36 photos show how New York is getting through the world's biggest coronavirus outbreak

Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty ImagesAn Air Force member exits a tent builded as makeshift morgue outside of Bellevue Hospital on March 25, 2020 in New York City.
  • New York has been hit hardest by the coronavirus outbreak in the US, leaving the streets eerily empty and the hospitals and morgues overwhelmed.
  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo has extended the stay-at-home order until at least May 15, keeping all schools and nonessential businesses shuttered.
  • As the state grapples with overtaxed medical systems and a surge of new patients, authorities have rushed to build makeshift hospitals and ramp up precautionary efforts.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The coronavirus outbreak in the US has hit New York the hardest, and the City that Never Sleeps is unrecognizable. By Friday, the state had reported more than 222,000 cases and at least 12,000 deaths.

To grapple with this surge, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has extended the state’s stay-at-home order until at least May 15, ramped up testing efforts, built multiple makeshift hospitals, and ordered all New Yorkers to wear face masks in public.

These photos reveal what it looks like in New York as authorities scramble to contain the outbreak in one of the nation’s most populous states.


New York is the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in the US, causing one of the most densely populated cities in the world to feel eerily empty.

Victor J. Blue/Getty ImagesA woman wearing a mask walks the Brooklyn Bridge in the midst of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on March 20, 2020 in New York City.

But hospitals are a different story. They have become overwhelmed with the number of patients needing intensive care. Since the pandemic began, more than 32,000 people have been hospitalized in New York City.

ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty ImagesAn elderly person arrives on a stretcher, and is admitted to NYU Langone Health Centre hospital on March 23, 2020 in New York City.

Sources: NYC Health, USA Today


In just 24 hours in late March, 13 patients died at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, prompting one medical worker to call the situation “apocalyptic.”

ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty ImagesMedical workers outside at Elmhurst Hospital Centre in the Queens borough of New York City on March 26, 2020

Source: The New York Times


One doctor in New York City told Business Insider Today: “It’s really horrific and it’s not going to get better anytime soon, especially if we start leaving our houses and not staying home.”

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Medical personnel move a deceased patient to a refrigerated truck serving as make shift morgues at Brooklyn Hospital Centre on April 09, 2020 in New York City.
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ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

Source: Business Insider


To relieve hospitals, the Army Corps of Engineers have built makeshift hospitals around the city. They transformed the Jacob K. Javitz Convention Centre in Manhattan into a 1,000-bed hospital that opened to patients on March 30.

BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP via Getty ImagesA temporary hospital is set up at the Jacob K. Javits Centre on March 27, 2020 in New York.

Source: Business Insider


The US Army Corps of Engineers also turned the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, the Aqueduct Racetrack facility in Queens, CUNY Staten Island, and the New York Expo Centre in the Bronx into makeshift hospital sites.

Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.comBrooklyn Cruise Terminal.

The evangelical Christian humanitarian aid organisation Samaritan’s Purse has reimagined parts of Central Park into a 68-bed emergency field hospital. The site has been treating patients from New York’s Mount Sinai hospital system since April 1.

Kena Betancur / AFP) (Photo by KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty ImagesWorkers set up a field hospital in front of Mount Sinai West Hospital inside Central Park on March 29, 2020.

Source: Insider


On March 30, a US Navy hospital ship dubbed the USNS Comfort arrived in Manhattan equipped with 1,000 beds, 12 operating rooms, a laboratory, and more than 1,000 Navy officers to relieve overwhelmed hospitals in the city.

Mike Segar/ReutersUSNS Comfort in New York.

Source: Business Insider


The USNS Comfort wasn’t going to be used for coronavirus patients, but began to, and has so far treated at least 130 people with COVID-19.

Rhona Wise/AFP/Getty ImagesUSNS Comfort in 2019.

Sources: WTKR, Business Insider,Business Insider


More than 76,000 healthcare workers — many of them already retired — have volunteered to work in New York hospitals as the situation becomes more strained.

