As the nation begins to reopen after the novel coronavirus, time is being taken to do some real investigation into the number of cases and deaths in many areas, trying to explain why some regions experienced far more widespread infection than others. And as these results are coming into the light, it is leading state and city officials to get a little defensive over their actions and decisions.
At the top of the defensive list is none other than New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. While first seen as pretty much being the face of the COVID-19 response due to his daily press conferences, he is fast becoming one of the most ridiculed names in government.
Now, New York, as the home of the nation’s largest and most populous city, was bound to be hard hit by the quickly spreading virus. However, it isn’t the only large metropolis in the states. And others, like San Francisco, seemed to fair much better.
When asked about his state’s poor luck in this matter, and weeks later, about the nursing home debacle, Governor Cuomo gave the same sorry excuse. Apparently, no one told him that people in Europe had the disease and were spreading it.
No, I’m not kidding you.
He told the press, “Nobody was saying, ‘Beware of people coming from Europe.’ We weren’t testing people coming from Europe. We weren’t telling anyone at the time if you have a European visitor or European guest, make sure they get tested. They walked right through the airport.”
And he’s right. No one probably called him to let him know that people in Europe had the virus and could spread it. But the fact of the matter is, no one should have had to.
As Pro Publica so poignantly pointed out, Cuomo’s “narrative, of course, fails to note people were not just flying from Europe to New York, but to California and other cities and states. And it seems to portray New York, its health departments and government officials, as somehow innocent bystanders, incapable of having seen the threat from Europe and factored that in their response. That Italy and Spain were being overwhelmed by the virus was hardly a secret.”
And Pro Publica wasn’t the only outlet who seemed to notice the flaw in reasoning.
The Wall Street Journal, a few weeks later, conducted their own investigation into the matter and found pretty much the same thing.
They reported, “Early signs of the virus’s arrival – including a rise in patients with flu-like symptoms visiting hospitals – went largely uninvestigated by hospitals, state and city officials. While leaders in state like California and Ohio acted quickly to contain the spread, Messrs. Cuomo and de Blasio delayed taking measures to close the state and city even as the number of cases swelled, despite warnings from doctors, nurses, and school teachers.”
And then there was Cuomo’s disastrous nursing home policy, which, to free up hospital beds, required nursing homes to reaccept COVID-19 infected patients and new patients. After two long months with this policy in place, the state had reported that six percent of its entire nursing home population had died. And in New Jersey, where a similar procedure was taken, 12 percent were lost.
This, as well as the high case and death numbers for the rest of the state, has little to do with “European visitors,” and nobody warning Cuomo about them. Instead, it has everything to do with poor decision-making skills and shoddy advice taken.
California Governor Gavin Newsom didn’t need to be told watch out for Europeans. Neither did he need to be warned that putting positive COVID-19 patients into nursing homes, which house the single most ‘at risk’ group of people in the nation, was a bad idea.
Newsom shut his state down on March 19, when the total number of cases in the state rose over 1,000. On that same day, New York was noted to have five times as many cases. And it didn’t shut down until quite a few days later.
To put it simply, Cuomo made some mistakes, and rather significant ones at that. But what’s even worse than those mistakes is that he can’t seem to man up enough to take credit for them. Instead, he’s going to point the finger in every direction but his own.
There’s nothing quite so less deserving of America’s respect than a leader who can’t own up to his actions.