Is a Second Wave Starting? New Yorkers Are Steeling Themselves

As the number of virus cases rises, anxious residents are taking precautions and making sure they are prepared this time.


By Michael Wilson

A father of three in Brooklyn is back to stockpiling medicine and rubbing alcohol. A publicist has put her plan to return to her office in Manhattan on hold indefinitely. And a mother in Central Park has again — and again — delayed bringing her 15-month-old daughter back to the toddler music classes she loved.

“Big groups of kids, we’re not doing any of that,” said the mother, Aneya Farrell, 34. “She hasn’t seen a lot of babies over the past six months.”

As the city faces its first notable increase in coronavirus infections since a springtime surge killed more than 20,000, residents are again looking at their neighborhoods and wondering, after each rise in numbers, each passing siren: Is this a second wave?

The recent increase prompted Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to order lockdowns in several parts of Brooklyn and Queens where the infection rate has risen most sharply. The restrictions mostly affected neighborhoods with large Orthodox Jewish populations. But other neighborhoods faced partial lockdowns, including the canceling of indoor dining.

“It’s scary and upsetting,” Ms. Farrell said, “because we had such a good streak going.”

The increases have rattled many people in those neighborhoods and beyond, reminding them of the dark days of March and April when it was impossible to meet friends, eat out at a restaurant, go to church or visit parents.

Some New Yorkers see the rise in cases as a harbinger, the footfalls that announce an intruder’s arrival.

“I feel like the second wave is here — that same kind of doomsday feeling,” said Anya Ferring, 40, a fashion production consultant who lives in Far Rockaway, Queens, one of the neighborhoods experiencing a partial lockdown.

During the pandemic, Ms. Ferring mostly maintained masked social distancing around her friends, with the masks gradually coming off in the summer. But recently, several of her friends have tested positive for the virus or have had to quarantine.

On a recent Saturday, she sat in Herbert Von King Park in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, with a friend, Kelly McKay, 39. Both wore masks.

“Summer is over, and the fun is over,” Ms. McKay said.

In several interviews in the past several weeks, city residents shared deep frustrations with their fellow New Yorkers who don’t appear to be following the same rules. The solidarity forged in the springtime outbreak appears, in some neighborhoods, to have fractured in the fall.

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