The measures to curb the COVID-19 is currently priority and everything else has taken a backseat as the pandemic has brought the whole world to an unusual standstill.
From the biggest country in the world, Russia, to the smallest, Vatican City, the virus has affected almost every part of the world. As of May 4, 2020, only 13 countries have managed to escape the deadly virus, according to statistics provided by Johns Hopkins University. Fair to say, whenever this ends, the world will never be the same again. The virus has forced several instances that had never happened before.
Numerous vibrant cities across the globe have the reputation of being lively and active around the clock. But there are two particular cities that people say “they never sleep” – New York, USA and Mumbai, India. Since New York is the original contender of the tagline, Mumbai is fondly called the New York of India. Not just the financial capital, Mumbai is also India’s hub for fashion, film and commercial.
Mumbai, residing on seven islands, is the city where Indians from all over the country come to with a dream of making a career for themselves. Call it, the ‘Maximum City’, ‘The City of Dreams’ or ‘The Land of Opportunities,’ it has the power of making a person’s life and at the same time, destroying it. Regardless of what the outcome is, it has always been identified as a city where you need to match its pace to survive.
Being the most populous city in India, life in Mumbai is not possible without the services of the local trains.
For the first time in the history of Indian railways, all the lines of the Mumbai locals have been suspended for the public. A few trains are functioning, but those are only for essential services, besides government employees. The local trains, which ferry over 75 lakh people to their respective destinations every single day, stop at over 125 stations.
In 2005 and 2017, Mumbai locals were hit by massive floods and then there were bomb blasts in 2006 but the city’s lifeline, the local trains always got back to action within a few hours. Even the 2008 terror attack could not shake the Mumbai trains’ ‘spirit.’
To stop the COVID-19 from spreading further in Mumbai, the capital city of Maharashtra, the government has continued to keep the local trains suspended and it’s been over a month, the city has been in a complete shutdown. Due to its mammoth population, its the worst-affected state in India with close to 18K cases reported and close to 700 deaths.
While the suspension of the local trains has brought Mumbai to a halt, New York, on the other hand, has come up with a more organised plan to keep the city’s subway system – the largest in the USA – running, while they take required precautions in these intense situations of the pandemic.
The US was probably among the slower countries in getting the coronavirus testing programmes underway and hence, there are no surprises that it has reported more cases than any other nation in the world. More than 1,235,947 cases have been reported in the US, 330,139 of which have been confirmed in New York, making it the worst affected state in the country.
The people in the country, especially in New York have been asked to stay put at home and all the non-essential businesses have been suspended as of now.
New York City (NYC) houses the busiest subway system in all of the Americas, which has been in existence since 1904. In fact, with a total of 468 stations, it is the subway with the most number of stations in the world. While they could have gone the Mumbai way and shut the services in the wake of the pandemic, the New York subway authorities have come up with a more strenuous proposal.
Earlier this week, for the first time in 115 years, NYC purposely shut down its entire subway system. From here on, until the virus situation prevails, the cleanings will be done on a nightly basis, from 1 am to 5 am. When the cleaning is done, every single subway car will be sterilised. As soon as it struck 1, past midnight, the stations got filled with a small group of cleaners, cops, social workers and nurses.
“We’re the city that never sleeps and we’re proud that the manifestation of that is that the subway runs 24-7,” said Pay Foye, chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, according to news reports.
To accommodate the loss of train service, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has added 300+ buses to its usual overnight routes.
While the authorities have taken a huge step to keep the city’s biggest mode of transport live and running, experts have warned about the consequences of this drastic step.
Thousands of homeless people in New York sleep in the subway stations every night and the overnight shut down, every single day here on would mean, those people will be forced to head to the streets or into city shelters, where more than 700 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent weeks.