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Businessweek
The Cities Issue

Cities Battered by the Pandemic Find New Ways to Survive

A global look at urban life during a singular period of change and uncertainty.

Pedestrians walk near the Bank of England, on so-called 'Freedom Day', in the City of London.

Pedestrians walk near the Bank of England, on so-called 'Freedom Day', in the City of London.

Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 200 million people around the world and killed 4.5 million since it emerged in late 2019 in Wuhan, China. At the same time, SARS-CoV-2 has been playing havoc with a different kind of complex organism: the city.

In this special issue, Bloomberg Businessweek examines the seismic changes to urban life as cities sought to survive the virus. In March 2020, after outbreaks of Covid-19 in China, Italy, and Iran, cases mounted rapidly elsewhere. With 95 cases confirmed in New York City by March 12, Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a state of emergency but said he would “fight tooth and nail” to keep schools open. Three days later, confirmed cases in the city had jumped to 329, and New York City public schools—the largest system in the nation—sent home its 1 million pupils for remote instruction.