New York Schools Close

What happens when working people are so vulnerable — without decent health care, child care and other forms of support — that it puts the whole city at risk?

Comments: 198

  1. But de-regulation according to the principles of greed is good can't be bad. These people would not be so vulnerable if we had the old system that took us all into account as equally deserving of protection from our own government.

  2. Any infected person should be more than willing to have there movements tracked by the gps system imbedded in their cellphones. The uninfected should be on board for this as well. Privacy , while taking a back seat, can be maintained through anonymity. Before symptoms manifest, it would be helpful to know if one had crossed paths with someone testing positive. This plan will work even better when testing becomes more prevalent. That should be the case by the end of next week, hopefully.

  3. RjW, what on earth makes you think we’ll all be testing and tested by the end of this week? Testing is the very last thing trump wants, because the number of infected people will be a lot higher, which refutes his lies about the lack of seriousness of the pandemic. Remember his statement, “I take no responsibility,” which neatly sums up his time in office.

  4. @Rob— k I give. No Trump fan here. I said next, not this week. It may or may not happen, znd even though you’ve beaten me 13 to 2 so far, the testing is going to ramp up fast, whether trump wants it or not.

  5. @rjw. It would have been better if the government responded responsibly in the first place. This is a failure at all levels.

  6. Will the school year be extended into July with most schools not having air conditioning? I feel sorry for the kids, teachers and school staff.

  7. @Olivia They'll be fine. We all did fine before AC was ever an option.

  8. Olivia, When I was in elementary school in the ‘60s, we didn’t have air conditioning, and we survived. Today’s students will manage.

  9. @Olivia I speak as a retired teacher. Will the students survive? Yes, but that is setting a very low bar. That is the best we ask of ourselves, Of course, outside the city in the surrounding areas air conditioned schools are the norm. Let's ask those parents and students if schools without air conditioning are fine, and remind them that we didn't have air conditioning and we survived. Or maybe it there are two worlds, one where students can focus on their work because the school hasn't become an oven, and one where, well, you know, "They'll survive. We did."

  10. My husband and I are both health care workers: we have 2 school age children.

  11. It is the right decision, although it will create new challenges. The risk to households where children, parents and/or grandparents live in tight quarters, and have health vulnerabilities, is very real.

  12. @GY yes the first time in history that the young are sacrificing their lives for the old. Can you imagine the trains leaving London during the blitz filled with old people as young parents and children waive them goodbye? That’s what is happening now.

  13. Using the school buildings as day care centers is logical and appropriate. Teachers and other staff can monitor for symptoms and enforce hand washing and similar preventative measures. If students who can stay home do so then the school density will decrease providing social distancing. Shut the schools and large numbers of student with nothing to do will congregate in public places or friends home with less supervision and more opportunity for disease transmission.

  14. Teachers are Responders--they/we just don't keep count or track of the order--but whether it's first, middle or last~they're there~

  15. The reality is, by tomorrow, there was likely to be a de facto closing anyway as attendance continues to plummet and teachers call in sick. This way, the city can at least try to close schools in a way that minimizes the disruption and hardship to our school communities, especially those most in need of care and support.

  16. It's ironic that you seem concerned about the poor of the city but endorse centrist Democrats like Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar for the presidential nomination.

  17. What, only radical progressives care about the poor?

  18. @Scott Goldberg . Elizabeth Warren wanted free health care and many other things that are necessary for the poor and working poor. Were you asleep?

  19. Scott, it's a cover for their own labor practices over time, journalists and typesetters especially.

  20. Now is time to also close the Parks Rec Centers. I can’t fathom why they are still open when everything else is closed. They are going to attract more people especially now that there’s no school. Keeping them open is completely unnecessary and does not promote social distancing. It’s especially confusing given that they are a city agency and are directly contradicting what the Mayor and the Governor are urging everyone else to do.

  21. OK, I'd appreciate clarification... Children won't be educated but the same kids will be in the same buildings, herded into a childcare situation? Is that correct? Not being sarcastic, trying to understand. Is this a battle of the unions? Like yesterday I remember being the single mother of a daughter and working a low-paying job without job security and my TOTAL heart goes out to parents who are in this terrible virus situation today. So parents must suddenly switch gears and send their kids into uncharted territory rather than school while they (the parents) go off to work or stay home because they're not confident about it? Two of the most important jobs in conflict, parenting and supporting a family. Wretched, horrible dilemma for so many good people. I'm sickened. Maybe I'm misunderstanding and if so would be happy for an explanation.

  22. Gumption, yeah, you got it right. An unsolvable dilemma; I feel so sorry for the parents put in this position.

  23. @Rob Kaufman Thank you Rob. So that is the story? While our medical workers are profoundly dedicated right now, as dedicated as any soldier ever has been, our teachers are declining?

  24. @HotGumption, well, it’s not quite so simple, and referring to NYC school teachers as “declining” is a misnomer and disrespectful. Our city teachers are overworked, underpaid and generally not respected. In this particular case, it’s a matter of their own personal health and well-being, in addition to that of their students. Furthermore, many teachers have children in city schools, children who will now be at home and in need of supervision. Yeah, it’s complicated, no easy fix.

  25. I don't understand how closing schools now is so radically different then when schools are closed for summer or winter breraks. At least now the school closing saves lives.

  26. No, it doesn’t save lives. It maybe might slow the spread of the disease—but there’s conflicting data on that.

  27. @Zifmer I'm not a parent but I have been a child. When schools are closed short-term - like 1-2 weeks - parents can often find short-term child care lasting that period. Additionally, libraries, community centers, camps, etc. often have programs set up for children during those times. Since camps, community centers, etc. would duplicate the same densities as schools, they likely will not be open (esp. with CDC's ban of more than 50 people gathering). In fact, my local public libraries are all shut down until at least the end of the month. Additionally parents and kids know those periods are often when care is needed and can plan ahead. This announcement - in contrast - is quite abrupt. I don't know what the best solution is: as a child, I was a latchkey kid who was spending time alone for hours after school but nowadays, kids and parents aren't used to that.

  28. @ManhattanMom Slowing the spread of the disease WILL save lives. If everyone is sick at once, the hospitals will be overwhelmed, and doctors will have to triage, like in Italy.

  29. But the private schools can close, that's fine. I wonder how many writers on the editorial board send their kids to public schools. As a parent of a high school student, I am glad and grateful that Mayor Di Blasio ultimately closed the NYC public school system for the foreseeable future. Not every kid will be congregating on the streets. Some will be working online and continuing their studies. This without meeting in overcrowded classrooms, in close contact with literally thousands of students in the hallways while transitioning between classes. The right decision has been made!

  30. @Reva Markowitz Will the private schools refund tuition? or do the parents still pay?

  31. @Joshua Schwartz Toda raba, adonei. But here the public school system is funded by taxes, which I pay aplenty, if this is what you were referring to. The issue is ultimately about protecting lives and minimizing a pandemic spread. We need look no further than Europe today to see the gravity of this issue, and where we might quickly head. Of course private schools should offer refunds for services not rendered, but whether or not they do does not alter the equation of protecting the public at large.

  32. That is your concern?

  33. I read the teachers were vociferous for a shutdown. Rightly so I would submit. However, I would ask - would the teachers accept a reduction in salary if the school year is shortened , especially in order to redirect that money to the more needy ?

  34. Cowboy, seriously, teachers should forfeit part of their salaries because of the pandemic? In what universe is this in any way their fault? I can’t yet come up with a perfect analogy, but if trump had just honestly acknowledged the crisis and taken preventive steps at the beginning, as other world leaders have done, perhaps this would be over by now and we wouldn’t be having this conversation. It’s called taking responsibility.

  35. @Rob Kaufman Name one country is which this "is over?" This has nothing to do with Trump. Taking responsibility does not make one immune from this virus. De Blasio should have shutdown the schools as soon as the private schools in the city did. That would have been taking responsibility.

  36. @NYC viral Yeah, okay, maybe not “over” by now; I misspoke. But there were certainly many things that could have been done weeks ago, things that were done in other countries, like testing, that would have ameliorated the crisis and probably prevented many, many people from becoming infected. And yeah, we should blame trump, our heartless leader, who joked and downplayed the seriousness of the situation. Anybody who disagrees is simply not paying attention. Remember his statement, “I take no responsibility.” You’re going to see that quotation on every Democratic campaign ad from here until November.

  37. This is the right decision to make in an emergency situation. Every parent with an essential job who needs support should have a hotline to call to get help. Use the national guard as babysitters. Whatever it takes! Get volunteers to babysit. But don't MAKE kids and teachers show up at school under the illusion things are normal. Set up daycare and meals at hospitals where parents work, so parents can check their kids on their breaks. Let's get creative and ride this wave. We did it at 9/11 and can do it now New York!