Steve Pfost/Newsday RM via Getty ImagesHealth care professionals take a break awaiting patients as they test for COVID-19 at the ProHEALTH testing site in Jericho, New York, March 24, 2020.

Source: Forbes


But healthcare workers are growing anxious as masks and other protective gear remain scarce. Some hospitals have transitioned into only treating coronavirus patients, and doctors have told Business Insider that the “new reality is unreal.”

Misha Friedman/Getty ImagesDoctors test hospital staff with flu-like symptoms for COVID-19 at St. Barnabas hospital on March 20, 2020 in New York City.

Source: Business Insider


A shortage of hospital beds and ventilators has forced some hospitals to ration out resources — and in the most extreme cases, form a plan as to what patients will get treatment over others.

Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty ImagesNew York Mayor Bill de Blasio holds a face shield as he speaks to the media during a visit to the Brooklyn Navy Yard where local industrial firms have begun manufacturing Personal Protective Equipment

Source: Business Insider


One doctor in New York City told Business Insider Today that deciding which patients to intubate or ventilate is “a matter of when, not if. We will have to make those decisions in New York very soon, and our goal is to put that day off as far as possible.”

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Medical workers take in patients at a special coronavirus intake area at Maimonides Medical Centre on April 06, 2020 in the Borough Park neighbourhood of Brooklyn
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Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider


On April 15, Cuomo ordered all New Yorkers to wear a mask or cover their face in public where social distancing cannot be maintained. This includes on public transportation, inside grocery stores, or walking on crowded footpaths.

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A man wearing a protective mask walks two dogs during the coronavirus pandemic on April 16, 2020 in New York City.
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Cindy Ord/Getty Images

For information on how to construct your own mask at home, look here.


For the first time since 9/11, New York City set up makeshift morgues outside of hospitals using refrigerated trucks and tents, in preparation for mass coronavirus casualties.

Carlo Allegri/ReutersWorkers construct a makeshift morgue outside Manhattan’s Bellevue Hospital on Wednesday, March 25, 2020.

Sources: Business Insider, CNN


The state has ramped up testing efforts and opened up new drive-thru stations, making it the most aggressive testing state in the country. At least 28 public and private labs have been approved for testing by the FDA.

Steve Pfost/Newsday RM via Getty ImagesA cotton swab used in a nasal passage as health care professionals test for COVID-19 at the ProHEALTH testing site in Jericho, New York on March 24, 2020.

Sources: Business Insider, CNBC, The COVID Tracking Project, New York State


One funeral director told Business Insider correspondent Dave Mosher that “no one in the New York City area possibly has enough equipment to care for human remains of this magnitude.” In late March, one person was dying from the coronavirus roughly every six minutes in New York City.

Sources: Business Insider, Gothamist


At the current pace, with thousands of new cases and hundreds of new deaths reported each day, the process of New York returning to normal is expected to take months at least.

REUTERS/Carlo AllegriA man is wheeled into an ambulance during the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., March 27, 2020.

Source: The New York Times


“This is an invisible beast. It is an insidious beast,” Cuomo said. “This is a moment that is going to change this nation. This is a moment that forges character, forges people, changes people.”

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New York governor Andrew Cuomo speaks in the Manhattan borough of New York City
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Reuters

Source: Business Insider


But there might be hope. The number of hospitalizations has been slowly declining over the past couple of weeks, suggesting that New York might have hit the apex of this wave of infections.

Eduardo Munoz/REUTERSA man wears a face mask as he walks near Young Israel orthodox synagogue in New Rochelle, New York

Sources: Business Insider, The New York Times


Social distancing efforts have also showed promising results in New Rochelle, New York, the area that was previously hit hardest. The small city located in Westchester County, north of New York City, reported a significantly fewer number of cases following their lockdown efforts.

Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesEmpty streets, restaurants and cafes make up the business area in the one mile containment zone on March 11, 2020 in New Rochelle, New York.

Sources: The New York Times, Business Insider


And for the past couple of weeks, New Yorkers have been sending hope by applauding healthcare workers from their apartments and making encouraging signs.

