Downtown Manhattan street after city lockdown amid covid-19 virus

Supplied photo.

By Nicole Murphy

A family from Edmonton currently living in New York City sends this message back home to Canada: “Overreact.”

The family of five has made the decision to shelter-in-place to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The normally bustling city has been the hardest hit by the pandemic, with about 8,500 cases as of March 21, 2020.

Gord Leder works in the heart of Manhattan, building high rises with a construction company. He went downtown on Monday to pick up some work supplies to aid him in working from home and self-isolating with his family.

The busy streets of New York were empty except for some emergency vehicles and the odd pedestrian.

Although no one in their family has symptoms, Andrea Leder was recently visiting family in Edmonton. As she had travelled on a plane, their entire family has made the choice to self-isolate.

“Our neighbour next door potentially has [the virus], so it is really close,” said Gord Leder.

They explained that it took their neighbour five days to get a test done, and he is currently waiting up to five days to receive the results back.

“Moving here and trying to learn the U.S healthcare system was difficult. I am terrified of having to be hospitalized. I mean, that is the number one cause of bankruptcy in the States, medical bills,” said Andrea Leder.

man walks down an empty street in Manhattan amid covid-19 lockdown

Supplied photo.

The Leders recently received a letter saying testing for COVID-19 is covered by their insurance company. However, they explain there are lots of things to consider. Is it just the testing, or the treatment as well? Additionally, there are different prices at different hospitals, so even though coverage exists, there seems to be widespread confusion as to the details of what this means.

The United States are dealing with similar problems as Canada but on a bigger scale due to the larger population. As of March 15, 2020, all New York public schools are closed, construction workers’ temperatures are being taken on worksites, and Grand Central Station’s doors are staying propped open. These are some of the changes, big and small, implemented to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“We are a young healthy family. It will likely come into our home and we will be fine, [but] it is once you realize your impact and responsibility for the rest of the population, that is the point we are trying to drive home with our kids. By self-isolating, you are potentially saving lives,” said Andrea Leder.

The Leders’s extended family lives in the Edmonton area.

“I’ve never been more thankful for technology in a time like this. To be able to FaceTime and text, it takes the edge off,” said Andrea Leder.

“I think the one statement that stuck out the most to us is…we will never know if we overreacted and did too much, but we will definitely know if we underreacted and didn’t do enough,” said Andrea Leder