  38. @Mme Chauchat, What kind of parent is okay leaving their child in the care of a random volunteer or national guard? What you are proposing would put many children in danger, and wouldn't be any better than school. We need to consider our children's mental well-being. Suicide rates have gone up dramatically among teens in the last 5 years, ripping away school and all activities will not help.

  39. There are so many fantasies expressed in the comments here about “creative solutions “ and people magically coming together to take care of over a million children, three quarters of whom live at or below the poverty line. Reality is that it takes a school system with professional teachers, counselors, school nurses, after school programs and more to care for and educate our city’s children. It’s a complete disgrace that our Mayor has been pressured to close the schools.

  40. See the problem there? You do not trust our National Guard, to not harm your child, during an emergency. That’s no good. We need trust.

  41. Probably a million of us have Covid-19 antibodies at this point, only we didn't get sick, or our sniffles weren't allergies. Who knows unless they test most of us? Ideally, random testing would help us figure out how mortal a virus this thing is, and who should lie low and not see people and who may move about.

  42. @B. It's pretty obvious who is at risk in terms of age group, sex, and comorbidity (Google) though you should keep in mind some of the younger people have suffered lung damage I wouldn't want. So it's not that clear cut. That said, if you only care about mortality, then you shouldn't associate with anyone younger than 50 nor should you associate with someone who would associate with someone else younger than 50 (two degrees of separation at least between someone over 50). THEN you can party to your pleasure but you can't break this rule ever. Not even once. Is that easy to guarantee? How about the lung damage? So given that, we may as well treat everyone eually.

  43. So the children of all the health care workers being exposed daily to CV, who will likely be exposed at home, will now all be grouped together as one big CV cluster? Wow. God bless the individuals stepping in to watch these children and doing what our teachers will not. I am so glad they figured out a solution to help the health care workers do their jobs. And yes, thank God for all of us they are willing to do their jobs. Like teachers, they have families and fears. The health care workers carry on. We are lucky. Oh, and for the internet free households - if the closure goes through the end of the year, the NYC poor will be a year behind their richer peers. Collateral damage.

  44. @JC, it will be a group of nyc teachers watching those students.

  45. Listen, New Yorkers are resilient and generous. Let’s ask for all those who can contribute to help those less fortunate. We do it when there’s an earthquake, a tornado, a volcano eruption or a mudslide in other countries or other states. Why not reach out now and see what we can muster?

  46. @JSL Of course we must and we will. But charity cannot replace good government. However much good hearts empty their pockets (and proportionally the poor are more giving than the rich) the institutions and norms of government provide the means and systems of providing aid.

  47. @pi Agreed. Don't forget family planning.

  48. @JSL I know that in my neighborhood, and likely in others, there's already been discussions online...on neighborhood-centric FB pages...on folks are adding their contact info to a list, whereby we can help others with food shopping, babysitting, etc. Folks can also just spread the word among their local acquaintances. If you have the wherewithall to help out, tell others to keep their ears open and let you know where you can pitch in.

  49. Can we bring children, grade-by-grade to some of our closed venues like MSG and Lincoln Center, ensure that they sit six feet apart and allow them to watch six hours a day of whatever our newly unemployed thespians, dancers, singers, musicians and yes, teachers, can manage, taking care, of course, to pay the re-employed? Can we assemble enough background-checked volunteer ushers to facilitate? Can children be masked and gloved and then bused to these central locations? Can school lunches be delivered? How can we help our families who must still leave home to work?

  50. Ushering is a paid job in NYC, and they are among those now without work.

  51. This is a reflection of the passion of the compassion that NYers are feeling right now, and the Mayor is leading us in all the right ways. The children still need to learn and the idea of off-site learning is a luxury for most. The computing retailers in the city need to step up and create computer centers with high speed access in housing projects across the city for these kids to use as learning tools. The community of businesses that take our money for their profits need to give back right now. Call it a loss on their spread sheets but a plus on their Karma sheets. Grow a backbone and tell your stockholder and investors that profits are a matter for good times, and that they will need to wait for their extra income while you support the youth of NY.

  52. On the school closings, de Blasio was stuck between a rock and a hard place. There are always going to be critics. That said, say what we may have about de Blasio in the past, I've been very impressed with how he's handled this whole dilemma, overall. Sometimes, people work best, and show their true capabilities, under severe pressure and time constraints. De Blasio has been decisive, communicative, caring and pro-active. Thank you, Mr. Mayor!

  53. Please do not just say “working poor” when referring to the predicaments of many “middle class” families who are wondering how their family going is now going to home school their children while also attending to work? Splitting New Yorkers like that does little to address the underlying problem that nothing really exists besides our own ingenuity in social supports to protect our ability to care for our families most of the time.

  54. @Melinda Thank you for expressing my thoughts so well. Take care of yourself and family. Sending love.

  55. This may sound simplistic, but why can't the Government use the existing Social Security Administration to just pay everyone who needs to stay home to care for school age children? Everything is in place, all that would be needed is for people to register online. The rate of compensation would work the same way.

  56. @DR We need people in critical roles (healthcare, public safety, utilities, etc.) to be able to perform their jobs. Suggesting that we sideline hospital workers because they now need to stay home for childcare, during a medical crisis, is an obtuse enough suggestion that I hope you’re being facetious...

  57. When the tide goes out, we really will see who was swimming naked. Exhibit A is our hapless Mayor. The dithering and lack of contingency planning around the public school closure is unconscionable, but exactly what you’d expect from a political hack who’s only connection with his electorate is polling and fundraising. It’s a wonder he took time from his “busy” schedule to even address the issue. The effect of the closure is going to be brutal for all New Yorkers. Sadly, we have a Mayor who has surrounded himself with ideologues (Carranza, anyone?) instead of effective administrators and we will all pay the very steep price. News reports indicate that there have been planning sessions since January and yet there is not a hint of leadership coming from City Hall around the school closings. It is truly a tragedy that de Blasio is in office during these difficult times.

  58. @MB There are many things that may be said about De Blasio, but a lack of leadership surrounding this event, isn’t one of them. Go to the next item on what is probably a long list for you.

  59. Keep in mind the New York is Number 1 in spending per pupil, around $23,000 per year (Sep to June for most students). Average teacher's salaries are $83,000 2017-18 according to Business Insider. California pays teachers nearly the same on average, $81,000, but manages to spend half the amount per pupil, about $12,500. Considering class sizes are typically 20 to 25 students per teacher, there are many questions about where the money actually goes. Those who say education fails due to lack of money don't know what they are talking about, and haven't spent a day in a classroom.

  60. Your are correct, CA spends much less per pupil, and has among the worst schools in the country as a result. 35 kids in a class for 5th grade, crammed into a classroom made for 25 max. No music or visual art for K-3, except for what is paid for by the PTA, and no room or equipment to learn those subjects. Undersized lunch room means eating outside sitting on the ground. No kitchen means no fresh food, just cello-wrapped microwaved lunch. And this isn't just in neighborhoods where most kids are on assisted lunch. It's everywhere except the wealthiest cities.

  61. Sorry, classroom size and average dollar amount per student are the biggest red herrings ever pushed. The actual ability to impart knowledge is a skill/craft that very few possess. And oh yeah, my 6th grade class (1966) had 43 students was the greatest learning experience ever. Nobody ever complained about lack of money or class size.

  62. A police state is rapidly developing. That should alarm everyone. Well-off people - with savings, the ability to stockpile food, and jobs that allow them to work from home - seem to be driving this hysteria. And the numbers just don't justify it. Hundreds of thousands of people die every year in the US from completely preventable causes -- driving, smoking, guns, poverty, social isolation, and more. Hundreds of thousands. Every year. But we don't shut down civilization to stop those things. What happens when this virus does not disappear by the end of March? Now the CDC is starting to talk about curtailing civil liberties for 8 weeks. A vaccine could be a year or two away, though. Are we going to stop educating children for a year or two? Not allow most people to earn a living? What happens when people can't afford to buy food or pay their rent? For all but the most well-off, is it really worth it to trade away life as we know it and putting millions at risk of economic dislocation or poverty? Now they are talking about "postponing" elections. How much encouragement do you think Trump will need to say that the 2020 election should be "postponed" in the name of saving lives? Are you willing to give up the rule of law? Disease is frightening, and we should all do our part to limit its spread. But we should be very careful about the idea a new disease is enough to justify anything, no questions asked. We need less hysteria and more weighing of relative harms.

