Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Opinion
Pete Saunders

Why New York May Emerge From Covid Richer Than Ever

Cities with strong foundations in technology should recover quickly from the pandemic, while the Sun Belt could go the way of the Rust Belt. 

New York’s prospects look good.

New York’s prospects look good.

Photographer: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Americans are rapidly ramping up their protection against Covid-19. The 7-day average of daily vaccinations in the U.S. reached more than 3 million at the beginning of this month — about 1% of the nation’s population each day. Despite the recent upticks in cases and positivity rates, we are now in a position where we can begin to envision a near-future not centered on the pandemic. What might that mean for U.S. cities and metropolitan economies?

On the one hand, going by the example of the 1918 flu pandemic, we might expect those cities that imposed aggressive lockdowns to recover fastest. A study by researchers at M.I.T. found that more stringent restrictions early on — shutting down taverns, restaurants and other public spaces for extended periods — appears to have led to a higher rebound in manufacturing employment in the short-term.