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A Tale Of Two Cities: Seattle And New York’s Response To The Pandemic

A woman walks through an almost-deserted Times Square in New York City. Why did New York and Seattle have such different responses to the pandemic?
A woman walks through an almost-deserted Times Square in New York City. Why did New York and Seattle have such different responses to the pandemic?

Seattle was the first epicenter of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak. But by mid-April, New Yorkers were dying at six times the rateof Washington State residents.

Why? A new investigation indicates that in Washington, leaders let scientists take the lead. Businesses and schools were shut down quickly. But in New York, politicians didn’t let health experts take charge.  The city was slower to issue stay-at-home orders.

Tom Frieden, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, estimated that if New York had started implementing stay-at-home orders ten days earlier than it did, it might have reduced COVID-19 deaths by 50 to 80 percent.

We talk with journalist and author Charles Duhigg about his investigation on why these two cities fared differently and what this tells us about what may happen in the rest of the country.

Copyright 2020 WAMU 88.5

Danielle Knight