LIFE in New York amid the Covid-19 pandemic is “very, very strange”. Nearly 50,000 cases of the disease have been confirmed in New York City alone and around 2000 people have died of the disease in New York state which has the largest number –around 40% – of confirmed cases in the United States.

Schoolteacher Deborah Hickox (below), who lives in Manhattan, told the Sunday National how the city had changed.

“There are hospital tents in Central Park because there are so many patients,” she said. “That is very scary. I personally don’t know anyone who has died but an 11-year-old child at our middle school has lost both maternal grandparents.”

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Hickox, who is over 65 and in a high-risk category, has suffered symptoms similar to those caused by the virus and self-isolated for a fortnight but is unsure whether she has had the disease as she has not been tested.

“I am working remotely but yesterday I went out to go to a book store and walked up Broadway,” she said. “It was interesting to see the number of people who are wearing masks.

“There’s not a limit to how long you go out but there is not much to go out for. The only things open are regarded as essential services such as grocery, liquor and drug stores.

“Some of the police are getting the virus now so I think they are limiting how much they are doing with regard to policing people who are out and about.”

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The city has been in lockdown for three weeks but Hickox said it already felt like an eternity.

“Life is very, very strange,” she said. “It is very hard. I had a family Zoom with my son and his wife and my grandsons who are 11 and 13 and my grandsons got all dressed up for it. It was pretty funny but it just makes you want to be with them.”

However she added that she approved of how New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was handling the pandemic.

“I wasn’t a Cuomo fan but now I am because I think he has done an amazing job and I think most people feel that way,” she said. “It’s pretty clear that Trump had information in February that he just sat on.”

It is a sentiment echoed by her daughter, Jane Eve, who lives in nearby Brooklyn.

“People do have faith in Cuomo but not necessarily in the federal government,” she said. “I wish they had all acted faster but I don’t know if they can do more now.”

Eve, who has two young daughters and works in human resources for a well-known beauty company, added that people were becoming anxious.

“At first people were all outside and in the restaurants and bars up until they closed but it has really changed and people are much more nervous. It is very, very difficult but also it feels a little bit like the new normal,” said Eve (below), whose daughters are two and four years old.

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SHE said they were too young to understand why they now needed to stay indoors so much.

“My older daughter is supposed to do school online but she hates it. She cried the other day and said she didn’t want to do school on the iPad and wanted to go back to her real school and see her friends because she missed them. We do FaceTime play dates but she wants a real play date.

“There is a parking lot near us that we have been taking them to let them ride their scooters.”

One of Eve’s biggest worries is that she is uncertain whether she has had the virus.

“I was exposed at work and developed symptoms,” she explained. “I called my doctor and she told me I had it but there were not enough tests so I was to stay at home.

“It took me about a fortnight to feel like myself again.

‘‘I didn’t get enough opportunity to rest as I had to take care of my girls and we live in a two-bedroom apartment so there is really no way to isolate.

“Both girls had a minor cough so I was worried about them, but the other thing that is hard is that I don’t know for sure if I had it because I was not tested ... My husband is still very afraid to go outside in case he catches it but I am more afraid that I am exposing our building to it.

‘‘It is scary because we don’t know whether we should be protecting other people or protecting ourselves from other people. We would have better peace of mind if we knew one way or another.

“It was only very recently that I went back outside and there is marking in all the stores that are open so that people stand 6ft away from each other and they are only letting a certain amount of people in at a time.

“I would say about 90% of people are wearing masks and gloves. The atmosphere is quite nervous,” said Eve.

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