New Yorkers fear UN General Assembly schmoozing will spark COVID spike

New Yorkers fear UN General Assembly schmoozing will spark COVID spike
New Yorkers fear UN General Assembly schmoozing will spark COVID spike

New Yorkers are fearful that the return of the United Nations General Assembly this week will spark a new spike in COVID-19 cases after the city has worked tirelessly to slow the spread of the virus.

The reinstatement of the giant gathering at the United Nations headquarters in Midtown - after the meeting of global leaders went entirely virtual last year - means that Manhattan will once again be subject to countless street closures, gridlock, and increased foot-traffic.

Meanwhile, more than 18 months after the pandemic prompted the city's sudden shutdown, the threat of virus' delta variant still looms - and many fear that the flood of visitors could spell disaster for the metropolis.

'My biggest concern is what happens outside the UN complex,' New York City Council member Mark Levine said in an interview. 

More than 100 world leaders - and approximately 1,000 delegates overall - are expected to be in attendance at this week's general assembly

More than 100 world leaders - and approximately 1,000 delegates overall - are expected to be in attendance at this week's general assembly

The impending arrival of hundreds of heads of states and delegates from across the globe for the General Assembly means that Manhattan will once again be subject to countless street closures, gridlock, and increased foot-traffic

The impending arrival of hundreds of heads of states and delegates from across the globe for the General Assembly means that Manhattan will once again be subject to countless street closures, gridlock, and increased foot-traffic

'This gathering is famous for all the side meetings in hotels, bars, cafes, and restaurants. Many of these happen without regular screenings, where New Yorkers will be exposed.'

Despite the event having been scaled back due to concerns pertaining to the pandemic, more than 100 world leaders are still expected to be in attendance - approximately 1,000 delegates overall - and they will of course be accompanied by beefy security details and their respective retainers over the course of the weeklong event.

A cap has been set in place on the size of these entourages, though, to ensure that the General Assembly 'does not become a super-spreader event,' US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield revealed, with access to the 16-acre UN complex strictly limited and masks mandatory.

Access to the 16-acre U.N. complex in strictly limited, with mandatory mask-wearing and other Covid-prevention measures

Access to the 16-acre U.N. complex in strictly limited, with mandatory mask-wearing and other Covid-prevention measures

However, the UN has explicitly stated that they want diplomats to engage in face-to-face interactions to address critical issues - namely, putting an end to the pandemic, and redefining the post-pandemic economy.  

But some leaders, like Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro, aren't vaccinated, and the UN is taking a particularly lax approach to enforcing the New York City requirement that all General Assembly participants produce proof of vaccination upon their arrival.  

Instead, UN Chief Antonio Guterres told Bloomberg that an honor system will be used, meaning diplomats who swipe into the building are subsequently affirming to having been vaccinated - without having to provide any real proof.

'The number of unvaccinated people that will be there will be very limited,' Guterres attested to Bloomberg. 'All the UN staff supporting the General Assembly is vaccinated.' 

Unvaccinated Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro - who has derided mask use and vaccinations, - was photographed Sunday eating a modest dinner of pizza and Coke with his entourage on a Manhattan sidewalk, after likely being turned down service at an indoor establishment

Unvaccinated Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro - who has derided mask use and vaccinations, - was photographed Sunday eating a modest dinner of pizza and Coke with his entourage on a Manhattan sidewalk, after likely being turned down service at an indoor establishment

'The number of unvaccinated people that will be there will be very limited,' UN Chief Antonio Guterres says. 'All the UN staff supporting the General Assembly is vaccinated'

'The number of unvaccinated

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