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Medical workers are seen outside NYU Langone Health hospital as people applaud to show their gratitude to medical staff and essential workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic on April 16, 2020 in New York City.
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Noam Galai/Getty Images

Photos of New York City streets show people largely adhering to the social distancing guidelines. All nonessential businesses, public schools, and tourist attractions have been shuttered, leaving the streets unusually quiet.

Spencer Platt/Staff/Getty ImagesPedestrians passes an entrance to Stuyvesant High School closed due to coronavirus concerns, Monday, March 16, 2020, in New York.

Source: Business Insider


Even Times Square, one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions, has become largely abandoned.

Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesA nearly empty Times Square is seen during the coronavirus lockdown on March 29, 2020.

Source: Business Insider


Where the streets are typically littered with tourists, entertainment, and taxis, this aerial shot shows Times Square without a pedestrian in sight.

REUTERS/Jeenah MoonA view of empty streets in New York City.

A famous Times Square personality, “The Naked Cowboy” stood amid the empty streets, and wore a mask as he waited for tourists in March. But stay-at-home orders and travel restrictions have kept foot traffic low.

Victor J. Blue/Getty ImagesNew York personality The Naked Cowboy greets tourists as Times Square is mostly empty in the wake of the Coronavirus, COVID19, outbreak on March 18, 2020

On March 28, the CDC issued a domestic travel notice for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, urging Americans to avoid “nonessential travel” from the region, leaving New York airports largely empty.

Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesPeople walk through a sparse international departure terminal at John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) as concern over the coronavirus grows.

Sources: Business Insider, CDC


New York City playgrounds, including this one in the vast and sprawling Central Park, have been shut down. Cuomo has closed all playgrounds and basketball courts to maintain social distancing, but parks remain open for exercise.

John Lamparski/Getty ImagesA nearly empty playground in Central Park as New York City attempts to slow down the spread of coronavirus through social distancing on March 30, 2020

Source: New York Times


But people have found creative ways to get some fresh air. Some lucky New Yorkers with roof access have used the spaces to work from home.

Michael Loccisano/Getty ImagesA teacher from Yung Wing School P.S. 124 remote teaches on her laptop from her roof on March 24, 2020 in New York City

The New York City subway system is still running for essential workers and necessary travel, but many stations have been left looking abandoned.

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Source: Business Insider


This mall and transit exit in lower Manhattan is typically bustling with people.

Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesA person exits the subway at an empty Brookfield Place mall in lower Manhattan on March 29, 2020 in New York City.

Daily subway commutes are down 93% since February, dropping from about 4 million people to just 400,000.

Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Source: Business Insider


Cuomo extended the stay-at-home order for all nonessential workers and schools throughout the state until at least May 15, leaving many bars and restaurants shuttered.

REUTERS/Andrew KellyA worker sweeps the floor after closing time at McSorley’s Old Ale House, which, established in 1854, is referred to as New York City’s oldest Irish saloon and was ordered to close at 8:00pm as part of a city-wide order to close bars and

Source: The New York Times


But restaurants are still allowed to offer takeout and delivery.

REUTERS/Carlo AllegriA delivery person rides a bike down the middle of 7th Avenue in mostly deserted Times Square during the coronavirus outbreak in Manhattan on March 23, 2020.

Throughout the outbreak, New Yorkers have stockpiled food and supplies, leaving some supermarkets swept clean.

John Lamparski / Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty ImagesEmpty store shelves are seen in a supermarket as people has been stocking up for food and other essential items fearing the supply shortages.

By Friday, the US had reported nearly 700,000 cases and at least 36,000 deaths. Public health experts think New York may have hit the peak of the first wave, and hope the US isn’t far behind, but expect more waves of outbreaks until we have a vaccine or treatment to truly get the coronavirus under control.

Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesA patient with a face mask is being carried to an ambulance at the Maimonides Medical Centre in Brooklyn, New York, United States on March 25, 2020.

Sources: Johns Hopkins, Business Insider

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