As new cases of the ever-burgeoning coronavirus are confirmed in New York, leaders of the Empire State have launched some ideas that have received some backlash for their presumed ineffectiveness and downright silliness.
Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced that he would be creating a hand sanitizer for New York that would boast a higher alcohol percentage than popular brand Purell and would include "a very nice floral bouquet."
He also touted the fact that the product was produced by the State of New York's "Corcraft," who, he says, is known for creating a variety of other cleaning products. What he didn't mention is that Corcraft is the name of the workforce for prison inmates of the state. Some have criticized Cuomo's choice to use inmate labor to produce huge amounts of hand sanitizer as "slave labor."
In a press conference announcing the product and intended distribution to schools, the Transit Authority, and prisons, he also challenged "Purell, and Mr. Amazon, and Mr. Ebay," that if they intended to price gouge consumers of hand sanitizer, that he would put his product on the market and that it would be cheaper and better. He ended with the jab that Purell doesn't even have the "floral bouquet."
The governor said that the hand sanitizer would be sent to "hot zones," where the most cases of the novel coronavirus have been reported, such as New Rochelle.
NEW: Amid coronavirus outbreak, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces state hand sanitizer—"made, conveniently, by the state of New York"—that will be provided to schools, MTA, prisons and more.— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) March 9, 2020
"It has a very nice floral bouquet." https://t.co/IzVUYTHKhH #coronavirus #covid19 pic.twitter.com/TokZ1TsTav
Others noted that despite the fact that the prisoners of New York were being told to make the gobs of floral scented hand sanitizer designed to save the state, there were deplorable sanitary conditions within the prisons and that they contained no hand sanitizer.
No hand sanitizer and soap is the tip of the iceberg of real issues at the federal pretrial detention centers in NYC https://t.co/lTFFfDJp14— LB (@beyondreasdoubt) March 8, 2020
On the previous day, Mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio took to Twitter to encourage New Yorkers to use other, unorthodox, methods to avoid social interaction.
Plan to have some extra travel time in your commute. If the train that pulls up is too packed, move to a different car or wait to take the next one.— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) March 8, 2020
Bike or walk to work if you can.
Citing an effort to reduce overcrowding in America's most populous city, the outgoing mayor and failed presidential candidate suggested to possibly stagger work schedules or telecommute when possible. He received strong backlash after he suggested that commuters allow extra time and skip crowded trains when possible. "Plan to have some extra travel time in your commute," he said. "If the train that pulls up is too packed, move to a different car or wait to take the next one. Bike or walk to work if you can."
Residents of outer boroughs with jobs in restaurants, schools, and retail, among others, were particularly critical of this suggestion as telecommuting and staggering schedules was simply impossible. "As someone who commutes from Long Island to the Bronx everyday, that is impossible," one user said.
Others noted that the suggestion of biking in New York City was rather dangerous and asked the mayor to consider some emergency bike safety procedures if he was asking New Yorkers to use the alternate transportation method. "Happy to ride a bike to work," said a biking enthusiast from Queens. "Can you make it so people don’t die in Queens while biking? Vehicular deaths are a public health crisis too."
So far, New York State has reported 142 confirmed cases of Coronavirus, including 19 in New York City, according the the NY Department of Health. The website encourages those who think they may be infected to stay home and avoid contact with anyone. They also advised that there is still no current vaccine.