The cellular news flash desribes the situation in the United States at present.

THE United States, the worlds’ third largest population, has recorded more Covid-19 related deaths than any other nation, yet hope remains a light at the end of the tunnel for many.

A sentiment echoed by many, Malaysians in the US also expressed fears for the worst but remain optimistic pandemic will eventually end.

Concerns expressed by Malaysians were raised when the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University disclosed there were 629,264  cases and 26,708 deaths recorded.

Process quality engineer Adli Shah Adnan, 29, who lives in the Midwest Iowa City, told Bernama while everything was normal as he still continued to work from home, there were a few problems he faced during the pandemic.

“I think the key is to focus on your mental health. I’m somewhat extroverted and outgoing so, to combat that, I still meet up with friends for walks, as long as there are fewer than 10 of us and we’re six-feet (1.82m) apart,” he was quoted.

Most states in the US enacted shelter-in-place (stay-at-home-order), which is similar to Malaysia’s Movement Control Order (MCO) but minus the forcefulness of the authorities.

“Non-essential businesses are closed, restaurants are only allowing pick-ups or deliveries, schools are closed, there are no gatherings of more than 10 people and we practice the six-feet social distancing.

“Here in Iowa, the governor has not placed a shelter-in-place but a lot of similar measures have been taken,” he explained.

Meanwhile, psychotherapist Ezza Melina Mustaffa, 28, who lives in Chicago, Illinois, said the situation in the US was continuing to escalate, with a real shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as the N95 masks, as well as beds and ventilators.

“The Governor of Illinois, J.B. (Jay Robert) Pritzker issued a state-wide shelter-in-place order from March 21,” she said, adding that the order was set to end April 30, though it’s likely to be extended.

The order, she said, meant that it was mandatory for everyone, except for essential workers, to stay home although they were still allowed to take walks, go to grocery stores, gas (petrol) stations and pharmacies.

“From my observation, people have been adhering to the order and practising physical distancing. I still go for runs or walks outside and see others doing the same while keeping their distance from each other.

“I also noticed that the streets of Chicago are quiet, and people have started wearing masks when they go outside. To see such a busy city so empty is both eerie and chilling,” she said, adding that she limited her news intake on the pandemic to manage her own stress and anxiety.

“Members of my household haven’t left home in weeks and we buy two weeks’ worth of groceries at a time without hoarding and being mindful of others’ needs.

“The shelves at the store for non-perishable items were still pretty empty, with limited amount of pasta, flour, canned goods and rice available last time we checked,” she said.

In New York City, 31-year-old Ryan Chong said it had been five weeks since the city went into quarantine mode, with most places closed except for essential services.

He added that most people were wearing masks and some even wore gloves, while some places in New York City, like Times Square or Fifth Avenue, were almost completely devoid of pedestrians or vehicles.

“I’ve been keeping busy. I haven’t had any work for five weeks now. Although I can work from home, the dip in the economy has pushed a lot of deadlines back and caused a number of jobs to be cancelled.

“So, I’ve been using my 3D printer at home to create face shields for medical professionals. I’ve delivered them to two hospitals so far with a third batch on its way,” said the freelance 3D modeler, who hoped that governments would learn from their mistakes and take steps to ensure that future pandemics won’t be as widespread as this.

Based on statistics provided by the CSSE at Johns Hopkins University as of 2pm (Malaysian time), New York has recorded 207,512 cases, with 9,999 deaths — which is the highest in the US so far.

The popular Times Square in the Big Apple would see a drastic drop in tourists who throng New York city not only in summer, but all year round.

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