  63. @Anonymous While I agree, it's easy to say if you're younger or don't have family members who can easily die from this virus, specially if hospitals are overrun. My mother is severely diabetic and may not survive this virus, especially if she cannot get to a ventilator because hospitals are overrun. We did not get to these steps lightly. We've watched china and Italy get overrun with deaths to come to the conclusion that we need to do this. This isn't some stunt to take away civil liberties, its not the first time there has been marshall law and quarantine in America. And the only reason this is happening is because most of the people in this country want it to happen. Teachers don't want to go to school. People are scared to go to work. Once the hospitals start getting overrun here i think the tone will shift.

  64. @Anonymous With all due respect, none of the examples you mention could lead to a complete health system breakdown. There are fewer than 50k ventilators in the US. The US also has fewer hospital beds per capita than Italy, France and Germany. If that weren't bad enough, our population is less healthy and resilient due to poorer follow up of conditions like diabetes and hypertension and higher rates of obesity. If you look at the Europeans and Chinese, you'll notice that even the young people who get the disease can be hospitalized for weeks on end. Those who survive are going to be left with 20-30% less lung capacity for the rest of their lives. There is nothing hysterical about wanting to flatten the curve it's common sense. We want those who get a heart attack/stroke/appendicitis in the middle of the coronavirus outbreak are more likely to get the care they need.

  65. @Zifmer - It’s different from summer recess because the whole family will be sheltering at home 24/7 with little access to other people and the outside. Nerves are likely to get rattled.

  66. Give the likely problems involved in school closings, and the lack of internet access at many homes, first-class teachers should be recruited to record teaching days for elementary school and subject lessons for high schools, following the NY syllabus. Those records, for every missed day, should be available on the internet and via cable tv and a pbs broadcast side channel, so that children and their parents can view them at any time. That should remain available at least from now until next September. Of course the lessons would also be available at the schools that are used as child care centers. This kind of backup for the regular class day should be an ongoing project, so that children and parents have the opportunity to use after hours and recesses to nail down learning that might not have taken hold the first time around. I realize that the lesson plan sequence, from teach to teacher and school to school will vary, but the substance of what must be taught does not vary. Having such backup presentations available to children and their parents can only enhance the ability of children to learn, both during crisis times and in the normal school year. Resources top make these high quality lesson presentations should not be spared.

  67. @HJB In the interim, parents and students can take advantage of free high-quality educational videos on everything from pre-school math to physics at Khan Academy. A culture of reading in the home also does wonders. Most public libraries avail easily accessible e-books, to include all of the classics, to their patrons, and a large number of top universities provide free access to their lectures. There is really no dearth to educational access or opportunity.

  68. China did something like this by putting lessons on television.

  69. @HJB this is being done in Croatia. The entire country of schoolchildren tunes into their lessons on t.v. at the same time, different times and channels for different grades.

  70. What is stopping New York State from imposing higher taxes on its citizens and businesses to fund a proper safety net? It could pass $25 minimum wage and subsidize health care, child care and housing for its poor and working class. It has unified liberal government and is a very wealthy state. New York State is one of the wealthiest states in the entire world by per capita GDP. If it was an independent country, it’s per capita GDP would rank 16th, which is just after Kuwait. We have to stop using Washington as an excuse for inaction. We are painfully aware of the wealth gap and issues with the poor. New York, California and other wealthy states should implement a generous safety net that FULLY protects all of its citizens and stop waiting for a Confederate US Senate to do anything.

  71. @Practical Thoughts NYC already has a huge budget for social services, housing, public education, transportation, etc. Just repairing public housing and transportation is currently unaffordable.

  72. @Practical Thoughts Are you kidding?? New York is the highest taxed state!! I know because I’m paying those taxes!

  73. Bailout of businesses of any size should be conditioned on keeping their employees on payroll. I'm not an economist, but logic says the hit from this is going to be vastly larger than 2008. Pension funds who merely pretended to have fully recovered are going to be hit by both their bond and equities investments. Airlines didn't suffer from sustained business loss then, they will now. China will emerge from this as the real superpower, because after a rough start they took the necessary steps to freeze people in place and stop the progression. Western governments are too worried about their tax revenue stream and are shooting themselves in the foot. Stop commercial air travel starting with flights between NYC and Boston. Both cities are out of control with the speed of spread. Same with NYC to Miami/Palm Beach. Until those drastic majors are taken, a large percentage of the public will continue thinking "It's fine, I'm not afraid".

  74. It is unbelievable that people would be bashing teachers at a time like this. Everyday during the winter, if not everyday of the entire school year, teachers are dealing with sick children who should not be in school. This means that teachers often get sick themselves and take the illnesses home to their own families. Children come in complaining of not feeling well, and sometimes even tell you that their parents do not want a phone call to pick them up because they’ll get in trouble at work. These are 6 or 7 year old children who know that their parents are put in a difficult position, and who then feel bad about being sick. The problem is not the teachers. The problem is our society which does not guarantee paid sick leave for all workers, and which expects teachers to be counselors, nurses, parents, social workers, entertainers, referees, etc. Teachers absolutely should not be expected to be on the front lines of a health crisis.

  75. @TJ Thank you, TJ. And nor should teachers be increasingly expected to be carrying weapons in classrooms due to dangers society steadfastly refuses to address through long-overdue, sane gun laws. To all who have ever called teachers selfish, wake up and try for one day to do their job -- caring for and teaching 174 of other people's children every day despite parents who cannot or do not keep contagiously ill children at home ...and despite our peculiar American epidemic of mass shootings due to Americans' unwillingness to "fire" politicians who do nothing about it. I gave over five years mid-business-career to love, teach and care for NYC's public schoolchildren as I believe society self-destructs when people do not give back. And I will say this: teachers deserve everyone's respect and far more support. The bashing of teachers and indiscriminate, unproductive bashing of the unions that protect them -- when society refuses to do its part in protecting them in the most basic ways -- must stop.

  76. @TJ Selfishness is a trait that Americans have truly developed .Nothing comes between hate, bigotry and selfishness. However we all go to church or where ever we worship because we are such good people in our loving selfish ways

  77. Well, I guess a lot of people will get to find out what it’s like to have your job go away, and why we need a safety net more than we need to cut taxes for Mitch McConnell and his rich friends.

  78. @Grove A million times yes to this comment.

  79. thank you for calling attention to the increasing gap between the rich who are fleeing the city in their cards to their other homes and the poor who are left without food and childcare. the rich should realize that they need the poor to support their lifestyle. i say that because I've long give up to appealing to their sense of empathy.

  80. I work as a teachers' aide and monitor recess with two other people. Although I have paid sick leave, if I take it that means there are only two adults on the playground responsible for over 100 children. It's a challenging job with a lot of the drama of childhood playing out. It's cold in winter and hot in August, September, and May. So, even when I feel a little bit under the weather, I don't call in sick. This is public education in America. Underfunded. Understaffed. One bright spot is our volunteers. A retired gentleman in the neighborhood comes in once a week and teaches small groups of children chess in the library during recess. The children love it. And a retired woman in the neighborhood comes in and shelves library books and has two students read to her once a week for a half an hour each. I sometimes imagine if these two volunteers were ten or twenty volunteers. What a difference that would make. Please consider helping out at public schools. There is great need.

  81. Yes. And why, then, have you mocked, derided, and demonized, those who wanted to fight to ensure that working people could have the kind of health care, child care, and social safety network that is so desperately needed at this time? Why did you sneer at Sanders and belittle Warren for being "unrealistic" in their insistence that such policies were a matter of urgency and vital to our security? Now, suddenly, you see that these are life or death matters. But people do not just give us these things when they are not pressured to do so, when they feel only the terrible pain of a shrill or angry sounding voice, but not the pain of illness and crumbling infrastructure. So now we are in it together, and the question is what then, will we do with that? Stop blaming those who already pay the highest price and those who bear the burden of impossible choices each day. Start asking how you will take your share of responsibility for sharing the burden of transforming this crisis into a turning point.

  82. @Matthew Sower Well done Mr. Sower. Thank you

  83. @Matthew Sower Seriously. The more I've followed the NYT the more I've lost complete trust that this paper doesn't look to ensure its wealthy class don't lose their power.

  84. A communicable disease like this coronavirus exposes all the weak links in our society. The public health of our citizens has been greatly underfunded, the private practice model of medicine leaves a huge number of people without doctors to turn to and without the money to see them if they do have the doctors. The very fact that one in ten schoolchildren in NYC are homeless is one of the most shocking of the deficiencies of our system to come to my attention. This is the richest country in the world! How can we permit this kind of homelessness, this deficiency of child care for working families? Maybe it will take this illness to wake us up to what the progressive Democrats are advocating in this presidential race.

