Thursday, December 24, 2020

New York vs. Florida-- Who's Doing Better?

In a recent post Francis Menton of the Manhattan Contrarian blog took the measure of New York City. In its current condition, New York is, as they say, circling the drain. (via Maggie’s Farm) In a later post he compared New York with Florida-- almost as a control experiment.

He began by examining the state of the restaurant business. As you know, Gov. Cuomo has shut down all indoor dining in New York restaurants. Given the current climate, that means that restaurants will remain virtually closed. OK, some will do takeout, but the state of the restaurant business is dire.

And of course, Menton remarks, there is no evidence that restaurant dining has caused the virus to spread.

Broadway theatre is closed, for another six months. 

More elevated forms of entertainment, from concerts to the opera to the ballet… are also closed, for at least five and maybe more months.

As for the famed Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, here are the current rules:

Yes, it is there. You can even go to see it in person — provided that you are willing to put up with advance registration, a scheduled time, mask-wearing, social distancing, a five-minute time limit for viewing, etc., etc., etc. Or you can just watch their virtual live cam, safely from you home in Peoria — which is what they strongly recommend. After all, you wouldn’t want to get too near an actual live human being this year.

As for the hotel business, Menton reports that 200 of the city’s 700 hotels have closed. The rest have occupancy rates well below 40%.

The subway system is still running. Unfortunately, precious few passengers using it. For the record, people are using busses, though not at the level of past times.

Still running! And at close to full schedule, if you can believe that. However, the authorities have done their best to scare away as many riders as possible, leaving the trains almost empty even at peak hours. On my line, trains that used to run irregularly, due to the difficulties of dealing with the crush of customers, now come every four minutes like clockwork. Word is that the MTA is about to get several billion in new “stimulus” funds from the latest Congressional bill, to keep the empty trains going. Thanks, flyover people! Here is a picture of the subway car I came home in this evening — with one other lonely passenger down at the other end. In normal times, this would be standing room only.

Will it all limit the spread of the virus? We do not know, though certainly we hope that it will. Since America’s states are the laboratories of democracy, as the old saying goes, we can examine how well other states, states like Florida and Texas, do with it. As you know, they have not imposed the same shutdown conditions as New York.

As for the larger issue, will New York City survive, as of now it seems unlikely. Or, at least, it seems unlikely that New York City, like San Francisco and other mismanaged large blue cities, will ever return to their former glory.

Happily for those who are in charge, they can blame it on the bug. And of course on Donald Trump. 

For our edification, Menton has explained in another post how things are going in Florida. (also via Maggie’s Farm) He begins:

By contrast, Florida, led by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, has been very much at the opposite end of the regulatory response spectrum.  As to results, here’s the bottom line:  As one would expect, the economic decline caused by intentional government suppression of the economy has been much, much less severe in Florida than New York; but just as important, Florida has also experienced, and continues to experience, superior health results to New York.  In other words, Florida stands as a clear demonstration that all of New York’s behavioral mandates (e.g., masks) and intentional destruction of small business have had no measurable effect whatsoever in decreasing spread of the virus or in improving health results.

That’s not all:

In Florida today, theaters are open, concerts are happening, and the iconic theme parks are accepting visitors (if on a somewhat restricted basis).

As for mask mandates, counties that had mandates did marginally worse than did those who did not. When it comes to death rates, New York has consistently led the nation. 

Menton offers the numbers:

  • Florida.  Deaths per million population, pandemic inception to date (figures from as of December 22):  966.  Deaths within last 10 days, most recent first, from Dec 21 back to Dec 12:  106, 86, 69, 108, 102, 112, 89, 137, 81, 71 — total of 961 over that 10 day period.

  • New York.  Deaths per million population, pandemic inception to date:  1,886 (almost double Florida’s rate — and Florida has far more elderly people).  Deaths within last 10 days, most recent first from Dec 21 to Dec 12:  179, 95, 85, 121, 156, 112, 126, 120, 87, 79 — total of 1160 over the ten days, or more than 20% more than Florida, even though Florida has more than 10% more population.

And New York City has nearly twice the unemployment rate as Florida. All those restaurant and theatre closings have put a lot of people out of work.

Menton concludes that New York’s political leaders want to make it appear that they are doing something, even when they are not. After all, Gov. Cuomo, the Lord High Executioner of the coronavirus is widely lauded for his leadership-- evidently the facts no longer matter. We are living in an age of idolatry.


trigger warning said...

Silver lining: At least DeBlasio made the trains run on time. :-D

whitney said...

Ha! Good one

a bee ee? said...

NY native and snowbird here. North Country NY in the summer, and Treasure Coast FL in the winter. We can't wait to sell our NY place and get out of there once and for all. Andrew says people like me are not welcome in the Empire State, and I am happy to oblige him.

Even Donald Trump moved to FL on a permanent basis.

Sam L. said...

"Menton concludes that New York’s political leaders want to make it appear that they are doing something, even when they are not." Ohhhhh, the something they're doing is "shooting off their feet" "with a 155mm howitzer". It would be pleasing if the Gov and the Mayor were taken to the tumbrels, but defenestration is as defenestration does...
And then there's Gruesome Newsome out in Cali...

I've read that UV kills the Coronavirus, and Florida, I hear, is IN with the sun gods...
Cali, of course, does have a lot of pollution, which won't help them in the LA basin.