In one of the most potentially ironic situations ever, thousands of New York City residents defied social distancing recommendations to watch legendary aerobatic teams the Thunderbirds and the Blue Angels perform a tribute flyover. According to the Daily Mail:
Pilots from the US Navy teamed up with the Air Force for the dazzling display over the Big Apple at around noon local time to pay tribute to the healthcare workers fighting COVID-19 on the frontlines.
The Blue Angels had earlier issued a warning, telling people to ‘refrain from traveling to see the flyover’, tweeting: ‘Residents should observe the flyover from the safety of their home-quarantine. Social distancing should be practiced at all times. Stay home and stay safe!’
Never ones to be told what to do, New Yorkers assembled themselves on the streets, defying social distancing provisos and likely setting themselves up to be seen by some of the healthcare workers the pilots paid tribute to.
USA Today detailed the purpose of the flyovers:
The Navy and Air Force have commissioned their respective air squadrons — the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds — to fly over Philadelphia, Trenton, N.J. and New York City as a tribute to healthcare workers and other essential workers in the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.
The flyover is part of President Donald Trump’s Operation America Strong salute, which he announced last Wednesday.
With any luck, no one who recklessly gathered will contract COVID-19 or infect someone who wisely stayed home.