed of either. We get enough class warfare from the right; "friendly fire" is counterproductive.

  150. @CP I must've missed the hate on people who are well off that was included in this article. I thought the story was about how a made up rumor took on a false reality and people didn't brother to think but over reacted . As adults we need to stop being in a Trump movie that never has a happy ending for anyone If you have a second home then God bless you . There is no panic and no one has anything against people who are well off. Maybe in the red states but not in NYC. Be safe and take care of each other. We are all in this chapter of life together.

  151. @CP Having a vacation home (or two) hardly lands you in the one-per-cent (or 1/2 of one-per-cent). Do you have your own jet? I think that was the subject of the article. Peace, stay well, and prosper.

  152. @CP Well said. The author also doesn't appreciate the correlation between age and the ability to have a second home and the current elevated risk for those over 60. Many people I know that have left the city if they can are elderly or dealing with cancer and HIV.

  153. Sadly, the city should have gone into lockdown two weeks ago. Movie theaters, restaurants, bars, non-essential stores, and schools closed. While you make fun of the rich, it will be the working poor and older residents who will suffer the most because of this neglect. The mayor of Amity Island resides in Gracie Mansion.

  154. In his book "Richistan," Robert Frank correctly points out that the rich are citizens of their own virtual country and are not necessarily affected by, or need to care about, little things like pandemics. Their "people" will take care of them. All will be well.

  155. Let's look forward. Try to help a few extra people who might not be as smart or as well prepared. Save the criticism until the worst of the crisis is over. Try not to be selfish. Use common sense. And then before the next unexpected shock comes along, plan ahead.

  156. The five stages of grief Denial Anger Bargaining Depression Acceptance The five stages of a pandemic Anxiety Panic Hoarding Acceptance Anger There comes a point where people get tired of worrying, the mind moves to hero mode, and you simply don’t care about the worse case scenario. People can’t change the situation, so they stop worrying about and get angry at it, and their mindset changes over to the attack. Before this is over you will see people volunteering to help patrol, pick up trash, and a million other ways. We will best this in a very American way. We don’t surrender, we fight. The real problem from a psychological outlook is all the news is negative, what we need is the opposite, Hope. Show us the people who have recovered , show us the people, tell us their stories. Every recovery is a milestone. When a cancer patient reaches a full recovery they ring a bell, we need to see people ringing that bell, then we will see that most people make a full recovery and then people will not be afraid anymore. It’s the way the story is being told which is the problem, the media can’t help itself and is absolutely causing panic.this is a monumental time in our history , and all of us, everyone should be enlisted in the fight. Americans have one defining characteristic, we love a challenge, and usually rise to it. Everyone who catches the virus should see themselves as a vital soldier in a new army, dedicated to fight the virus. Everyone is now drafted. We can do this.

  157. @Lonnie Bless you Lonnie!!

  158. And when covid-19 makes a strong appearance in the Hamptons (or whatever rural area those with secondary real estate fled to) I suppose we'll have another article about how the 1% are using private planes to be flown to hospitals that have available ICU beds.

  159. The rich can pile into the East Hamptons General Hospital for world-class treatment when they show the signs and symptoms of covid-19. Never mind the modest hospitals in NYC.

  160. This is exactly what happened during the Black Death in Europe, albeit a far worse scenario. The rich scarpered and took it with them to places that didn't previously have it. If you want a fascinating read about a sacrificial but extreme response to the plague, look up the village of Eyam in Derbyshire, UK.

  161. Geraldine Brooks novel Year of Wonders is based on this historic event.

  162. @Mandylouwho And plague first came to Eyam through a flea-infested bundle of cloth sent to a local tailor from London.

  163. Oh, you got the coronavirus in NYC? How pedestrian. I got mine in the Hamptons.

  164. This is a time-honored American tradition of every person for themselves. Wealthy 19th century urban Americans fled for their country homes in the wake of many outbreaks of yellow fever and other contagious diseases. The poor and those with no where else to go suffered the worst casualties.

  165. @Historian of medicine Rugged individualism, fetishized self-reliance and rabid competition have rendered social cohesion in America highly unlikely even in a crisis. Selfishness is venerated in the land of the free.

