China announced plans to quarantine Wuhan on January 22 when the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases was near 500 and threatened to go exponential or out of control. The number of confirmed cases in NY state has now passed that threshold by three days and it is growing exponentially.
Most of the confirmed cases in NY, NJ, and CT are located in the metro-NYC area. If the US wants to adopt China’s successful, albeit painful, quarantine program they must do so NOW. Many people with the benefit of hindsight criticized China for such draconic measures while others criticized them for doing it too late. WHO seemed to be the only major organization that had praised China for its decisive action at that time. Now is the time for Governor Cuomo, or really President Trump to adopt a strategy similar to China’s before the virus escapes the hot zones such as metro-NYC, Seattle, and San Franciso and the pandemic gets out of control everywhere in the USA. The entire metro-NYC area should be quarantined because so many NJ and CT residents work in NYC. They need to be allowed to travel freely within the quarantine zone for critical business or else too many people will be tempted to violate the boundaries. Currently, Mayor De Blasio favors a shelter-in-place policy for NYC but Governor Cuomo is downplaying it. They, along with the governors of NJ and CT, need to adopt it now for the entire metro-NYC area before they lose control of the situation and forever regret that they acted too late. Yes, it would be painful but we are talking about the lives of 56M citizens in the Northeast.