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Making National Sense of a Localized Crisis

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The USNS Comfort passes the Statue of Liberty as it enters New York Harbor during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City, U.S., March 30, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Even the New York Times now acknowledges it: the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t so much a national crisis as it is a localized New York catastrophe. Columnist Bret Stephens shows New York City alone – representing less than 3% of the national population – suffered more coronavirus deaths than 41 states combined.

New York State has registered 79 deaths per 100,000 residents; only three states outside the North East – Louisiana, Michigan and Illinois – even show a death rate of more than ten per 100,000. California and Texas, the largest states by population, report combined death rates of less than 4 per 100,000- less than one-nineteenth the New York rate.

Nevertheless, the Big Apple remains the headquarters for national media and financial institutions, which amplifies the impact of the city’s agony. All Americans must care about New York’s losses, but the restrictions applied to citizens in much less afflicted regions don’t need to follow the New York model forever.

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