  166. Take a chill pill. There's billions of us. Some of us are just going to have to accept our fates and take one for humanity if we get sick. There's too many of us anyway. Hoarding is probably worse than just someone moving away from the city. The selfishness of hoarding induces other people to come out unnecessarily to make sure they get theirs. All this extra activity is more likely to create an environment for disease spreading than would otherwise. I didn't stock up on anything. Come what may. The only goal is to make sure you're reducing any risks you have to others. Forget about yourself for a second. How do you all live when you're all so afraid of dying?

  167. My husband’s parents live off a dirt road in the middle of nowhere, maybe 7 miles to the nearest town. I’m a physician and will not leave; I suggested he go there at last until the acute stage of this crisis passes. He says he’s not going unless I go and he understands why I’m not going. He works from home anyway, so I’ll be the biggest risk factor to him and that is a deeply unsettling fact.

  168. If our government actually allowed widespread Coronavirus testing like they have in, say, Australia, then people could test before going to their second home it their travel will infect their second home community. But I suppose widespread testing will increase the infected numbers and THAT might disprove the virus being a “hoax created by Democrats trying to impeach the president.” Things that apparently are most important to protect at all cost

  169. @Long Islander haha....so Trump's "leadership" has nothing to do with our current chaos and lack of tests?

  170. This article’s tone is needlessly derogatory towards the wealthy. Limiting social contact by staying home, whether in an apartment in the city or a house somewhere else, is good for for everyone.

  171. @Joe You can't do it if you work for a living, ned to go to stores for supplies, travel--including the elevators. People with money are--as usual, clueless how people without it survive--or don't.

  172. Wow, wild comments on this one. I have lived in the Hampton's for the past twenty years after living in Manhattan for twenty seven years. Retired from the NYPD (1969-93). Worked on the upper east side, Spanish Harlem, Williamsburg (when it was really dangerous!) I've seen it all. Never have made much more than 100K a year in my life. I am a fishing guide and pro photographer out here. Put that together with my pension and SS and I get by every year. A very high percentage of the year rounders out here depend on the second home owners for the bulk of their income. Very substantial Latino community which is almost 100% dependent on second home owners(landscapers, construction workers, restaurant employees, etc.) Sad to see all this class warfare posted on the comments. Remarkable the anger that comes out when people get fearful. Second home owners are just like everyone else, some terrific, some awful most just regular folks. Lighten up folks. I'm a product of the 60's, lets love one another as the song says!!

  173. @JL Well said, JL! Everyone needs to take a breather!

  174. Best and sanest comment here - the author should do an interview with you next round. Stay well - and post more!

  175. I vaguely remember a panic set off by a rumor in the early 90's. The business I worked at closed early so everyone could get home. It had something to do with a riot over an incident in Brooklyn. Hordes were supposed to crossing the Brooklyn Bridge in to Manhattan. It was supposed to be worse than the looting that occurred during the blackouts. Nothing came of it.

  176. As did the French aristocracy upon the fall of Louis XVI.

  177. I'd like to see as many people as possible who have second homes leave New York and use them. (My family does not). Fewer people means somewhat shorter lines at supermarkets, easier social distancing, perhaps fewer hospital beds needed. If Ms. Bellafante is just realizing now that it's better to be rich than poor, I'd say she's a little late to the party.

  178. Sleeping outdoors, terraces, roofs, camping in national parks anyone?

  179. Last I checked the COVID-19 does not need a gps to find you nor can you hide from it

  180. The 1% percent are just as vulnerable as anyone else ; the virus does not distinguish between hosts . Since they are used to being cared for , I would guess they are most likely less immune to assault to their immune systems than the regular herd . Escaping to a second home is equal to those hoarding ; it is sheer panic . However; the regular Joe is more adept at surviving as opposed to the wealthy that are used to paying to be taken care of . Sometimes all the money in the world cannot not buy you everything .

  181. A lot of doctors and some nurses are part of the 1 percent so these vacation enclaves should be well provisioned with medical talent, at least compared to those queuing for Medicaid and charity clinics.

  182. @Rick A sudden increase in doctors and nurses does not mean that the people who are riding out the pandemic in rural upscale areas would get better care than they would in NYC. Vacationing doctors and nurses would not bring extra hospital beds, isolation rooms, ventilators, and respiratory care therapists with them. Also, during a pandemic such as this, there will be more overtime and fewer vacations. It takes time to build capacity and it is likely that small rural hospitals are planning on transferring coronavirus cases to large urban hospitals once they are stabilized.

