And everywhere he now looked in the sun-splashed heart of the COVID-19 epicenter, he saw throngs of people ignoring social distancing as they milled about and relaxed amidst the trees and lawns, many without masks. He took it as a deep insult.
“It’s a slap in the face,” Gilman said. “It really is. I can’t explain it any other way. It struck me as very selfish and not in touch with the reality.”
Gilman served as a Navy Corpsman in Iraq in 2004 and he considers the pandemic to be another, more deadly kind of war, in which more than 18,000 New Yorkers have died in eight weeks.
“That’s twice the American dead in Afghanistan and Iraq,” he said. “That’s insane, right? And people are suntanning and picnicking with wine and cheese in Central Park.”