Monday, September 14, 2020

Andrew Cuomo's New York State

It may be Donald Trump’s America, but it’s still Andrew Cuomo’s New York State. While Trump is being systematically excoriated for something he said to Bob Woodward-- and for not panicking sooner-- in most cases management of the coronavirus fell to governors. And the governors have not done a very good job. 

And yet, according to the media, Gov. Andrew Cuomo did a bang-up job with the coronavirus-- because only New Jersey had more deaths. Cuomo is writing a book about crisis management, because….

And, keep in mind, Cuomo comes from the party that touts its love of facts and of science. In truth, it’s all propaganda, all the time.

Now, however, the Wall Street Journal has done an extensive report on the Cuomo response to the coronavirus. It begins by noting that at the onset Cuomo quickly pushed New York City’s Mayor de Blasio to the side, taking full responsibility himself. 

Begin with the question of the lockdown:

New York City was locking down. Gov. Andrew Cuomo wanted to say when and how it would happen.

After Mayor Bill de Blasio told residents in a March 17 news conference to prepare to “shelter in place,” Mr. Cuomo dismissed the mayor’s plan in a television interview while his aides blitzed City Hall with calls.

“The phones were ringing off the hook,” recalled Freddi Goldstein, the mayor’s press secretary at the time. “They said, ‘[The mayor] sounds crazy. He’s scaring people. You have to walk it back. It’s not up to you. It’s not your call.’ ”

Note the phrase: “scaring people.” When Trump said he did not want to scare people and did not want people to panic, he was accused of committing genocide.

The crisis did not return power to the people, but it did give power to the states-- it’s called federalism:

The federal government largely left the coronavirus response to states. While some governors ceded power to local officials, others centralized it. Mr. Cuomo, more than most state leaders, insisted that nearly every decision come from his office, including when to close office buildings, the size of weddings and the type of air filters required at shopping malls.

Mr. Cuomo and his small team took command of the state Health Department and overrode local governments that wanted to go beyond the state’s social-distancing restrictions. That delayed the shutdown of the nation’s biggest city and slowed the reaction time as the virus spread in nursing homes, contributing to the nation’s highest death toll.

It took five days for Cuomo to order a shutdown. In that time, the virus had free reign, especially on New York City commuters:

Instead of the abrupt shutdown Mr. de Blasio called for, Mr. Cuomo had his own plan: a gradual closure tailored to avoid panic and encourage public compliance. Millions of people continued to pack commuter trains and subways in the five-day span between Mr. de Blasio’s “shelter in place” comments and Mr. Cuomo’s eventual shutdown order.

By the time “New York on Pause” took effect at 8 p.m. on March 22, about 25,000 New Yorkers had tested positive for Covid-19. The virus soon would push the state’s hospital system to the brink and kill more than 30,000.

Delaying the social distancing measures caused a mere 17,514 deaths:

Even so, Columbia University researchers estimated that 17,514 deaths in the metropolitan area could have been avoided if officials had instituted seven days earlier each of the social-distancing measures they eventually enacted. “If everybody had done exactly what they did one week earlier, more than 50% fewer people would have died by the end of April,” said Jeffrey Shaman, a co-author of the study.

Mr. Cuomo’s aides said the state shut down as soon as possible, and that the death toll would have been the same with an earlier closing because of the federal government’s failure to ban flights from Europe and to launch a national testing program. That blinded everyone to the movement of the virus, they said.

Of course, the biggest problem was with nursing homes. The Cuomo administration sent recovering coronavirus patients to nursing homes, thus infecting the elderly residents. The WSJ does not report, to my eye, that the federal government had sent a hospital ship to New York harbor and had outfitted the Javits center as an infirmary. These were not used.

Anyway, the governor has been spinning the nursing home problem, making sure that the blame did not fall on him. He wants to blame the death rate on the lack of protective equipment in the nursing homes. He says nothing about whether there was enough of such equipment in the hospital ship or the Javits center. In the end it’s all about the spin.

By the third week of March, some New York City hospitals were brimming with coronavirus patients and experiencing shortages of masks and other protective gear. Hospitals found themselves at odds with some nursing homes that refused to readmit residents who had been hospitalized with coronavirus, according to officials involved in the response.

Mr. Raske, president of the Greater New York Hospital Association, said he contacted Mr. Cuomo’s team for help with nursing homes. Hospitals couldn’t afford to house recovered nursing-home residents long-term, with models showing they soon could be swamped.

Within days, Mr. Cuomo’s team approved an order from the state’s health department that said nursing homes couldn’t refuse to admit patients simply because they had tested positive. The order would become one of the most controversial decisions of the response.

Health Department spokeswoman Jill Montag said it was a decision “made on the merits by the public-health experts at DOH and following [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] and CDC guidelines.” CMS and CDC guidance at the time said nursing homes could accept residents who had been diagnosed with Covid-19 if they could follow necessary precautions to prevent transmission.

Nursing-home operators immediately objected, saying it would introduce the virus into their facilities.

The Journal concludes:

Nevertheless, New York, the first epicenter of the virus in the U.S., eventually recorded more than 400,000 cases and remains its worst victim in terms of deaths.


Giordano Bruno said...

And this explains why Cuomo is so intent on dumping this on Orangeman. He demanded all control, and then missed the boat entirely. A high dive into the dirt. But when you control the media, you can control the narrative.

Great article. TY

urbane legend said...

Piecing numbers from various sources, some a bit old, shows the following:
Florida: population, 21,500,000, deaths, 21,674 .006%
New York: population, 19,500,000 deaths, 25,390 .013%$ 2X Florida's rate
NYC: population(est), 8,550,921 deaths, 19,120 .0022% with 38% of Florida's population 1/3 the deaths, even with Cuomo's rules

Governor DeSantis did not shut down Florida like Cuomo did New York. He made some changes later, due to bad advice, of course, but Florida is still doing much better.

I have to ask: why does anyone who can actually read believe the party of "science" about anything?

Arthur Fhardy said...

...and do not forget that Samaritan’s Purse Ministry set up a mobile hospital staffed by Christian medical volunteers that was prevented from being used as the ministry was not “woke enough” for the Rotten Apple. The Hell in the Boroughs was one of their own making and choosing. A Plague on Both Your Houses!

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Thank you, Arthur.