  183. Now that telecommuting has become mandatory in my office I am considering leaving Boston with my husband to basically quarantine with my parents who are in their late sixties living in a city suburb of Virginia. We would drive straight to their home. Is that grossly irresponsible? I just want to be around family during this time.

  184. I wouldn't just because of their age and the long incubation period of the virus.

  185. Makes perfect sense. Try and get tested and wait two weeks. If you can’t do that and still want to go, just be super careful all together. Get outside and exercise and make sure that everyone stays well. Good luck!

  186. There's a strange, Jungian appropriateness with Emma Bloomberg being a part of these rumors, since her father oversaw the closing of hospitals throughout the city. St. Vincent's Hospital, which had been serving the Village and Lower Werst Side since the 1840's, was replaced by apartments and town houses for the rich. Mike got it done, all right. The problem is that neoliberalism will kill you, as we're about to see.

  187. So. I guess nobody learned from that Oscar-winning movie.

  188. What was the phrase? Something about rats and a sinking ship?

  189. Please. NYC is better off without my husband and me competing for resources, and we are more comfortable in our house in the woods in CT than in our cramped NY apartment. Just makes more sense for us to be here in CT, and everyone benefits. What's the big deal?

  190. As a resident of rural Vermont, I wish all of the wealthy flatlanders would stay out of my state and my tiny grocery store. I have three rolls of TP left and little hope of finding more. Panic shop BEFORE you get here!

  191. What could be more quintessentially American than wealthy people fleeing to what they consider secure redoubts, while leaving the rest of us to fend for ourselves? But what they overlook is that without the 99%, the 1% will eventually be unable to provide for themselves. What happens when the food runs out: will they grow crops or hunt meat? Will they be able to run sanitation systems or keep the electrical grid going? We are all dependent on each other, and we're all in this together, like it or not.

  192. @lydgate It is a given among preppers that wild game like deer and squirrels will quickly be hunted to near zero. One had better be armed to defend ones stock piled provisions (like toilet paper) in their secure redoubts from ravaging gangs.

  193. Shades of Boccaccio's Decameron. Unfortunately for today's wealthy "me-first" New Yorkers, this time the "plague" isn't confined within the city limits. They've committed two colossal mistakes: (1) acting on rumor, and (2) acting on the artifact of Trump administration's criminally negligent delay in testing. As testing finally gets underway in the next couple of weeks, it will reveal widespread community transmission throughout the tristate region. Just consider the fact that New Rochelle's Patient Zero commuted on Metro North before he became ill. Those trains went back and forth from New Haven to Grand Central Station again and again for days, sending hundreds of thousands of commuters all over the region. That's just one example. Given the number of cases in the Northeast with no known contacts to either travel or an infected person, you have to assume there are thousands of others. But of course the're wealthy because of their greater intelligence and overall Social Darwinian superiority, so I'm sure they'll figure something out ... no doubt while staying healthy and "boosting their immune system" pumping iron at Barry's boutique gym.

  194. @Someone Buck up, by definition, a boutique gym is small and makes the necessary social distance of 3' virtually impossible, so Barry's is destined for closure.

  195. Oh, sure. Daisy and Tom Buchanan left Town. And they packed a little extra, along with their LV luggage. The Rich are not only different and careless, but very often deadly to we peons. But they will be fine, and back to pillaging and plundering in no time. Right, Ivanka and Jared ??? Sad.

  196. What is the purpose of this article? One percenters? Everyone will do whatever they can to protect themselves. I can only infer that the purpose of this article is to rupture any scicial cohesion that exists and promote class warfare.

  197. @Garry Sklar You don't think the upper class is deserving of it?

  198. Fake news galore is what enables US its medical experiment, to use her old and vulnerable as a gambit during this crisis.

  199. After seeing reports of groups of younger people at bars and clubs, a generation who can’t spare a night out and with no concern for the health of others, anyone over 50 who could leave the city would be crazy not to do so. The irony is that this is the “woke” generation, all Green New Deal and Loan Forgiveness, that they want paid with my tax dollars. Fat chance.