  85. Mothers did the work for free. Then women were forced out into the workplace whether or not they were shed to leave their children in the care of others- and the workforce doubled and wages were slashed and no one is home; to do the house work or watch the kids or run the errands or remember everyone’s appointments and preferences and holidays and friends. Maybe feminism took a big wrong turn when it did not first establish the premise that women deserve compensation for their labors- and then value their salaries with that ability built in. Reproductive power instead of just reproductive freedom. Freedom from what? Reproducing is about the least freeing thing I have ever done.

  86. @Harold Johnson Only Bernie Sanders in the Presidential debate last night was honest enough to refer to high levels of poverty and access to affordable healthcare for millions of Americans; despite being accused of being a rampant socialist calling for a revolution against inequality. No doubt the US President never even thinks about poverty in his ivory tower in Manhattan. Biden accusing Italy and their health system of failing to help as the virus ravages their country not exactly a fair point of comparison when other European healthcare systems administered by government usually work in normal times; before now. Calling out other nations not needed at this time to score cheap political points.

  87. @American Marlene Barbera Probably feminism did take a wrong turn as u state. Trailblazers often make mistakes without any guide book to help. There are none who have gone b 4 them on the new path. However, men share equally in this problem as they have happily accepted the economic and social advantages of working spouses, while too often failing to step up to share in family chores and responsibilities. Many men closely define their roles as chief breadwinners as their nearly sole responsibility. Too often such men go home to be cared for, rather than to step up to be full partners with wives who in these times often work, too. This is in no way bashing men or those who assume that role, but rather these comments recognize that statistically men have been revealed as a group to lag behind in updating their POV of the necessity of their participation in the day-to-day activities of home and child-rearing. This approach can leave wives and mothers with 3-4 "jobs" including their career positions. Ideas that housework and child-rearing are "women's work," and that anything feminine like this (or feelings and emotions) is beneath the "superior" male position fade slowly and are replaced with new roles when power and patriarchy are the focus, rather than the concepts of "happy wife, happy life." BTW: Husbands who willingly participate are more likely to find eager and rested wives when it's time for sex. Few things are more a turn on than help and caring in this context!

  88. The New York state governor and New Yotk city mayor have both done great jobs at harnessing the resources of the city and state for this serious public health challenge. Following rules and laws of the land MATTERS GREATLY. Otherwise, we end up like the movie "Escape from New York" scenario, for example.

  89. I think deblasio waited too long to close schools and to put it the restrictions in place.

  90. The New York state governor and New Yotk city mayor have both done great jobs at harnessing the resources of the city and state for this serious public health challenge. Following rules and laws of the land MATTERS GREATLY. Otherwise, we end up like the movie "Escape from New York" scenario, for example.

  91. Here in NYC, in the matter of restaurants now resort I'll ng to out going orders only, folks delivering food and the like are largely undocumented individuals/immigrants who live marginal lives, in a large part. Could not these same people now serve as vectors for transmission of the virus while delivering food - house to house? Apartment to apartment? This, too, is a potential public health disaster too, no. Perhaps they will use 6 feet poles or wear space suits for the deliveries? Consequences for ignoring employment laws, no?

  92. “Consequences of ignoring employment laws”... yes. But more really a consequence of horrible disparities in income and privilege.

  93. Here in NYC, in the matter of restaurants now resort I'll ng to out going orders only, folks delivering food and the like are largely undocumented individuals/immigrants who live marginal lives, in a large part. Could not these same people now serve as vectors for transmission of the virus while delivering food - house to house? Apartment to apartment? This, too, is a potential public health disaster too, no. Perhaps they will use 6 feet poles or wear space suits for the deliveries? Consequences for ignoring employment laws, no?

  94. This comes down to individual responsibility. The kind of individual responsibility that preceeds governmental action. Every human on this planet has the benefit of knowledge of what happened in China and Italy. And every human who knows that, knows that losing money, going broke, or even starving, is nothing compared to the requirement we all have to stop this virus. Waiting for local or state or god forbid federal mandates to stay home is how this virus will spread. Blaming government for anything here is water oxygen. It is only up to individuals to do the right thing and stop this. When the smoke clears feel free to blame whomever you want, but if you want to live it is on you and you alone to do the right thing, regardless of the current regulations as handed down from above. Stay home. Lose money. Struggle, suffer, but do the right thing.

  95. @Rooney Translation: young people, hourly workers, and freelancers should bankrupt themselves to benefit the elderly, who still get to collect their pensions and social security and medicare benefits. To be clear: for roughly 99% of young people, the worst-case scenario of developing covid-19 is laying in bed sick for a week; the worst-case scenario of social distancing is months without pay, job loss, stunted careers, bankruptcy, being forced to move in with family members. How exactly is that the right thing to do?

  96. @Michael Michael, your us-vs-them mentality is very disturbing. I just turned 65, and have watched my retirement savings disappear like a puff of smoke in the wind. Even so, I have to pay my local taxes, about 80% of which go toward schools for the younger generation, and my state and federal taxes, which pay for public universities; for the roads or public transit systems you depend on to get to work; for the police and fire protection we all use; for the medical and safety net services people of ALL ages require. And my age group is, by far, the most likely to volunteer to do essential work in our communities. I'm not just some parasite sitting around collecting checks.

  97. @Rooney Things might look very different to you if you were starving.

  98. Group type homeless shelters are largely petri dishes now and dangerous. Do we use empty upstate prisons for relief which is really just as problematic as the group homes? But at least the 6 feet separation rules would not be a problem to enact though. Maybe this is GOOD!?

  99. I’d like clarification on your stats. The latest numbers are 60k total homeless in NY. So then how can 1 in 10 students be homeless if there are a million students. That number is simply impossible.

  100. About NEW York? No, about America. The superpower whose president is constantly threatening to wipe other countries off the face of the earth, it turns out, is not even prepared for chemical warfare (by nature or otherwise). All those billion-dollar instruments of destruction lie idle, their potential operators even afraid to step out. America needs to rethink "national security" after this.

  101. If you close schools, there needs to be a paid leave law, at least for the short term.

  102. I’m glad that a way was found to both close down the schools but also not create chaos. I know many are concerned about why it took so long, but the absolute chaos in airports shows why it is important to not just move quickly but also with planning. The organization and planning is why we have governments.

  103. I remember prior to the Trump administration educated people would talk about these potential issues then they would address them in depth. Much talk after Hurricane Sandy reports done and Mayor Bloomberg did nothing. Why is it so hard to spend money on discussions that matter and do reports written by educators n their field of expertise on issues that matter to Americans. If we had done this hard work three years ago we would not be in this scenario. Instead we have loud mouth politicians who cant manage anything but the continuation of lies. They offer nothing of meaning to the conversation. Issues= workable solutions not more hot air We know the issues we refuse to think and achieve solutions. Why we have become a dysfunctional society whose interest is all about just me and making money.

  104. Closing schools is not a good idea. Adolescents will congregate in other spaces such as malls, arcades, fast-food restaurants, and cinemas. The best move would be to educate students about the origins and etiology of the latest pandemic. Keep them focused and busy on their schoolwork. The highest risk groups are the elderly and those with underlying health issues. If schools close, all furloughed teachers and staff should receive their regular pay and benefits. Schools can reopen during the summer session if conditions permit. Otherwise, teachers can be asked to make up for lost content during the next school year. More people will likely lose their lives to gun violence, opioids, and established diseases than to this latest scourge. Media hype is contributing to the growing hysteria--palpable at local stores--and needs to be toned down. "Social distancing" is an apt metaphor for our times. Social proximity and education are the real antidote.

  105. New York City has been too intent on pandering to the very wealthy. It has been money over people for far too long. This is a moral issue with real life complications. Look at the infrastructure. The BQE is the same as it was 50 years ago. The City is one hurricane away from another 100 year flood. Our schools should be examples of the best of all of us, not the worst. Cherish children over money. Dysfunction in Albany has compounded many of the cities problems, with a patchwork of work stalling rules that prevent road repair, fair housing, and equal distribution of tax dollars. Educational requirements are political, not educational. How has the wealthy responded? By packing up for the Hamptons. They do this today, in the false belief that their splendid homes will protect them. They won't. 9-11 was a relatively isolated disaster. So was Sandy. Wealthy New Yorkers, holding all the power, care little about the care of an autistic child living in a homeless shelter, or the paraplegic child of a single working mother living paycheck to paycheck. They despise the homeless. Immorality does not just live in Mar A Largo. Steve Bannon described Trump as the "Great Disruptor", but for this? Do profits Trump the value of human life?

