Every five minutes, the speakers on the platform crackle: “We remind you that the metro is reserved for essential trips. You must wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth. Be careful, and thank you for making this journey with us. ” “It’s not like we have a choice! squeaks José, in his forties, who is waiting for his subway at Queensboro Plaza, a station in Queens, New York. We cannot afford to stay at home without working, but we have no alternative for getting around… ” This pharmacy technician from a Manhattan hospital is one of those “essential workers”, delivery men, caregivers, cashiers or electricians, who had no other choice but to continue using the New York subway when the first American city was becoming the main focus of the coronavirus pandemic. To date, nearly 20,000 people have died from Covid-19 (probable or confirmed cases) in New York City, a quarter of the deaths recorded in the United States. E

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Isabelle Hanne correspondent in New York. Pictures Pascal Perich

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