City, state, and federal bureaucracy and politicians failed to lead. Almost every person in the above groups succumbed to hysteria from incompetency, fear, or both. There was no justification for shutting down the nation for more than three weeks. If China and the WHO had provided accurate information, there would have been no need to shut down the country. All that was necessary was to safeguard those in high-risk groups from catching the virus. For those not in the high mortality groups, contracting COVID-19 was not a death sentence.
Seriously, does anyone think transit ridership is coming back anytime soon? Many changes to buses, subway cars, and stations will be needed to get ridership on subways and buses back to pre-COViD-19 levels. Ventilation to pull air up and out of the vehicle will be required, more subway cars and buses added and kept clean. The frequency between trains and buses will have to be increased to lower crowding. People have told social distancing reduces exposure to the coronavirus. Influenza, pneumonia MRSA and tuberculosis quickly spread on crowded subway cars. Warts, ringworm, and scabies are skin diseases one can catch on a crowded subway. (1) Crowded subways and bed bugs are common (2) Transit authorities have tried to hide all the diseases and parasites one can catch in crowded subway cars and subway stations hidden from passengers.
The fixation academics and bureaucrats have had for decades of making every building energy-efficient while downplaying the negative health consequences of breathing recirculated air to gain acceptance by the public is an example of academic, scientific, and political tunnel vision. The way to fix a long term and complex problem is not to ignore or simplify other variables in the environment that will be thrown out of balance by a simple fix. This short-sighted myopia is exactly what the poorly thought out push to make every building energy-efficient using energy consumption as the only variable in the equation is! Every year new standards and regulations by the very same groups mentioned above are issued to undo problems created by demanding energy efficiency.
Fresh air and natural light were sacrificed on the altar of energy efficiency. Healthy buildings for the people in them took a back seat to BTUs kilowatts and CO2. How many historic, well-built buildings destroyed or turned into sick buildings in the name of energy-efficient? Urbanites now live in energy-efficient tombs that kill. And, as always, the fixes to make buildings healthy will be costly and ultimately use more energy(3).
Too many mayors of cities are deluged by a sea of bureaucrats chasing imaginary dragons as Don Quixote had. It takes a great mayor and support staff to see through the shenanigans of career bureaucrats eager to justify their existence. It takes an even greater mayor and staff to create a city government staffed by capable people interested in the city they serve and not just collecting a salary. Solutions that require multidisciplinary expertise and understanding will be few and far between as long as mayors look to institutions that focus on instant science and solutions.