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Honored Social Butterfly

Andrew Cuomo's deadly failures

Andrew Cuomo's deadly failures

 

On March 30, as COVID-19 cases and deaths piled up across the Empire State, and the USS Comfort arrived to calm a broken city, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called New York the “canary in the coal mine” of the U.S. coronavirus crisis. “What you see us going through here, you will see happening all across this country.”

 

Except it didn’t.

 

Instead, New York racked up massive coronavirus deaths, as the governor’s policies (as well as those of Mayor Bill de Blasio) left New Yorkers exposed. The rest of the country suffered losses, but nowhere near the intensely high number reached by New York.

 

The story of Cuomo’s role in the pandemic has been massaged by the media. And, indeed, Cuomo’s “just the facts” press conferences were initially soothing at a time of confusion and disarray. His Powerpoint presentations, blessedly boring during a tumultuous time, often began with what day it was, a feature appreciated by people in a seemingly permanent Groundhog Day in their homes. One of the slides invariably included raw numbers of how many had been diagnosed, how many were in the hospital, and how many had died. But as the smoke began to clear, it’s become increasingly obvious that the governor’s bad decisions, petty rivalries, and general incompetence caused much of the destruction in the first place.

 

The major story of the coronavirus epidemic in New York is how the governor’s policies toward long-term care facilities enabled the virus to run rampant among our most vulnerable population. In late April, it came to light that the previous month, the state ordered long-term care facilities to readmit residents who had been treated for the coronavirus. New residents who were “medically stable” were to be admitted as well. Thus did Cuomo’s New York guarantee that the most vulnerable population would be widely exposed to COVID-19 in environments that enabled its quick and deadly spread.

The official tally has about 20% of New York coronavirus deaths attributed to nursing homes, but we actually can’t be certain of how many people died because of this negligence. If someone from one of these mass-infected nursing homes died in a hospital, it’s not counted as a nursing home death. There’s also evidence that many of those who died at nursing homes weren’t tested for COVID-19, so the official statistic remains a question mark, but it’s almost certainly higher, perhaps much higher, than the state admits.

 

The count matters because it otherwise obscures the real picture. On May 9, the New York Times reported that nursing home residents and workers accounted for one-third of the nation’s COVID-19 deaths but that only 11% of cases actually occurred inside those facilities. According to a new Associated Press count, at least 4,500 recovering coronavirus patients were sent to New York nursing homes.

 

Cuomo, for his part, is mostly satisfied with how his government handled events. “We now have a top priority, which we've had since day one — our nursing homes,” he said at a May press conference, in a particularly risible bit of gaslighting. “The one thing we need to be able to say at the end of this is ‘we did everything we could,’” Cuomo added. There is no way he should be able to say that with a straight face.

 

He also shrugs off blame and argues that “nobody” should be held accountable for the nursing home deaths: “How do we get justice for those families? Who can we prosecute for those deaths? Nobody. Mother Nature, God, where did this virus come from? People are going to die by this virus. That is the truth.”

 

During Cuomo’s April 23 press conference, the governor was defiant about his mandate, saying: “[The nursing homes] don’t have a right to object. That is the rule and that is the regulation, and they have to comply with that. If they can’t do it, we’ll put them in a facility that can do it.” It was a crass death sentence for countless New Yorkers. The nursing homes, understaffed and with minimal personal protective equipment, didn’t stand a chance. During his May 18 press conference, Cuomo was asked about the elder-care experts’ claims that even before COVID-19, New York state had one of the lowest levels of care in nursing homes and lax health enforcement. Does the state deserve some blame? Cuomo completely dismissed the question.

 

Then, he tried to shift the blame to President Trump. Cuomo claims that he was just following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance. But not all governors did that. In an interview with National Review, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida broke down his state’s timeline: “The day that the media had their first big freakout about Florida was March 15, which was, there were people on Clearwater Beach, and it was this big deal. That same day is when we signed the executive order to, one, ban visitation in the nursing homes and, two, ban the reintroduction of a COVID-positive patient back into a nursing home.”

 

In New York, Cuomo’s mistakes are generally overshadowed by the absurdly terrible performance of de Blasio, but the irony is that the mayor has quietly bested the governor several times over the last few months. Cuomo likes to brag about his coordination with neighboring states but is incapable of coordinating with the mayor of his state’s biggest city, who has left Cuomo blustering emptily on several occasions.

 

On March 17, de Blasio told New Yorkers to prepare to “shelter in place,” an order to stay home except for essential needs, similar to what had been implemented in northern California. That night, Cuomo smacked that down as impossible before implementing essentially the same guidelines in his PAUSE order three days later.

