The Big Idea: Governor Andrew Cuomo just declared a State of Emergency for Covid-19. We can help him stop the virus by shutting down NYC. Its simple. Take a week to prepare and then take a week off. No trains, No planes, No school, No work, No gatherings (Churches, Synagogues or Mosques), No sporting events with fans, No concerts. Nothing. Everyone shelter in place for 7 days and clean. For 1 week. No surfaces for the virus to live on. No groups to cross contaminate. Then re-access and resume our lives.
Here is what I think he should do now.
On March 9 — Declare a start date and end date on National Media for this ‘Voluntary Shutdown’ (I’m thinking shutdown would begin on March 16)
Appoint a CZAR. A real one, a scientist/MD with great television skills maybe Sanjay Gupta from CNN… someone everyone trusts. Then give updates often.
Take over the Media — Use NYC Public Access, Channel 13, Channel 21, NYC, WCBS 880 and WINS 1010 to reinforce the message and get people to prepare. Have Police, Fire, EMS and Experts Rotate on a 24 basis. Keep giving the re-assuring messages and tips along side reminders not to hoard. Have each person describe the upcoming roles for first responders etc. How to use 311 to protect the most vulnerable. How to keep kids entertained, positive and focus. How to take walks with 1 foot of distance between each person and laugh about it. etc.
RATION basics and Open Up EBT — Help the vulerable to stock up for the week. Use the media to have people plan meals and apportion sizes. Limit price gouging, hoarding and bulk buying.
Encourage Companies to get into the act — Microsoft Office could open up Office 365 for a month. Zoom could offer their services free for a month, so everyone who can — WORK FROM HOME. Spectrum can comp the month and bump up the speed. (Mine is horrible and I pay $175.00 a month). Cellphone companies please offer free tethering
Encourage Churches, Mosques and Synagogues to get into the act. Livestream services, start prayer groups and senior phone lines. Get a census of all vulnerable members (Keep their personal info private please) but find a way to do wellness checks on everyone.
Get a signaling system for Essential workers in Place. A printable large card for their car. Have everyone who needs to travel wear a uniform and have an ID. Set times for certain services — All Amazon/Mail deliveries in the evenings for example (Some medications are done by mail) to keep activity to a minimum
Guarantee a weeks pay for all — For those without benefits through some type of special program. Where is Andrew Yang when you need him. Have people text their number to 311 to apply. Put it on the blockchain. First name ***** at 914******* applying for $1000.00. Let them be sent the money on VENMO, CASH app or wherever. Place signs in all CheckCashing Places. Those without digital cash can get a green dot card. Forget the ID, the money will expire in a week. Believe me the cost of helping the vulnerable will be much cheaper than the cost of caring for them when they are sick. If the government does not do it lets setup an opensource site on the blockchain, Venmo and Cash app ID’s only and send each other money….Like THIS (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/07/us/politics/venmo-2020-campaign-staff.html)
Then on the morning of March 16, 2020. Shut it — ALL down. No Metro North (except for essential workers — ID only) . Limited subway service (essential workers — ID only). Police on all the bridges. Everyone is free (and encouraged) to walk around and get exercise, but the aim is to limit gathering in groups and spreading the contagion. The NYC media team could give updates on number of persons self-reporting as the week passes on. Everyone would be encouraged to clean their local area as many persons may be asymptomatic or carriers.
This “voluntary” shutdown is important for two reasons. Preservation of privacy and practice for the next pandemic. China has gone to great lengths to limit citizens activities in ways that are not compatible with American values. The need is there. We need to find a way to accomplish the same result with less dystopian and privacy infringing methods. Feel free to add to the list or share your thoughts. We need to act fast!