Hundreds in NYC line up to get tested for COVID-19 ahead of Thanksgiving – and some wealthy New Yorkers are shelling out up to $80 an hour to pay people to keep their place in queues
- Hundreds lined up outside COVID testing facilities Tuesday morning before they even opened their doors
- In Brooklyn, dozens flocked to CityMD facilities in the early hours with long lines snaking through Flatbush, Williamsburg and Bushwick
- Wealthy New Yorkers are avoiding the wait by paying line-waiters $80 an hour to line up on their behalf
- Gov. Cuomo warned New Yorkers in a press conference Tuesday not to be fooled by one negative test result
- Americans across the country are clamoring to get COVID tests as they ignore the pleas of public health experts to cancel Thanksgiving travel plans
Hundreds of people lined up outside COVID testing facilities in New York City Tuesday morning before they even opened their doors as coronavirus cases continue to surge across the state and travelers rush to get tested before embarking on their Thanksgiving holiday plans.
In Brooklyn, dozens flocked to CityMD facilities in the early hours with long lines seen snaking through neighborhoods including Flatbush, Williamsburg and Bushwick.
Some wealthy New Yorkers are finding ways to avoid losing the best part of a day by paying professional line-waiters up to $80 an hour to wait out the hours-long queues on their behalf.
This comes as Americans across the country are clamoring to get COVID tests as they ignore the pleas of public health experts to cancel holiday plans and plan to plow ahead with their travels to visit family and friends over Thanksgiving.
Cases have soared to record levels across the US and the current rolling seven-day average for deaths is at its highest level since mid-May.
In New York, once the global virus epicenter, state officials reopened the Staten Island field hospital Monday, as hospitalizations have tripled since the start of the month and fears mount that the state’s healthcare facilities could once again buckle under the weight of the virus.
BROOKLYN, NYC: Long lines form outside a CityMD on Nostrand Avenue in Flatbush, Brooklyn, Tuesday morning
BROOKLYN, NYC: Dozens of people line up outside a CityMD on Nostrand Avenue in Flatbush, Brooklyn, as coronavirus cases continue to surge across New York
BROOKLYN, NYC: In Williamsburg, dozens of people wrapped up warm and donned their face masks to wait in line for a COVID-19 test at a CityMD
BROOKLYN, NYC: Williamsburg residents line up along North 7th street as travelers rush to get tested before embarking on their Thanksgiving holiday plans
BROOKLYN, NYC: The line of people snaked along North 7th onto Bedford Avenue in the heart of Williamsburg early Tuesday
In the Boerum Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, 105 New Yorkers were stood in line outside the CityMD urgent care center as of 8:02 a.m., with the stream of people snaking all the way around the corner of Atlantic Avenue and onto 3rd Avenue, according to the CityMD Line Alert Twitter page.
At 6:25 a.m., more than 90 minutes before the center opened, over a dozen people had already pitched up outside the facility as the holiday season fast approaches.
Similar scenes took place all across the city, with New Yorkers rocking up early in the hope of avoiding a grueling wait of around four hours that many have reported over the last week.
A long line formed outside a CityMD on Nostrand Avenue in Flatbush, Brooklyn, Tuesday morning while, over in Williamsburg, dozens wrapped up warm and donned their face masks to wait in line outside the North 7th street facility.
Over in Bushwick, people were seen waiting in a line that swamped around four streets in the area.
In Manhattan, a long line wrapped around the block on 33rd street onto 8th Avenue near Penn Street station as people waited to get into the CityMD coronavirus testing center in the heart of the city.
BROOKLYN, NYC: New Yorkers socially distance as they line up outside the Williamsburg CityMD for a COVID test
BROOKLYN, NYC: One person prepares to be in it for the long haul as she parks up a portable chair in line outside a CityMD in Bushwick Tuesday morning
BROOKLYN, NYC: A woman also takes a seat as she lines up outside a CityMD in Williamsburg Tuesday morning
MANHATTAN, NYC: In Manhattan, a long line wrapped around the block on 33rd street onto 8th Avenue near Penn Street station to get into the CityMD coronavirus testing center
MANHATTAN, NYC: New Yorkers lined up in face masks near Penn Street station Tuesday morning just two days before Thanksgiving
MANHATTAN, NYC: One person came prepared with a coffee to wait in line outside CityMD on 33rd street
Many people prepared for the long haul, parking up portable chairs while others brought books, laptops and coffees to keep them occupied during the long wait outside CityMD’s 76 urgent care centers throughout the five boroughs.