  200. @LTJ Actually to the extent, the victims are the older people (rich or poor). The virus is really a low risk proposition for anyone younger - they don't need to worry about it except as being for vectors but this could just me mother nature's way of wiping out older people. So let the older people leave, and let the younger people stay and party or whatever. IF young people have no interactions with older people then there's no reason for them to not risk exposure. Besides, they could also be Republicans.

  201. @RamS Actually, many of the severely affected are young adults.

  202. @LTJ I agree that their actions are misguided and self-defeating. But lets place the blame where it's due. Not on the woke generation, but on the people that promoted a system that requires at minimum a 4 degree and often crippling debt as the price of entry to make a living wage. These same liberal institutions teach them most of their wokeness and let them know who they should blame for their struggles and all the other ill's of the world. And as a final bonus, how to shut down, vilify and cancel any people or opinions that run counter to their narrative.

  203. These folks pay property taxes for their second homes. They actually keep these upstate counties afloat. They have a right to be there.

  204. Commuters have been traveling in and out of the city, every day, for weeks since the first NYC case broke. If you’re worried about suburban spread, we’re well past that. People have the right to go where they feel safe. Rich or poor, people who have another place to go are fleeing the city because social distancing is a moral obligation at this point. Class has nothing to do with it. You’re blaming them for leaving one of the most densely populated cities on earth during an international crisis... citing that someone’s grocery store parking lot was too busy? We need to work together and support one another now more than ever. A reinvigorated sense of respect and love towards others might be the only positive that can come out of something so devastating. Articles like these undermine that. Would’ve expected this from the Post, not the Times.

  205. I didn't pick up a terribly judgemental tone at all in the article. Think it was merely reporting the facts: that people who have other places to go, are going.

  206. Whether we envy the rich or not, they're not crazy for going someplace where social distancing is easier... and the rest of us are better off if our cities become less dense for their absence.

  207. Great. They’ve been flocking here, to my island, which has zero cases at the moment but with all the seasonal homeowners deciding that they’re better off at their homes on Nantucket instead of being in NYC or Palm Beach, or Fairfield, they don’t realize that they may bring it here, or the Hampton’s or elsewhere it isn’t currently.

  208. With their vacation / seasonal boosts to your economy - come costs. Here you go.

  209. One supposes that during a pandemic, when everyone is afraid of the doom possibly lurking in the person next to him or her in the grocery store, it is only natural to believe that persons of wealth and privilege are cheating. Such suspicions are heightened when the political leader of the country – a wealthy man -- has botched national preparedness for a deadly and highly infectious virus by (1) spending three years dismantling the nation’s early defense system and (2) then waited three months to respond to the news of widespread cases and thousands of deaths in the country of origin, China, and (3) finally branded the pandemic a hoax perpetrated by his political opponents and (4) spread the false word that the disease was not a serious health problem. As it turns out, some upper-class people are cheating, in a fashion, by moving to second homes in the suburbs, after a fake report of a lockdown in the central city. The resentment of citizens stuck in the central city – where, by the way, the good hospitals and physicians are located – is less understandable than the challenges now presented to the natives of those suburban havens. Ironically, though I am not a person of particular wealth or privilege, I type this comment as I eagerly await exiting a month early from our second home in Palm Beach, where the effects of the pandemic are increasing, to Cleveland, where we pay our taxes and vote -- and where the good hospitals and physicians are located.

  210. I'm disheartened by the lack of altruism in the article and in the comments, altruism that was espoused in these very pages a few days back. I try to turn the other cheek a lot (and I almost always succeed) but I am finding it difficult. From the article to the comments it seems people are always looking out for themselves only. I'm sure there are thousands of stories of people doing the opposite but why not focus on that (that goes for article writers and commenters too). I'll start: We had a medical student here (not Asian) who travelled to one of the Asian countries on the front lines to provide care for the infected. (We ourselves are working on therapeutics against SARS-CoV-2 - we have some solutions and they are published and some are in clinical trials already now.)

  211. Yes! Time for the good and great stories - they will carry us through! More, New York Times, more of the good stories, please.