 

On April 2, de Blasio announced a new recommendation to wear masks in public. At a press conference the next day, Cuomo questioned the need for them before reversing himself less than two weeks later.

 

On April 11, the mayor announced that schools would remain closed for the rest of the school year. The governor was quick to jump in and say no decision had been made, arrogantly saying of de Blasio: “He didn’t close them, and he can’t open them.” On May 1, Cuomo was forced to concede the schools are indeed staying closed.

 

When Cuomo announced New York beaches were allowed to open, de Blasio quickly said New York City’s shores would not. The whole point of this kind of coordination was so no state opens ahead of another one and causes people to travel for goods and services. With New York City beaches not allowing swimming, New Jersey, Long Island, and Connecticut beaches braced for a wave of New Yorkers, with some beaches changing their rules to allow only their own residents onto their beaches.

The rivalry is also obvious in Cuomo’s limited consideration of New York City. On May 7, New York City finally suspended 24-hour subway service to disinfect train cars overnight. The fact that the trains, which fall under the governor’s purview, weren’t already being cleaned and disinfected, months into the pandemic, was shocking. As of May 1, 98 Metropolitan Transportation Authority workers had died from the coronavirus, more than any other state or city agency. A March 6 memo to MTA employees addressed the question of masks, noting, “Masks are not medically necessary as a protection against COVID-I9, and not part of the authorized uniform. They should not be worn by employees during work hours.” An outcry forced the MTA to permit transit employees to wear their own masks a week later. It would be weeks before the MTA would give out masks to its workers. Following in the governor’s footsteps, MTA Chairman Pat Foye blamesthe CDC and the World Health Organization for their directives saying masks are unnecessary. But there’s a vast gulf between saying that masks aren’t needed and prohibiting employees from wearing them. In Cuomo’s New York, no one takes any blame, and the buck doesn’t stop with the governor.

 

All of this has gone largely ignored by the media. They need a neat narrative and have widely decided that Cuomo is the hero, while DeSantis is the villain. But by all indications, DeSantis has done a far better job.

 

In late May, a video of DeSantis went viral. He points out that Florida has a lower death rate than all of its neighbors and all states of a similar size. Washington Post reporter Hamza Shaban rapped DeSantis on Twitter for “bragging” about Florida’s comparably low death rate. Meanwhile, the same day, Cuomo, who presides over a death rate far higher than that of any other state, went on his brother Chris Cuomo’s CNN show, and they proceeded to act out one of their comedy skits, this one about the size of the governor’s nose. Chris Cuomo pulled out a giant prop cotton swab and made fun of his brother. “It’s well known that I have a tiny, button nose. Please stick to the facts on your show, little brother,” the governor responded on Twitter.

 

His shtick with his brother, who famously broke quarantine while actually sick with COVID-19, is one of the more noxious examples of the media’s complacency when covering the New York governor. Obviously, the governor’s brother lobs him softballs, if that, but other media outlets don’t do much better.

 

Cuomo is a gaffe machine, but the press are uninterested. He has blamed the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, “experts,” and others for how hard COVID-19 has hit his state. “Where were all the experts? Where was the New York Times, where was the Wall Street Journal, where was all the bugle blowers who should say, ‘Be careful, there’s a virus in China that may be in the United States?’ That was in November, December.” New York Times Metro Editor Jorge Arangure responded on Twitter: “From Jan. 9 to March 1, the date the NY state government finally took the coronavirus threat seriously, the New York Times had more than 450 stories about the coronavirus.”

 

Cuomo has also clumsily said that domestic violence, which has spiked during the lockdown, is “bad” but “not death.” Most recently, he’s taken to mentioning, in nearly every one of his press conferences, that the virus arrived to us “from Europe,” as some sort of bit running interference for Beijing’s carelessness and lies in order to further the line that Trump’s placement of blame on China is racist.

Cuomo should hope this kind of misdirection doesn’t catch on. If we’re going on where the virus has been most recently imported from, his mismanagement means that much of the country can refer to it as the New York virus.

 

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"Never let a crisis go to waste..."  The American voters are catching on to the dimms standard operating procedure.  

 

We have an election in November.  The secret voter booth will be the ultimate poll of what the American Voters want.

 

 

 

 

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Honored Social Butterfly

If it wan't for Andrew  Cuomo   Most of this country would have not known the reality of this virus. so. my comment.

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Honored Social Butterfly

Roxanna: If it wan't for Andrew  Cuomo   Most of this country would have not known the reality of this virus. so. my comment.

 

 

That's true, and it must enrage them that the vast majority of voters would swap Trump for Cuomo in a heartbeat. He's a real leader, not a petulant toddler.

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