  106. It should not be a surprise to us by now. Politicians have become increasingly skilled in winning elections and increasingly inept in governing. Rather than leading and providing the basis for calm, they are following, waiting for the people to determine what is politically necessary.

  107. The logical conclusion of this editorial is that a much expanded welfare state is needed in the US. In the immediate future one can only hope that temporary subsidies and careful planning can convert the schools into child and health care facilities (i.e. where food and testing for Covid19 are available, and kids are supervised). As for social distancing measures, negative imperatives (don't congregate too closely or in crowds) must ultimately be enforced. I've heard nothing about the potentially vital role of police. Police officers have complained about a lack of training for the situation. Now with mass closings of schools, bars, restaurants, concerts and other venues, young people can be expected to congregate in ways that go against the purpose of the closings. If the distancing is to work, it must be enforced (I don't mean in a heavy-handed way as in authoritarian states, but in an effective way consistent with the new mandates). Also, if we are canceling and closing so many things, we should think about how to compensate. If we close schools, we should have clear plans about opening them back up as community centers for the vulnerable population this article addresses. Ultimately, we will have to make real structural changes or the working poor will struggle to their own and everybody's detriment. We are all interdependent and rise or fall together-- as covid19 makes clear, and climate change and other near-future problems will also make quite clear, I believe.

  108. All jobs which do not provide paid time off are essential jobs.

  109. So the CDC says stay home if you test positive. Many cases are mild. Doctors where I am will not test unless symptoms are severe. This is incredibly short sighted.

  110. Andrew Yang's UBI policy, the Freedom Dividend, on which he campaigned is sounding very good right now. I invite readers to check out the non profit that was inspired by his message: Humanity Forward.

  111. Although the issue is the fact that schools closing will affect jobs for hardworking parents, it should be noted that the root cause of all these issues is the fact that the household expenses and bills won't stop coming. Hourly paid working Americans just cannot afford to be out of work for 14+ days for "self quarantine."

  112. What corona is showing us is a future world view if we take climate change seriously. The satellite maps of China showed clean (for a change) air for example. I wouldn’t be surprised if the rate of rise of co2 briefly leveled off from the economic drop downturn. The price of oil also reflects less demand from this. I think it also shows that we aren’t going to make any substantive progress. Our numbers (billions too many people) and economic system (dependent on cheap, wasteful use of resources) is incompatible with any meaningful solutions.

  113. @AT Wow, you got All of That but didn't notice the Elephant in the Room? What good is all this talk of Carbon Tax and eliminating Fossil Fuels if China doesn't change ITS behavior?

  114. It took hundreds of years for the Roman Empire to implode. Looks like the American Empire will get it done far faster. Rather than functioning for the benefit of all citizens, we (pronounced "The Republican Party") favors endless tax cuts for the Pluto-Corporatocracy, spending gobs of cash on the MIC that wages Perpetual War for fun and profit, weakening regulations of all sorts - including those on the very air we breath and the water we drink (Yikes!!), preferring to incarcerate our citizenry (in for-profit prisons!!) rather than providing it with reasonable access to housing, food, education and health care, blah and blah. America, we had such potential…

  115. Now the US has experienced numerous climate related hurricanes with destruction of homes, disruption in power and water AND a pandemic resulting in serious morbidity and disruption of services. What is the plan when these two catastrophic events overlap, which they undoubtedly will.

  116. @Margaret P. There's a third catastophic event; Trump's election. America is now the Puerto Rican hurricane crisis writ large and what we saw as abhorrent years ago in the distant micro we are now seeing in the local macro. Lying, obfuscation, self-aggrandizement, profiteering, deflection. Every member of the GOP--elected or electorate--need to be held accountable. We are un the midst of the worst health crisis in a century and the president is calling reporters 'nasty' for asking basic questions, lying about our preparedeness, denying responsibility, wearing campaign hats to crisis centers, considering pardoning Flynn (now THERE'S something crucial right now, huh?) and conducting industrial espionage trying to bribe vaccine doctors out of Germany so he can privatize a vaccine. We saw this coming 4 hyears ago when he mocked a disabled reporter andlied about his tax returns. We watched it happen in PR, Charlottesville, Ukraine, and the floor of Congress. Any takers on the how 45's campaign is discussing postponing the election?

  117. Regarding the issue of child care I think that everyone should have child care. But I think that this issue is not relevant to the current issue. If people did have child care wouldn't it need to be shut down to prevent the spread of the virus.

  118. To all those that make it possible for the rest of us to stay home (hopefully without 'cabin fever'), while fighting to control the coronavirus crisis, our heartfelt thanks!

  119. The extreme income and wealth inequality that characterizes our society is immoral, and now, obviously, deadly. Important as they are, we greatly over value the contributions of billionaires, multi millionaires, the 1 percent, while on the other hand we totally take for granted and undervalue the front line workers who labor in the many vital industries and services that also make our country worth fighting for. But given the results of the Democratic elections thus far, a majority of Americans seem to prefer just getting back to normal, with more incremental, rather than substantial, changes to the status quo. That is certainly understandable given the disruptions caused by Trump and now the Coronavirus which has exposed, yet again, his utter lack of fitness for the office he holds. But sooner or later we will be forced to reckon seriously with the root causes of the situation we are in. The sooner, the better.

  120. Comparing NYC to Singapore in objective cleanliness or culture of cleanliness is delusional. NYC has 19th century mode of dealing with garbage, while Singapore is spotless. These are totally different cases, incomparable, which is part of the part. NYC is a unique case. But what's misleading is to believe that sort of problem (pathogen or climatic) is isolated. This should be an opportunity to BEGIN TO DEVELOP the infrastructure–technological, social, and educational–to get through emergencies.

  121. The failure of the trump administration is causing a ripple effect all across America. If the problem would have been attacked head on from the early stages, the schools would not be closing. Now we are experiencing a haphazard response. Remember this on election day.

  122. @Here in Jersey ........and yet...........and yet....... his delays and belittlings have kept his approval rating at 42%. It makes my head explode.

  123. @Jerseytime Fox News is the answer, my Jersey brother.

  124. It is truly sad to me that this nation, arranged for plutocrats by plutocrats, is in the situation it is today. Even more sad to me is that many of the most vulnerable and poorest Americans, those most at risk from a failed economy so vastly favoring the wealthy, continue to vote in every election for furtherance of this failed system.

  125. @Thomas You don't understand. Those they vote for allow them to buy and keep as many guns as they want without any restrictions. They say they believe in the same God as they do. And, they blame everything on "those other people" like they do. Its been working for 40 years.

  126. Tricky subject. Even if you had the money, what if teachers and childcare employees can't or won't work. The government can pay parents to stay home with their own children. That's the only real solution. However, that means someone is out of work. Like it or not, you're talking about a universal basic income. That's what's required if you're closing schools or teachers strike. There are obviously special needs cases even within that subset. Single parents in essential services. However, the cash problem is solvable. You pay people to provide their own childcare. It won't be cheap but you're at least realistic. The next problem is logistics. Food scarcity is already a problem. Grocery stores are cleaned out. If they close, you have a serious distribution problem. You'll almost certainly need Army or National Guard. Social distancing is a third problem but not one I'm overly concerned about. Teenagers like to congregate. However, provided they have 10 square feet and an internet connection, they'll work things out fine. You can include the cost of an internet connection in the UBI. Better yet, have ISPs donate internet service. Internet should be a public utility anyway. The rest is just hardware. You can sunset the benefits in September depending on economic conditions. Problem solved.

  127. Without disagreeing with the editorial’s premise, I feel it garbles some facts. The poverty line in NYC (2016) is $32,400 for a family of four (two adult, two children). The editorial says 75% of students are below the poverty line, and describes people without health insurance, then talks about municipal employees (health, safety, teachers etc.) City employee salaries vary by occupation but according to the Citizens Budget Commission (also 2016 data), the average income for civilian workers is $66,500; pedagogical $70,000; and uniformed $109,000. (These figures include overtime but do not include the cost of benefits, such as retirement and health care.) And City employees do have health insurance. I’m not saying it’s easy for a family to live in NYC on one income such as these, but City employees and their children have health insurance and are not below the poverty line.

  128. Thank goodness my wife and I are plugged into a community of good friends who are parents, many with the flexibility and socio-economic status to be able to stay at home and trade off on providing child care. I know many other working parents will be forced to fend for themselves.