With lines sometimes taking several hours, the city’s rich residents are paying other people to queue for them.
People are posting their services on TaskRabbit, charging up to $80 an hour to brace the long wait on someone else’s behalf.
One woman told the New York Post she made $240 to stand in line at Greenpoint for three hours this week.
‘A cute guy hired me to wait in line in Greenpoint and when I first got there, I know this sounds silly, I was kind of bummed because the line looked short,’ said Lucy, 27.
‘I was like, I came all the way out to Greenpoint and I’m just gonna be out here for an hour or something. But then it took three hours.’
Another told the outlet the service was so in-demand she is contacted by prospective clients every day right now.
‘I’ve already done this about five times already,’ one out-of-work writer said.
‘One day I got hired to do two lines, so that’s how busy it is. Every day I’m getting inquiries.’
MANHATTAN, NYC: Americans across the country are clamoring to get COVID tests as they ignore the pleas of public health experts to cancel holiday plans. A man lines up outside CityMD on 33rd street
MANHATTAN, NYC: In New York, people line up along 33rd street to get tests Tuesday, as cases rise in the state and city
MANHATTAN, NYC: People line up along 33rd street one day after the state reopened the Staten Island field hospital Monday
MANHATTAN, NYC: People wrap up warm on 33rd street for a long wait as lines have grown increasingly long in the lead-up to Thanksgiving
MANHATTAN, NYC: New Yorkers have complained of waiting around four hours for tests in recent days. People line up along 33rd street Tuesday
MANHATTAN, NYC: New Yorkers wait in line near Penn Street station as people clamor to get coronavirus tests
MANHATTAN, NYC: One man takes a seat on the ground with his dog outside the center on 33rd street as he prepares for a long wait
MANHATTAN, NYC: Someone next in line outside the 33rd street branch. New York Governor Cuomo warned people a negative test today ‘does not mean you’ll be negative tomorrow’
MANHATTAN, NYC: People took books to keep themselves entertained outside the 33rd street branch
BROOKLYN, NYC: Long lines form outside of the CityMD facilities on Nostrand Ave in Flatbush Brooklyn
BROOKLYN, NYC: People next in line at the Nostrand Avenue branch of CityMD in Flatbush Brooklyn
BROOKLYN, NYC: Lines in Williamsburg have grown in the last week as people seek rapid testing and for travel over the holidays
BROOKLYN, NYC: People wait in a line that snakes around four streets for COVID-19 testing at a CityMD in Bushwick
BROOKLYN: In Williamsburg, a line snakes through the neighborhood as cases rise in NYC and people plan holiday traveling
BROOKLYN, NYC: People perch on the ground while others bring their laptops to work as they are in for the long haul in Williamsburg
Lines have grown drastically outside the city’s testing sites in the last week as cases rise and people seek the reassurance of a negative test to embark on guilt-free holiday plans.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo warned New Yorkers in a press conference Tuesday not to be fooled by one negative test result.
‘It’s better to get a test than not get a test,’ he said of the long lines.
‘We do more testing in New York state than any other state, by far. We have more testing sites than any other state, by far. We have some sites that are backed up and some that have availability. People tend to go toward certain sites… look where the available sites are and distribute the load.’
He added: ‘But if you test negative today, it does not mean you’ll be negative tomorrow… none of it is foolproof, especially when it comes to exposing yourself to a person if they get infected, it’s a real problem, like a senior citizen.’
Public health experts have warned of a growth in cases after the holidays as Americans travel to different states to visit family and friends for celebrations.
In the last four days alone, a staggering 4 million people have passed through US airports and the Transportation Security Administration said it screened 917,354 people at airports across the country on Monday.
The CDC issued guidance last week urging Americans not to travel during the holiday as cases, hospitalizations and death spike across the country.
MANHATTAN, NYC: People wait in line for COVID-19 testing at CityMD on East 14th street Tuesday morning
MANHATTAN, NYC: A man sits on a portable chair in the line outside the CityMD on East 14th street Tuesday morning
BROOKLYN, NYC: Long lines form along the high street as people wait to be tested at the CityMD facility on Flatbush and Church Avenue