For decades, progressives have pushed relentlessly for public transportation to replace private cars and for greater population density to provide cheaper housing. But now the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on New York—our most crowded, car-free big city— demands reconsideration of these priorities.
New York City has twice the density and three times the COVID-19 death rate as London—and 16 times the death-rate of automobile-dependent LA. Riding elevators in crowded, high rise apartment buildings leaves you uniquely vulnerable in a pandemic, and riding subways, buses and taxis can bring infection from surfaces or from sneezes of fellow passengers.
Even some of our left-leaning urban planners must ponder the lessons of the coronavirus: instead of making the rest of the nation more like New York for the sake of the environment, maybe New York should become a little more like the rest of the country for the sake of public health.