  212. Dear Mom and Dad, Katja and I made it out to the refabbed silo in Idaho on the Callenger. Many neighbors from Atherton are out here, too, but, as you can imagine, we're putting off seeing them from now. Turns out, though, that the conferencing stuff from Zoom works pretty well under the circumstances. We're concerned, of course, about our employees (Tim and I talked about that), but so we're letting them work remotely. I wonder what Jeff is going to do about his warehouse and delivery people. Not much for the contractors, I'd guess -- one of the great features of outsourcing. But at least they are better than the retail people at Walgreens. Anyway, the kids are doing great, and will be going to school using the online stuff. Wish you could be here (not really), Love and elbow bumps, S

  213. During the black death nobility would flee to secluded estates when the plague reached their area. Here we are almost 700 years later. What has changed?

  214. Isn't that just as well that those who have second homes, go to them? Of course they could be bringing the virus there but if they stay cordoned off in their 8 bedroom, 7 bath cottages, with plenty of toilet paper and pasta, won't that be a better thing?

  215. We are heading to our cottage. Safer because there are fewer people there too. What is wrong with fleeing to a second home if you have one?

  216. @Vanessa There is nothing wrong with it.

  217. Just remember - people in the local community might not be able to afford to panic shop. If you clean out the stores, consider also donating to the local food pantry

  218. @Vanessa I think what is wrong to some people is that you can be lucky (yes lucky) enough to have a second home, when most New Yorkers are struggling to pay rent on one place. Maybe just keep that fact a secret from the 99%.

  219. Who cares? They have every right to do what they want.

  220. The thought. . .you can run, but you cannot hide, comes to mind.

  221. So that's why NYC is a ghost town. Less germs in the elevators. Must be nice to have that option.

  222. The wealthy are going to do what the wealthy do. Royalty and the nobility fled to the countryside in the mid 1300s with the plague; no different dynamic today.

  223. @Casual Observer - trump's government house and his private club (and other properties) seem to be awash in people coming and going and testing positive for the virus.

  224. @Casual Observer 1600s too.

  225. We’re a NYC family with two kids on scholarships in a wealthy private school. We have lots of affluent friends with Hamptons and CT homes. They’re good people and I see nothing wrong with their going over there. Our school may not reopen after Spring Break and what is one to do in a NYC apartment? At least out there you can go into a yard and breathe fresh air. I’d go in an instant.

  226. Hmmm. I appreciate that very wealthy people can be kind and are human, like the rest of us. That you have all exited the public school system - because of its poorer quality and fewer resources - and that you can afford to do so with an apartment or a home in the Hampton’s is exactly why our economic system is so unequal. People cannot buy their way out of public ed in Finland, Japan and Germany because it is THE option. Only some can buy their way out in the US. 100,000 homeless children are in the NYC public school system, which must remain open for as long as possible. While others escape to their second mansion. THAT is the perfect example of dramatic and draconian income inequality in America

  227. “What is one to do in a New York City Apartment?” Listen to yourself! There are some children who won’t be having a meal. Some families will have to make do in homeless shelters. Try to understand that!!!

  228. @kfm Would there be something wrong with it if they were “bad people.” As long as it is their property, what does your judgements about matter? People who take of number one at least unburden the rest of us of rescuing that one. Your first duty to your neighbor is to take care of yourself

  229. Whether someone is visiting a second estate, a modest cottage or family out of town, I think leaving the city if at all possible is the responsible think to do. Every person who has to stay will need a share of resources. Every person who is able to evacuate relieves a bit of strain.

  230. @Barb Franco And might transmit the disease to smaller communities and be a strain on them. There is no way to escape this, as rich and poor will find out, if at different times or with differing outcomes: we are all living in the same polder and the water's rising, to use an apt image from Jared Diamond. I frankly doubt the majority of Americans will be able to see this as not about themselves alone, and that, too, will help the virus.

  231. Less strain to the resources in the city, but much more to the areas that are not prepared for the influx. The east end of Long Island already is out of many necessities, including medical supplies, grocery items and access to doctors appointments. How will unprepared municipalities cope with added residents fleeing to summer homes?

  232. @Barb Franco - A lot of places that people are heading to are just gearing up for a spate of infections. We now have 4 confirmed cases in Dutchess County - and that might be how many test kits we had, too. The real count is likely to be, just as it is everywhere else, significantly higher. Given that they just shut down all the schools and closed churches during Lent, I'd have to say that we are fearful that we don't have enough capacity for our base population. Our hospitals are not as large or as equipped with critical care capacity. The farther you get form the city, the truer this is. So it is quite possible that relieving a bit of strain on the city might just transfer it to a place even less prepared.