  129. Our culture of entitlement is rearing it's ugly head and it looks a lot like Methuselah. As frightening as this time is also our opportunity to right the wrongs we have been ignoring for decades. Income inequality, health care as a privilege rather than a right, jobs without benefits or that do not pay a living wage, poverty, health care for profit...the list goes on and on. Our culture of entitlement is not simply about the 1% and the rich folks below them, although they are the stars of the show...our culture of entitlement includes you and me. If you were born into a two parent household, lived in a home or apartment however modest, and went to a reasonably safe school for 16 enjoyed privilege far beyond the majority of the human beings on the planet. Seriously. By virtue of your birth, you enjoyed rights and privileges millions of people on this earth don't even know how to dream about. You were blessed with good fortune simply by virtue of your birth. Think about it. Now think about what you - we - did with that fact. Did we use it to be our brother's keeper? Did we pay it forward? Did we stand up and speak up for those who did not receive this fortunate "gift" of our birth? Nope. We did not. Now is our make it right. To quote JFK, "If not us, who? If not now, when?"

  130. The editorial refers to the " federal government’s contemptible failure to rapidly provide testing to track the paths of the virus" Statements like this are horribly misleading and counterproductive. The Federal government, in particular the CDC, did not hoard tests, or make them only available to the wealthy. The huge number of tests we need were simply not available. The CDC can, and did, produce tests, but it does not have the capability of mass producing them in the quantities the country now needs. The biological reagents needed cannot be made in large quantities on a moment's notice; the process takes a while, and tests must themselves be tested to ensure they are reliable. The Times should know this. It is major pharmaceutical companies that have the skills and facilities to mass produce tests, and presumably they are working on it. Give them a chance to do there job. The FDA is trying to provide a compromise between requiring rigorous efficacy testing of such tests and the need to get them on the market quickly, If there is an enemy here, it is America's tort lawyers, who are close to bankrupting or financially crippling Big Pharma when the country needs a viable drug industry. In the 1970's and 80's trial lawyers nearly shut down the vaccine industry in the US; only a last minute no-fault law by Congress allowed US vaccine availability to continue. Congress needs to act again, and quickly, to allow major drug companies to do their job.

  131. @Alex Trial lawyers did not cause drug company issues. Drug company errors, and the resulting injuries to people who took their allegedly safe drugs, cause the issues. The notion that drug companies are in crisis due to being picked on by the legal system is absurd. Pharmaceuticals are one of the most profitable industries in the US. In any event, your diatribe against holding companies responsible for their mistakes has nothing to do with the testing issue. The Federal government refused the WHO offer to provide tests. I don't know why. Instead, the US was forced to reinvent the wheel. Tests are still not generally available, and this has resulted in the very obvious pattern of only the rich and famous getting tested. Some, because they found themselves in nations who had sufficient tests. As they taught us in the Army, its the leader that takes the blame or the acclaim for the performance of his/her unit. There is no reason why such should be different with Trump.

  132. @Alex We could have taken advantage of the tests provided by the WHO and been well ahead of the curve. Political appointees at CDC and FDA and perhaps elsewhere, however, decided these tests were not good enough and that we would therefore develop our own. Debacles ensued, and we are still unable to provide tests across the general population at anywhere near the necessary levels.

  133. @Alex Er, the Rest of the World managed to produce hundreds of thousandsof test kits on very short notice, and continue to do so.E.g., Soth Korea is testing thousands of people daily.

  134. I would like to see this editorial on every legislator's desk - both state and federal - the next time a $15 minimum wage - or a $20 minimum wage - is debated. We willingly, happily pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to someone who can throw a football or sink a basket and millions to those who can creatively dismantle businesses. But we pay next-to-nothing to those who keep our cities running day-in and day-out. But I'm guessing when this pandemic is over and life goes back to somewhat normal, we all will have forgotten ...

  135. @Barbara This is naive and foolish. An artificial rise of wages to those levels will just be met with a negating rise in prices essentially accomplishing nothing. Minimum wage jobs were not meant to support a family.

  136. It would appear that we must re-learn the lessons of the Progressive Era. Those in power realized back then that contagious diseases did not care who you were, or how much money you made, or where in town you lived. So, they developed the first public health services, inoculations, public sanitation and regulations on apartment complexes for light, air and density.

  137. The virus will sweep through the poor, and then they will no longer be susceptible. While the rich keep hiding and imposing draconian movement restraints on everyone. For many, the virus will be done in two months but for many it will last years while they hide. I find it quite disingenuous that our governments pretend to care about all the people. They never have before. There is no time in the history of this country when what will happen to the lower class people (the way the wealthy think of most of us) has been of any concern. This is proven through their historic reactions to every threat. It has always been their money that they were concerned with, and it will be the same this time.

  138. What do these people do when there kids are sick in regular times ? Why can't that be done now. The school system should not be a nanny state. Ever since the DOE was formed the US rankings in Education have steadily declined.

  139. @Norville T. Johnston Seriously? You're asking what happens when one kid is sick for a day or two? The parent stays home for a day or two and loses wages, that's what happens. What do YOU think happens when all the kids are home for weeks or months? Agreed, the "school system should not be a nanny..." But, it is. And until we're ready to ask and answer the bigger and harder to solve questions, this is where WE ALL are. How's your fortress of solitude working for you?

  140. The people who can leave NYC have already left. They went to their second homes outside the city, or went to stay with friends or family. I guess the author doesn’t realize that? The people left are the ones who can’t leave because they have nowhere else to go or the urgency of the situation hasn’t sunk in yet. Manhattan is an island. Everything and everyone that comes in/out has to go thru the limited number of bridges and tunnels. Even the surrounding boroughs are hard to get out of when everyone else is doing the same. I lived in NYC during 9/11, the 2003 blackout and hurricane Sandy. If you can leave the NYC area, the time is now.

  141. Teacher here with 30+ years in the trenches. Save for the 10% or fewer of students, who actually learn anything more than a smattering of barely assimilated facts in our schools, public education in America is little more than a mass childcare service, which allows the parents to work. Sorry, but the argument that kids will miss out on an education if schools close for the duration of this year is just uninformed. (The accountability blinded will blame teachers for not doing their jobs, and I concede there is a social-emotional education that good teachers impart to kids that will be lost, and that is a real tragedy.) Hard to gauge whether kids will have more human contact outside or inside schools, but at least some will be more socially distanced beyond the Petri dishes of crowded classrooms. I would be more inclined to sacrifice myself to the risk of exposure to the virus if it could be empirically shown that keeping kids in schools will result in the best practical benefit for all. But it cannot. Given the bonds we have with our kids, most of us would gladly be in school to help them through this crisis, but we’re tired of being shamed and blamed for a myriad of problems, and we need to protect our and our families’ health to be able to deal with what lies ahead.

  142. @egocogitans First, thank you for your service but I don't know how you got shaming teachers from this opinion piece. As a non-teacher I got a much more informed reality of how interconnected we all are. My daughter spent her entire pre-college education in NYC public schools and it saddens me that your comment suggests that kids don't learn anything. I cannot agree with that.

  143. The schools are not a daycare

  144. When it takes two incomes to even pay rent- yes, the schools must be daycare. Raise wages.

  145. The Editorial Board NEEDS NEEDS NEEDS to start writing pieces calling for financial help for workers affected by the virus. I have a friend who is on the chopping block for his city job and others who work in the restaurant business that effectively have no income. For myself, I'll be coming out of grad school in a few months with debt and no job prospects. With elderly parents and grandparents, I recognize the importance of social distancing. But the longer this goes on, the more the working class will feel like they are making unnecessary economic sacrifices just to keep some upper middle class office workers safe. The news media in general HAS to push congress to act so we can continue to keep the at-risk population safe without forcing people to chose between making rent or keeping loved ones healthy.

  146. Neoliberal policies over the last 40 years although propagated on a much larger scale by Republicans who care not a shred for working people, the poor and whose mantra is cruelty for all. Should we be surprised that this is what has happened to our country and our great city. Until people finally rise up and say enough, nothing will change and the rich will only get richer....Give me a "socialist" country any day of the week.

  147. Read this again - 1 out of every 10 child in New York is HOMELESS. While Mnuchin is trying to brag about the US money, the economy, buddying with the wealthy - 10% of NYC kids have no home! As much as those of us have no clue what it must be like to be homeless and we are grateful for what we have - why have backs been turned on children with no homes? What have we done and why is it ok to pretend it’s ok? In this the United States? I’m ashamed of myself for being so blind. We have a homeless shelter right here in my little town in rural Wisconsin. My goal will be to get involved and try to do something for homeless kids. I grew up poor, but never feared not having a roof over our heads. This trauma for kids is tragic. How about you, New Yorkers? Would you be willing to pitch in for an innocent homeless kid? How about Mnuchin, would he?

