Hundreds of miles to the south, a similar spike in street congestion occurred in the United Kingdom during the summer of 2017. A routine health check of the nation’s sewer systems found antibodies for the coronavirus — a threat that is claimed to be more infectious than Zika — in several of the pipes of a large hospital in London. The report’s ramifications have been so striking that there have been calls to prevent a repeat, and the country has run large-scale emergency drills to prepare for the possibility of an outbreak.

In New York City, officials announced that the city’s harbor and swimming beaches would remain open despite elevated rates of the deadly virus, which is primarily found in the Middle East. Yet, some residents living by the city’s busy thoroughfares are terrified of the potential of the disease, which has been linked to the deaths of two people in southern New Jersey in recent months.

Frightened by the creatures in garden … little did he know one of them was dead within !!! pic.twitter.com/CbqdjgxrBQ — Kaylee Schlegel () March 12, 2018

The situation presents a tricky problem for any city still struggling to recover from previous disease scares. After all, we are not certain if this virus carries far-reaching effects that persist long after the virus is no longer contagious. This poses a nightmare scenario for city officials, who are left to guess whether the uptick in cases is due to a cold snap or a continued need for a vaccine to combat a potential resurgence.

“If it stays in place and it continues to circle the bay, and if it doesn’t expand into more serious infectivity, then we would likely need to change the standards we use to set the vaccination schedule,” Dr. Michael Jacobs, a professor of medicine at Yale who has studied Ebola in West Africa, told The New York Times. “If we act early enough, we may be able to prevent it getting so bad that it becomes of great public health concern.”

Don’t get sucked in by the nonsense that a stay open message from does not carry a disclaimer about the current situation. pic.twitter.com/nTz2XKe4qY — Matthew D. Day () March 14, 2018

In order to minimize future health concerns, measures are also being taken in order to address the emergent issue as soon as possible. The city’s sanitation department recently installed sensors that were able to distinguish dead fish from healthy ones. More sensors are expected to be deployed around the city in coming months in hopes of catching any sickening winds.

This young man has clearly noticed the uptick in the day. 😭 pic.twitter.com/jPrT7WQIoM — Andrea Valeri () March 9, 2018

Despite this uncertain future, New Yorkers seem to be following the mayor’s call to stay indoors. According to reports, the number of calls to the health department in the past two weeks has dropped by 97 percent compared to the number of calls from the same period last year. And while the story of an infestation of diseased fish might be horrifying, it is difficult to dismiss the threat in the next few weeks when the temperature is still plunging.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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