  233. What makes this privileged class think that they are immune at their second homes?

  234. @SheBear less density, less exposure....get it all delivered.

  235. @SheBear It is not immunity. Anyone with any brain knows that no one has immunity. It is slowing down the rate of infection. It is "flattening the curve". It is their responsibility, if they can thin the crowd and lighten the load in NYC, to get out of town for a while and stay healthy in order not to be a burden. In this we are all human to the viruses. The viruses don't care what percent you are.

  236. @Sad Sack It only makes sense if they do social distancing. If they lead normal lives in the Hamptons, they are just spreading the problem.

  237. It's not necessarily just the rich moving to their weekend homes. With her company on lockdown, my sister and her husband just pulled their 7 year daughter from school and went to Vermont to stay with her in-laws. I imagine a lot of ordinary people who can get away from their jobs might take refuge with relatives elsewhere. If deBlasio comes to his senses and shuts down the schools, there might be even more exodus.

  238. @jimmunology Wouldn’t that just push the potential medical needs on to Vermont and its tiny healthcare system?

  239. @jimmunology Didn't your sister put stress on her in-laws by staying with them? The presumably over-60 couple now has 3 more chances to get the virus, with a presumably lesser immune system. Doesn't seem a situation that I'd allow. My husband has asthma and high blood pressure. I am on cancer medication and am over 60. I'm not allowing any of my family near us until the medical professionals say it's safe.

  240. @Todd Eastman One may not need medical care in Vermont if one can stay isolated.

  241. The rich die too.

  242. How unfortunate: Hordes of city dwellers will descend on the Hamptons and merely transmit the infection from Madison Avenue to Montauk Highway. FYI: There’s ONE hospital on the South Fork, and we already have our own cases of coronavirus. Not smart, unkind.

  243. @H. Clark : Wow. There are so many super rich in NY, it qualifies as "hordes". Plural. More than ONE horde of super rich. I never knew.

  244. No one with a passing knowledge how contagious disease has affected populations in past pandemics should be surprised by any behaviors reported. It was reported that Pope Clement VI lived most of winter 1348-49 in a Vatican courtyard surrounded by continuously tended fires. It worked; he made it. Peter Baker and Katie Rogers of the nytimes report Mar-a-Lago was a little hotbed of viral movers and shakers last weekend. Perhaps Clement’s approach is worth consideration by Trump. Surrounded by fires and already in hot water. The virus is survivable. People scare the beegeebers out of me. As a society, we are about to get slam-dunked to the bottom of Maslow’s Hierarchy. Let’s be kind to each other on the way down and on the way back up.

  245. I can't afford a 2nd home-my 401k just became a 201k....again! Thanks don!

  246. It is only welcome... The less people populate the city, the less the virus ravages its citizens. If the rich can afford to go to private hospitals in the Hamptons, so be it. Who cares?

  247. Asymptomatic transmission means those people could then spread the virus to locations that wouldn't have otherwise been exposed. The movement therefore puts the entire country at risk because it continues spreading the virus. Italy ignored the need to restrict movement, and now their medical system does not have enough equipment to treat everyone. The United States will experience something similar in about one week or sooner if we don't restrict movement.

  248. Has it not occurred to people that the people we want most to avoid are those rich white people who travel frequently? We were to attend a lovely symphony concert in Madison, WI on March 8. We did not go. The attendees at the Sunday matinee are pretty much the well heeled white folks who travel internationally all the time because their retirement communities get boring. The chances of one or more carrying the virus was greater than we wanted to risk.

  249. @Sara some would consider you well heeled for going to the concert and make a negative comment about you. It’s too bad people feel the need to spew hate on strangers with generalizations.

  250. Yuk! Can we do a cultural exchange program — our house on the East End of Long Island for a townhome on the Upper East Side for the duration of the crisis? I’m up for it!

  251. @H. Clark you could probably do this every weekend of any summer.

  252. So people that worked hard and bought extra houses can’t use them cause it’s not fair? Let’s stop the socialist banter.

  253. @Bob They shouldn't use them, because: A) there's no point, as you can't "outrun a virus" -- and B) Theyre's a high probability that you're bringing the virus with you (en masse) to an area that has FAR fewer resources. This 1% may have "worked hard" but they gained little logic along the way.