  148. @MIMA Because our city has been turned into a playground for the wealthy. It's that simple.

  149. @MIMA Isn't there someone in the State itself that is More responsible for 1 in 10 children being homeless than Mr. Munchin? But you zero in on the Fed because he is part of the Trump Admin? No blame for Cuomo or De Blasio? Or just the Democratic Party in general that lords over New York?

  150. It also reveals that NYC is a densely populated city with over eight million people, and a perfect environment for a highly contagious airborne virus to spread like wildfire.

  151. Here is an closing-the-barn-door-after-the-horse (possibly dumb) thought experiment: Everyone over 50, plus those in a high-risk group due to co-morbidities, might have strictly self-quarantined for a few weeks. Healthy people under 50 could have carried on with their lives and work and the business of the country, stringently avoiding their elders and the at-risk, getting sick with CV but (mostly) getting well and thus immune (as far as we can tell). Then, after the wildfire had died down, the elders/ill could have gradually been let out of their cages, without overwhelming the system, and without exhausting the healthcare workers who care for those who get ill and need hospitalization. In terms of this thought exp., the closing of universities and dorms, and possibly even the schools for younger kids, would have been counterproductive in the sense that these healthy young people have now been dispersed back to their home nests, to be with their at-risk parents/grandparents, with or w/o a stop first at the bar. In Wuhan, a huge percentage of the COVID-19 cases were “family clusters.” Says WHO Assistant Director and epidemiologist Bruce Aylward: “You look at the big, long lists of all the cases and identify those where you have clusterings in space and time and try to investigate what kind of clustering happened: Was it in a hospital, an old-age home, theaters, restaurants? We found it was predominantly in families.”

  152. It WAS an easy call to close. This exact outcome — as is the case for ALL schools in the tri-state area — could have been decided by these feckless and perseverating pols TWO WEEKS AGO, when it could have saved lives, time and treasure.

  153. I am amazed at how many vulnerable people live in New York. Combine sky high rent and low wages without benefits, and you get this. New York has always been an immigrant city, so you are used to this situation. But not after Corona. If anybody gets sick, the whole city gets sick, rich people too. You will get thru this somehow, with many acts of heroism. But its even more reason for the Green New Deal.

  154. And the Mayor, local government, has had to take the lead, not the nations leader, President Trump.

  155. Why is the DOE opening food centers when they have records 0f where people live and could probably get food delivery services or food banks to accept and deliver the meals to those neighborhoods? Maybe not practical, but something to maybe look into? Our schools have more and more become social service agencies, more for social learning, feeding, medical services...and less and less places of learning. We have never truly addressed the social ills so any people are forced to endure, and now the ramifications of all that are coming home to roost.

  156. Isn't the response so far intended to ruin the lives of working people and drive them further into a hole. Made weak they will have to capitulate with more of the dictates of their wealthy overlords, the owners of the government. Expect the corporations to come through this in great shape due to the tax money of the working serfs that our fearless leaders will decide is best spent on them and not working people and their families.

  157. Please stop with this recognizing heroism, exploitation, and struggle of the working-class as a line of journalistic integrity/objectivity/whatever. Start to articulate demand lists if one is serious about the well being of the working class in NY and beyond. And maybe admit that capitalism is the philosophy of life embraced by wealthy, and want to be wealthy - is being used ruthlessly to dominate the working class. And some institutions such as Cop, Military, Bank, Prison, and nowadays information tech are a crucial part to control the life and grief of the working class. I did not realize how bad it is until I started to provide a popular service in the North Brooklyn neighborhood filled with wealthy, and mostly white people. The lifestyle of these Humans is everything that is wrong with our society. They successfully created a "Whitopia"; buildings full of empty apartments, security guards, high-end grocery stores, and eye-poking tall organic dystopia by the Hudson. I did not realize that I would have to see something like this in NY city when I immigrated here in 2011.

  158. Now we need a statewide curfew: No Children under 18 outside without a parent or legal guardian, unless on their way to one of the child care centers being set up.

  159. While I do not believe that the corona virus should go unnoticed and nothing should be done about it, I don’t think panicking about this pandemic would be the best option. Limiting your time in public gatherings, keeping personal space, and good hygiene might not keep you completely virus free, however it will go a long way. I struggle to agree with the fact that if people are sick it is selfish for them to go to work because they still need to provide for their families in any situation. Teachers especially in no way should be bashed like this because they often get sick. The problem is not teachers, the problem is that society has no guaranteed paid sick leave for all workers. In that case I do not believe it is selfish for workers to go to work sick because they still need to provide for their families, they should keep a basic amount of hygiene and keep their space from others.

  160. Wealthier New Yorkers now reside in the Hamptons, the Berkshires, Woodstock, and West Palm Beach. Same as in September 12th, 2001. Same as it ever was. Same as it will ever be.

  161. I would agree with this assessment to a degree. Yet, Michael Bloomberg had the greatest plans for the school system, but the basis was strong parenting, discipline, achievement driven rewards, and his plan hit a wall of anger because it stripped a system based in self-pity and blame of any cover. I am all for my taxes rising if the results help people, but a system that enslaves its poor and calls it help and compassion is a corrupt system. A legal system that stresses rehabilitation always gives us a wave of violence and crime. On a side note, how depressing that the mayor quietly tried to keep the schools open, risking lives, all to preserve a progressive ideology. Schools should not be soup kitchens nor daycare centers. It's no small wonder why some kids never make it out of circumstances not of their making. I feel sorry for them.

  162. @MCS Our legal system does not stress rehabilitation nor does the NYC school system enslave the poor. You're barking up the wrong tree.

  163. @Kevin Rothstein with due respect, if you hadn't heard, the bail system has been suspended. Subsequently, many acts of violence have been reported, all from career criminals recently released. Innocent poor people are their victims. Have we no heart for them? I'd vote to double my taxes and volunteer my time to help any person in an underprivileged situation, and I've done so on many occasions. However, it's a false system to look at these matters without grey areas and with a clear political and ideological bend. I've had it with Trump and just as much with Di Blasio, two populists men with no integrity, character or intellect.

  164. You would think NYC would include the more than 100,000 homeless children who suffer severe food insecurity in their plans.

  165. " A system that has left the working poor so vulnerable — without decent health care, child care and other forms of support — turns out to have created tremendous vulnerability for the society as a whole." But what do we care? We have our nut and our gated community (or the NYC equivalent, the high-rise and doorman) and can keep all that away. I hear the French are reading Camus again: The Plague.

  166. In this public health emergency, how are the many homeless people sleeping on our streets and in the alleys being dealt with? Are they allowed to stay on the streets to serve as potential sources of infections?

  167. I think the author and all the other stakeholders arguing to keep the schools open do not really understand the gravity of the situation. The comparison with Hong Kong is flawed, because Hong Kong initiated much earlier border closures and social distancing than the US. As compared to the US, there was also a functioning Covid19 testing program available, which allowed to identify and isolate infected persons at an earlier stage. Nothing of that was at work here. In particular New York City is, with its population density and diversity, the prime target for a pandemic in the US. People apparently think that there will be some sort of Hail Mary pass available which will kick New York out of the zone. If the numbers go up here like in Italy in the next two weeks, and they will do so if the same complacency continues to be at work, all hell will be loose in NYC. The schools must close, and Mayor DiBlasio took the right decision.

  168. I have been teaching in NYC public schools for 20 years. Attendance on Friday was low (68% in the system overall and about the same in my 3rd grade classroom) and would undoubtedly have gotten lower if the schools had remained open. Several additional parents had contacted me over the weekend saying they were not going to send their kids in this week. I'm personally quite lukewarm about educational technology and am not looking forward to teaching remotely--I love being with the kids and I think learning at this age is strongly based in social interaction--but I think that under the circumstances, remote instruction has a much better chance of reaching a higher percentage of kids than if the schools had stayed open.

  169. Deprived of social safety net and affordable healthcare access it's the working people from the poor marginalised sections of society that are really vulnerable to further loss of income and jobs at a time when the public health emergencies like the present coronavirus pandemic strike societies marked for sharp social and economic divisions.

  170. To create jobs we need to declare healthcare equipment/pharmaceuticals to be a matter of national security and order all manufacturing to be done domestically.

  171. I'm from Jackson Heights originally. New York is home. It isn't hard to feel compassion for the entire city. It is an American icon. Unfortunately, even the "coronavirus" program is destabilizing a social culture known for its tough skepticism and fierce independence--and sense of humor. It's also hard to isolate New Yorkers, but even there, the concept of "social distancing" is a fascinating, if mendacious State construct that seeks to break up or lessen social and cultural cohesion and inter-dependence, and instead replace it with a dependence on government. It will be a case study in sociology to see how it plays out in NYC.

