News ‘It’s ominous’: Living in locked-down New York City during coronavirus

‘It’s ominous’: Living in locked-down New York City during coronavirus

As coronavirus case numbers in the US exceed one million, the country's death toll is now more than that of the Vietnam War. Photo: Getty
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Around the world, huge cities have fallen into silence.

The new coronavirus is keeping one-third of us indoors.

Some things are the same, those who can still go to work, it’s just from their lounge rooms.

Some things are new, we’re learning to connect in different ways.

Some things are a lot more serious. The collective grief we feel at losing so many reverberates across the world.

The New Daily has spoken to people staying inside to help save lives across the world. Last week, we talked to Maria Andujar, about what it is like in Spain right now.

Now, New Yorker Kyle Bryant, 33, explains the ‘ominous’ silence that has fallen on the Big Apple.

“From what I’ve seen from friends who are still required to commute, it’s shockingly empty,” he told The New Daily.

Kyle Bryant, 33, has been stuck inside for four weeks.

“Typically in harsher winter months, early in the year, very late at night, you’d sometimes be able to walk around Times Square with basically nobody there but you.

“It’s a surreal feeling, like everything is there for just a moment … all for you in particular. However, this calm is just … ominous and sad.”

New York is buckling under COVID-19. Time Square now lights up in messages of hope to empty audiences, Central Park is deserted and the Statue of Liberty looks out over a quiet harbour.

The new coronavirus has killed more than 10,000 people in the city and infected more than 200,000. Those are just the ones that were tested.

Last week, the government ordered that everyone needed to wear a mask if they go outside.

Mr Bryant has been in isolation for four weeks. He lives alone in his apartment – but says it’s going well.

“My perspective on this is loaded with the privilege of being an office worker who can work remotely and has a reasonable financial position after years of not having that.

New York is like a ghost city. Photo: Getty

I live alone, so I’ve been doing decently well getting along with myself. No major fights, as of yet, which isn’t outside of the realm of possibility with me, as I tend to narrate and work through stuff out loud with myself.

“Mostly productive conversations so far, though we’re early in, so who knows?”

He keeps busy by re-watching favourite films, listening to podcasts, exercising, video games, and like many others around the world, practicing his sourdough starter.

“Recently I baked bread for the first time in my life which turned out … as well as I need it to, given that I’m under lockdown and my baking choices affect me and me alone.

“I mean, it was actually rather lovely bread … sort of? I don’t know.”

In New York simply leaving the house has become a health hazard. One of the biggest changes has been implementing a routine to make sure his apartment stays virus-free.

“The process for me is that I only go out if I absolutely have to. Sleeve for touching knobs and doors. Expose myself as little as possible. I always have something covering my face, a scarf, usually, I can’t find gloves or masks online anymore.

“And I treat everything I bring back with me with spray sanitiser, isopropyl alcohol is all I have at the moment, after spraying myself down and washing my hands.

Like for many people living in isolation, time has turned into a weird concept. He misses people and eating meals out. But he doesn’t miss the tourists and ‘their insufferably slow walking speed’.

The first thing he’ll do when he gets out is to eat, with mates.

“I will order two massive pies from Screamers Pizzeria in Brooklyn, pair them with a super fancy delicious beer, and possibly share some of that with some friends. Maybe. They may need to get their own pies.

“Actually, let’s be real, they’re definitely gonna need to get their own pies.”