One of the most frequently asked questions about the coronavirus is how it spreads so quickly and inexorably.

An answer might be found when the state attacks developing downstate coronavirus clusters with focused, targeted rapid COVID-19 testing in areas with increasing infections to prevent a resurgence in New York and prevent community spread.

As strange and troubling as it may sound, we may have to fight COVID-19 with a grind-it-out military strategy: neighborhood to neighborhood, street to street.

Officials on the state’s coronavirus task force and regional control board are keeping a watchful eye on the state’s COVID-19 figures with accelerated testing efforts downstate as infections in certain Brooklyn neighborhoods and areas of Orange and Rockland counties have surged over the last several days.

We’re hunkering down in ZIP codes. The state sent 200 rapid-testing machines, which process COVID-19 diagnostic tests in 15 minutes, to targeted ZIP codes Monday to collect detailed data, identify the cause and eliminate the spread.

For example, ZIP code 10950 in Orange County reported an 18% coronavirus infection rate Tuesday, with a 10% infection rate in ZIP code 10952 in Rockland County. The top 20 of the state’s 1,740 ZIP codes for COVID-19 infections are in Brooklyn and Rockland and Orange counties, as well as a few in Queens.

“These are embers that are starting to catch fire in dry grass,” Cuomo said Tuesday in one of his more memorable quotes. “Send all the firefighting equipment and personnel to those embers and stamp out the embers right away.”

As New York state and the rest of the nation learned to its horror over the last six months, today’s clusters can be tomorrow’s widespread outbreaks.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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