New York has had a very high percentage of deaths from the coronavirus compared to other states in the nation. This is not by chance–it is the result of bad decisions made at the beginning of the pandemic and throughout the crisis. Yesterday The National Review posted an article detailing the decisions that exacerbated the outbreak.
The article reports:
Cuomo made three breathtakingly bad moves in March that in retrospect amounted to catastrophe. First, Cuomo failed to call for, and even actively discouraged, informal social-distancing measures in early March. Next was the delay in mid-March in ordering formal closures when the virus started rampaging through his state. Third was his March 25 edict to long-term care facilities that they must accept infected patients, which caused a mass deadly outbreak among helpless, trapped, elderly New Yorkers.
The article notes:
Like de Blasio, who as late as March 10 was on MSNBC telling New Yorkers that most of us were at little to no risk and that the coronavirus was much like seasonal flu, Cuomo persisted with his don’t-scare-away-the-tourists happy talk well into March, the critical month. On March 1, the day New York State logged its first confirmed case of the coronavirus (a health-care worker who had just returned from Iran), Cuomo assured everyone that, although one of his own daughters had called him in a state of panic, there was no need to be afraid. “The facts defeat fear. Because the reality is reassuring. It is deep breath time. . . . This is not our first rodeo with this type of situation in New York,” Cuomo boasted, adding, “Excuse our arrogance as New Yorkers,” but the state was fully prepared. “We don’t even think it’s going to be as bad as it was in other countries,” he said. “We’re going to have a special effort for our nursing homes, et cetera, congregate facilities where senior citizens are being treated.” He further boasted that the state had broken free of federal restraints about testing: “Now we are actually in control of the systems ourselves. And as New Yorkers we like control.”
Summing up, Cuomo said, “Once you know the facts, once you know the reality, it is reassuring and we should relax because that’s what’s dictated by the reality of the situation.”
On March 6 Cuomo insisted, “The overall risk level of the novel coronavirus in New York remains low” and said, “We have more people in this country dying from the flu than we have dying from coronavirus.” As late as March 8, Cuomo, instead of advising people to stay away from the subway, advised New Yorkers to seek out less-crowded subway cars, the mass-transit equivalent of saying, “Let them eat cake.”
The coronavirus was an unknown entity, and I don’t blame Governor Cuomo for his original missteps. However, I do believe that Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio were slow to acknowledge and react to the danger. Contrast this with President Trump who had the foresight to stop air travel from China. Leadership matters.