Coronavirus: Packed New York parks are ‘slap in face to medics dying on frontlines’, says ER doctor

‘I’m in Central Park right now and it’s business as usual’

James Crump
Monday 04 May 2020 15:17 BST
Sunny weather brings out crowds in Central and Prospect Park as New Yorkers appear to ignore lockdown

A New York City ER doctor has criticised the actions of thousands of people in the city, who were filmed sunbathing in parks over the weekend, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Cleavon Gilman, a doctor at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Washington Heights, tweeted his disapproval, alongside a video of New Yorkers sunbathing in the park.

“16,000 New Yorkers dead in 8 weeks! This is a SLAP in the face to healthcare providers nationwide risking their lives and dying on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic,” he posted.

“I’m in Central Park right now and it’s business as usual,” Mr Gilman added.

Twitter user @wrychrd replied to Mr Gilman, and asked: “What is the issue? Looks like all are in small, likely household groups distances from each other by more than 6ft. It is large indoor gatherings that are the biggest problem.”

Mr Gilman replied: “They are not wearing masks and they are not six feet apart.”

There have been a confirmed 174,000 cases of coronavirus in New York City, and upwards of 13,58 deaths, as the city has become the epicentre for the virus in the US, according to Google’s dedicated coronavirus page.

Although the amount of deaths in the city decreased to 280 on Sunday, from its peak of 799 in mid April, New Yorkers are still advised to adhere to social distancing measures.

In early April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommended that everyone in the US wear a face mask, or cloth face covering.

“CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain,” their guidelines read.

On social distancing the CDC recommended that people “stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people, do not gather in groups, stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings.”

On Sunday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo warned that despite a drop in deaths in the state, people still needed to be careful.

“My gut says the the weather is going to warm, and people want this over,” he told reporters. “They see the numbers going down. They can take false comfort.”

He added that police officers will enforce social distancing, as they issued more than 50 summonses over the weekend in the city, according to Business insider.

“I know people want to get out of the house,” he said. “fine. Wear a mask and socially distance. That is your social responsibility in the middle of this overall pandemic.”

According to a tracking project hosted by Johns Hopkins University, there are now upwards of one million people who have tested positive for coronavirus in the US. The death toll has reached at least 67,710.

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