  254. They were able to buy a second house because the worked harder? In all honesty, I highly doubt they worked any harder than the huge number of Americans who are working multiple jobs to barely scrape by. I work with and know those people, I am one of them. They are getting up at the crack of dawn to start their first shift, racing out the door to get to there second job and getting home at midnight. They do that 6 or 7 days a week.

  255. How about they buy extra hospital beds and pay for their poor neighbors groceries who live there year round while they’re at it

  256. The gist of this article and the panic buying, (I've been wondering why toilet paper, since coronavirus does not cause intestinal problems!) brought in mind what our Governor said in one of his briefings: If you hear something really wild, use your New Yorker common sense. Clearly the majority of our co-citizens did not! hopefully things will calm down a bit now especially if mass testing starts.

  257. @Anna T. - During disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, earthquakes people flee to shelters, evacuate etc. When they do the most requested item or shortages is TOILET PAPER.

  258. They will find out soon enough that they cannot get by without common folk.

  259. The escapees may be bringing infection with them to the Hamptons, upstate NY, etc. Asymptomatic people can be contagious.

  260. And to, I would think, smaller hospitals?

  261. I've read so much derision leveled at rural people in NYTimes comment sections. Now the urban go to infect them? I wouldn't be shocked if rural people blocked the highways.

  262. @gw "I've read so much derision leveled at rural people in NYTimes comment sections. " Don't worry about it. Trump was rural people's revenge on city folk. Who's laughing now?! Trump: A national IQ test...failed.

  263. Left for my country home about a week ago. Redwood house on acreage. Small wine valley with only about 1100 people, two and a half hours north of San Francisco. The regulars meet for coffee at the local cafe every morning. Not many outsiders as there are few places to stay. We call them "Brightlighters" in Boontling our local language/lingo. Everyone is getting a little "can kicky" now. But so far so good.

  264. 'There is a lot of money here in our green valley' is a recurring refrain, accompanied by knowing eyes and a slight head tilt of defiance. On occasion I ask whether there are crocks of gold hidden in the luscious lawns by the rich leprechauns. Working in the corporate world in The City lights, you are informed that those in possession of a country house are living in the best of both worlds. For centuries, The Rich have fled from Cholera and other city plagues to fresher horizons in the hills and farms, and if you revisit history, this is an ongoing pattern. In the 80s and 90s, there was the weekend migration of the powerful from New York to Southampton in the Hamptons, and I forgot to tell my boss that Bill Paley had offered him a ride via helicopter. I got to hear about it via phone on Saturday night because my boss had just been offered by Mr. Paley some home-grown tomatoes from his garden, in the days of helicopter-thinking. Now. We may be in for a longer haul than a weekend. This earlier immigration than expected to rural pastures and scenic views may have left the full-time dwellers unprepared to give our city folk what they have taken for granted. Kudos to The Wilburton in Vermont for its wit, which always carries an element of truth, and let us remember that our farms and its industrious workers have been lingering under this administration; good-will tolerance for grouses is in deficit and short supply. Woodstock appears ready.

  265. I live in a semi-rural area. Far too many people have moved here but if you drive an hour south you get the huge population explosion of NW Arkansas so I feel fortunate that we don't have anything they want. I like the quieter places. I have shopped the last three weeks to keep us in food and supplies for the next three months. I have not hoarded or bought the stores out. I bought just enough wipes and hand sanitizer for my husband and myself. (I've been following the Times coverage on this virus since late December.) I did probably go a little overboard on the cat litter. Forgive me for that, please. Among other things, I bought canned meats, pasta, rice, canned fruits & vegetables, disinfectant, bleach, laundry soap, toilet paper, batteries etc. Btw, I have 4 gallons of bleach. Not 40. I have 3 boxes of dishwasher powder, not 30. 2 bottles of Tylenol and Advil. Same for the toilet paper. Only what we need. I saw a list on the NYTimes and followed that. I saw this coming and I have gotten my pets their vet checkups and medications filled. We have filled our own medications as far ahead as possible. We have spent money we would have saved to do these things because we consider them emergency measures. PS...get a reliable thermometer in case someone gets a fever. And I pray for your safety.

  266. The rich in New York: I never see them and don't interact with them. Not on the subways; not in the public schools; not in the balcony seats. I won't miss them. I won't know they're gone.