May 2020

In February, whispers of a deadly virus began to intensify. By March, the whispers had become a crescendo, the only thing anyone could hear. Coronavirus infiltrated the city and suddenly, within days, New York became the nation’s epicenter of the viral pandemic. Emergency tents popped up in Central Park, a Navy hospital ship docked at Pier 90, and refrigerated trucks parked outside hospitals. This year’s NYCityLens team began covering the city in January, eager to report on the five boroughs and tell their stories. In time, it turned out there would be just one story—the Coronavirus pandemic. Here’s how the story

For those who worked with Fatima Schmidt for the past 15 years, walking by her fourth-grade classroom of Public School 333 in the Hunt’s Point section of the Bronx, will never be the same. She died on April 13th from COVID-19. She was 57. A curly short-haired woman, with light brown skin, and brown eyes that would shine through her rounded eyeglasses, Fatima Schmidt was a selfless genuine, kind, and motherly woman, according to those who knew her well. Her colleagues describe her not only as a teacher but as the most passionate soul that reminded all students to move forward

Many suicide and mental health hotlines in New York have seen a rise in the number of calls they receive since the pandemic hit. For instance, The National Alliance on Mental Health in New York has had a 60 percent increase in the number of calls to its helpline, according Matt Kudish, the group’s executive director. NYC Well has received about 50 percent more calls, according to Kelly Clarke, director. And at the end of March, the newly founded New York State COVID-19 Emotional Support Hotline received more than 8,000 calls in five days.  Experts are wary of predicting that suicide