How will the Metropolitan Transportation Authority weather the coronavirus crisis, which rivals 9/11, the 2008 financial crash and Hurricane Sandy in its seriousness?
This disaster is unique, in that a big part of containing it means keeping people off the subways and buses. Washington should acknowledge this fact as it prepares emergency aid to states.
Our state-run MTA, deeply troubled in normal times, is pretty good at handling acute emergencies. After Sandy, the authority amassed bus caravans to get people to and from Manhattan when tunnels were flooded, helping to get New Yorkers back to work quickly. The MTA even resumed most service on the afternoon of 9/11 to help people flee the aftermath of the attacks.
Coronavirus, though, is the opposite of all past MTA crises, where the goal was always to get as many people around as possible, whatever the physical difficulties.
This time, the goal is the opposite: keep most people away from each other to slow the spread of the virus and prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed as they treat the sickest patients in ICUs.
Last week, Gov. Cuomo closed Broadway, stadiums and museums to encourage people not to gather together. Most New Yorkers who can do so are working at home.
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