The Empire State is the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in America and on its way to being ground zero for the world.

Just watched New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s latest update. As of noon today, his state had 30,418 cases and 285 people dead. Cuomo said the infection rate was doubling every three days and warned that New York is the canary in the coronavirus coal mine.

“We are your future,” he said to a nation watching its largest city sieged by an invisible invader. “Where we are today, you will be in three weeks, four weeks, five weeks, six weeks.”

Don’t doubt it. Cuomo does his homework. He is a prime example of why many Americans prefer presidents who served as governors over pretenders who see the job as a starring role in a reality TV farce. New York has a leader who takes charge, works hard and accepts responsibility. The nation has a whiny Bystander-in-Chief.

Someone else at the White House issued a warning to New Yorkers fleeing the state: Self-quarantine for 14 days. Some of these coronavirus refugees have been sighted in the Poconos, stocking up the summer homes where they will weather the storm. Locals are noticing the out-of-state plates in parking lots and “New Yawk” accents in supermarkets and freaking out.

It’s bad enough that New Yorkers travel exclusively in the passing lane! Now they’re bringing coronavirus to the Poconos!

We don’t know that. We can’t know that. Strictly speaking, New Yorkers are people, too. And fellow Americans. When people get scared, they move away from the threat. New York is on fire. Like anyone else, its shaken citizens are seeking shelter anywhere else. The borders are one of the few going concerns Gov. Tom Wolf hasn’t closed. So far, he has announced no plans to restrict access.

New Yorkers can be irritating on the interstate, but most won’t knock on your front door uninvited. If you’re home where you belong, it’s like they’re not here at all. Be nice. Be well. Be home.

Visiting New Yorkers: You are welcome to crash here as long as you like, as long as your stay begins with a 14-day self-quarantine. Be nice. Be well. Be home, wherever that is right now.

The Times-Tribune is determined to serve you and our guests from New York during this crisis and beyond. We’ve got you covered with all the latest local and state developments in the COVID-19 crisis, updated relentlessly at We’ve also got the story of hackers hijacking a virtual Scranton City Council meeting and details on an investigation of a local priest accused of sexual abuse.

On the bright side, read my Wednesday column about the brave, overworked and underpaid grocery workers who risk their lives every shift to keep the food distribution system we take for granted alive. They can’t work from home, no matter where home is.

How did you spend this strange day? Maybe in the office, or at home with the kids. Maybe you’re a service worker, first responder or medical professional. Maybe there’s an unsung hero or someone who’s really struggling in your neighborhood we should know about. Email me at or and I’ll share your stories here.

The Times-Tribune is still here, and so are you. We will get through whatever comes next together, one day at a time. Hang in there, hunker down and wash your hands. If you’re visiting from New York, do it for 14 days before visiting a supermarket..