'The First Wave', Natgeo film about COVID pandemic in NYC in spring 2020

The First Wave: patents and health care workers, and protesters, during the first three months of COVID19 in NYC

Matthew Heineman's documentary The First Wave presents how New York City dealt with the sudden explosion of the COVID19 pandemic in March 2020, through June, mostly from the viewpoint of health care workers and patients.

So it is pretty hard to watch the medical scenes. In one instance, we see a middle aged man who has apparently done a DNR and refused a ventilator struggle to take his last breath, and then pass away.

There are many scenes of people being brough out of coma into recovery, slowly, with physical therapy.

There are scenes of empty NYC streets and of special burial areas.

There is relatively little about how the pandemic started or the politics. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo holds his meetings, and moralizes, that the virus will test the character of every single civilian as to whether they can step up as required and sacrifice, even like soldiers. I thought about British civilians darkening their homes during the Battle of Britain in 1940. Cuomo, however, would face his own scandal soon.

In May (an hour into the 93 minute film) protesters crowd Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village after the murder of George Floyd by a rogue policeman in Minneapolis. Protests (with regard specifically to legacy racism) replace what used to be gay life (and it's not Stonewall). Fortunately, because they were outdoors, protests transmitted relatively few cases. But the protests also underscored the fact that non-white people had born the brunt of the pandemic because of their service jobs and more crowded households.

There had occurred over 17000 deaths in NYC by the end of May. At the end of the film the names are listed.

Picture: Mortuary Trucks in NYC, Wikipedia embed, click for attribution.

Name: 'The First Wave'

Director, writer: Matthew Heineman

Released: 2021/11

Format: 2.35:1

When and how viewed: Landmark Bethesda Row 2021/11/21 small audience

Length: 93

Rating: R

Companies: Participant, National Geographic, Neon

Stars: ****_

(Originally posted: Monday, November 22, 2021 at 12 noon EST)