  172. An excellent editorial. A cure for all of this would be Medicare for All. It is puzzling to see that The New York Times finds it difficult to endorse Bernie Sanders.

  173. This may be an obvious statement to many, but urban school systems are tasked with delivering services that suburban school systems would not even think to be in their scope of responsibilities. Over the decades urban school systems have morphed into social services agencies that also teach. Or try to. While closing the schools in my opinion is the right thing to do (as the mayor did here in Boston). The implications of closing big urban systems are exponentially greater than suburban systems need to deal with.

  174. When someone asks me why I support Bernie...

  175. The disingenuous tone of this editorial is simply staggering. It is written as if the New York Times has been in the forefront of clamouring for single-payer healthcare, paid sick leave, paid parental leave, childcare, solidifying the strength of labor through unionization, liveable wages and affordable housing. The New York Times has actively militated against these hallmarks of a strong welfare state. A Times' family business, Sulzberger-Rolfe is a major force in the real estate-industrial complex which has helped render New York City unaffordable. Now that a global cataclysm threatens humanity, the Times is calling for the very policies it has condemned on a daily basis when espoused by Bernie Sanders. To quote the great Joseph Welch, "At long last, have you no shame?"

  176. Wow. If only you the Editorial Board were the mayor . . . Or The President. We would be so much better off. Darn. Not helpful at all. Always easy to sit up in the peanut gallery and shout out what should have been done. Try doing something helpful, good or bad, right or wrong, you have an outsized voice. In this particular time, your criticism of everything . . . Does nothing.

  177. Wow you are starting to sound like Bernie. And that is a good thing!!!! Whenever an institution such as yourself arrives at an expanded consciousness...a more nuanced awareness... the sun shines a little brighter.

  178. America the Beautiful? Almost no safety net for the poor, the sick, the aged? That says it all.

  179. NYT- please tell us where and how we can help those children and families who need extra assistance right now. Spell it out for us New Yorkers! We need to help those in need.

  180. A collective shaking of the head. People making millions and billions a year are clearly not earning their salary. You are fired. Let’s get some real experts in here. We are now 2.5 months behind the rest of the world. A little weary of the Kushner playing house - peace deals that never happen, asking a buddy to explain science, speech writer - please go back to selling real estate. People without a paycheck, schools closed, hospitals unable to perform life saving treatments. Thanks you Netfix for some mental relief.

  181. The NYTimes asks what happens when working people are so vulnerable without decent health care and child care that it puts the whole city at risk? Does the NYTimes have any role in the bias against Bernie Sanders as the next Democratic nominee for president? Bernie has tirelessly advocated for livable wages, healthcare for all and paid sick leave. And now the NYTimes Editorial Board thinks it's a good idea? When there is a global pandemic not seen since 1918. I guess better late than never.

  182. “ the federal government’s contemptible failure to rapidly provide testing to track the paths of the virus.” That is a characterization to thrill conservatives, who have spent 40 years and more starving and dismantling government. No, the phrase should read: “the Trump Administration’s contemptible failure to provide testing....”

  183. It would be great if New York and the wider US had adopted a lot of what Singapore is doing. But frankly pulling one aspect out of their complex strategy is more than a little disingenuous. But then this is the editorial board that can't endorse anything. Listen to scientists, yes, but not as cherry picked by these buffoons. To trust the Times editorial board at a time like this, is the same as the President.

  184. What the coronavirus has revealed about the New York Times would have been a better title. That the Times repeatedly reports Trump's statements at his various news conferences as though they made any sense, as though they were accurate representations of events, as though he was not making a dangerous crisis much much worse with deadly consequences is a travesty.

  185. Dear Editorial Board of The New York Times: You can't have it both ways. Either you accept and acknowledge that a national health system that covers everyone, regardless of income or tax bracket is a necessity, and a right in our society, or you continue advocating for our disastrous status quo. This posturing about the plight of the most vulnerable rings a bit hollow and hypocritical when the majority of your Op-Ed pages for the past few months have been dedicated to undermining the very idea of a national health system. Yes, that thing that Bernie Sanders calls Medicare-For-All. We aren't even allowed to contemplate the possibility of such a system, let alone demand it. Because Paul Krugman, Frank Bruni, David Leonhardt and Thomas Friedman tell us it can't happen. Not possible. No way. I don't need that system. I get very good coverage through my employer. Many others do not. I don't mind paying a bit more for my own coverage, so that the less fortunate gain access to the same kind of care that I currently enjoy. The question for you is: whose side are you on? Do you believe that health care is a basic human right, or a privilege? You can't play both sides. Not this time.

  186. @Bob The Builder Thank you! 100% with you

  187. This is the right decision!

  188. Don't worry. Biden will fix everything with his centrist, corporatist agenda.

  189. The CDC has determined that individuals with certain medical conditions are at risk of severe coronavirus illness. Employers should probably encourage these individuals to self isolate, and local governments should also probably advise employers operating in their zones accordingly to protect these individuals:

  190. UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME! Dem Candidate, Andrew Yang had it right. We cannot go on like this anymore. We need cash directly into our hands not a bunch of services with bureaucratic bloat!

  191. Gee, it almost sounds like you're calling for a political revolution. Yet this page has hammered Bernie in 2016 and recently. Go figure.

  192. Writing from neighbouring Italy where last night's death toll was 200 and in Spain 300 overnight deaths from CVID-19, reading some of these comments reminds of me how we in EU saw this coming but denied it for way too long. We refused to close down the schools, exposing our little ones, teachers and school staff to the virus. We have finally did shutdown the schools, bars, cafes, restaurants and cancelled all recreational activities. We have even shut down our borders. But, it is way too late for us. Don't make the same mistake NY.

  193. The mayor’s cowardice and lack of leadership is a shame for our great city. As a public school teacher I spent the entire weekend worrying about what viruses I would be exposed to, how many people I might pass the infection onto, and how many additional hospitalizations I might be responsible for in going in to work next week. It took the governor forcing his hand and the health care union working with the teacher union to make this happen. Our mayor was too slow to respond and is fully responsible for our city turning into an Italy situation next week. He has blood on his hands.

  194. This is not about rich versus poor, NYT. The very people we all want to protect - our poorer communities- are at just as much of a risk - or even more - of being ravaged by this virus. Yes, federal action is abysmal. Yes, testing is abysmal. Yes, no health care or sick pay is abysmal. But most of the New Yorkers you appear to be lecturing here about what they should remember vote Democrat and did not vote for these policies. Stop making this about class warfare. If you saw your average NYC public school (I see two every week, both of whom serve underprivileged kids) - they are impossible to keep clean, impossible to keep the kids apart (every child uses the cafeteria). All efforts at social distancing that are going to wreck the economy are meaningless without better policies in the schools, because kids are carriers of covid19. And until we come up with a better solution and better testing - closing the schools to avoid infection and our hospitals being horribly stressed and overrun - was the only solution.

  195. NYT editorial board posts this article then demonizes Sanders plans as too radical. I mean its absurd. Sanders is 100% right. This virus has laid bare how barbaric our system is. When we are concerned about closing the schools because our poor are so pauper they cannot feed their children and rely on school lunches, we've seen a system that has fundamentally failed. But Biden wants us to return to this world and just get rid of Trump. It's truly the height of privilege to want a return to "normalcy". The reality is normalcy for most americans is desperation and fear on how they're going to survive.

  196. Reaping what you sow can be so unpleasant. Let's have some input from those in the $14.6 million dollar and over condos who just received a well deserved tax cut.

  197. Reopen Times Neediest Fund so wealthiest can contribute billions to help poor NYC working folks trying to pay rent and buy food with their jobs gone.

  198. What can the administration do to battle the massive downturn and unemployment we are about to face? Declare all pharmaceutical manufacturing a national security matter, and mandate all to be brought back to US. Americans should not be at the mercy of any nation, hostile or otherwise for its survival. Same with Healthcare equipment. Corporate greed has made us vulnerable to blackmail. Then go and build massive inventories of it for use in emergency. We cannot expect hospitals to do that investment, just like we don't expect gas stations to build oil reserves. Somehow we think we can go around the world destroy countries, kill millions with the promise of fixing it all up at the end. Trillions have gone to that in last 20 years, and now we really look pathetically stupid because we din't plan for a situation like this. It happens once every 100 years is no excuse. Banks don't face physical disasters either, but they are REQUIRED to have and test their disaster recovery plans.