Cuomo: Our New Problem Is Too Much Testing Capacity

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Posted: May 20, 2020 1:05 PM
Cuomo: Our New Problem Is Too Much Testing Capacity

Source: Darren McGee/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo via AP

This isn't a knock on Cuomo, or a vindication of the federal government's COVID response on testing, which was far too slow to ramp up -- in large measure because of a disastrous early screw-up at the CDC. It simply seems as though, at long last, testing capacity is finally getting to where it needs to be. Given the delays and dysfunction, I'm not sure the White House should be taking a victory lap on this front (their gripe about the media's coverage on ventilators is more legitimate), but this is certainly a welcome change of pace:


Similarly, a Washington Post headline reads: "As coronavirus testing expands, a new problem arises: Not enough people to test." The Trump campaign is arguing that Joe Biden needs to update his talking points and attack lines. And speaking of hugely improved testing capacity and processing, the good news doesn't end there:


Lower positivity rates and spread rates (we must remain vigilant on these metrics as states reopen, while avoiding context-free, misleading narratives), and a study indicating that supposed "reinfections" do not mean that recovered COVID patients' contagiousness has been reactivated. These hopeful data points arrive amid serious optimism about a vaccine, which we covered yesterday. Less encouraging is the situation surrounding mortality rates in nursing homes, which has become a particular focal point in New York. The state imposed lethally flawed policies on this front and appears to have quietly moved to manipulate statistics in order to cover-up the extent of their mistake. Cuomo's answers on this subject have been extremely poor:


He seems to be hoping that by saying he's being accused of doing too much now, his previous, catastrophic policies will sort of melt away. "We did everything we could" to protect vulnerable seniors, he asserts, but this is insultingly false. Something they could have done is correctly identified nursing homes as likely hotspots, not allowed COVID-positive employees to come into work, and not allowed COVID-positive residents to enter the facility until they were recovered. They did the opposite, only very belatedly reversing course, and evidently attempting to partially cover their tracks.

I don't believe that any political leader should be relentlessly and gracelessly Monday morning quarterbacked on their handling this pandemic. The challenges they've faced have been hard and complex. But egregious errors of judgment and tragically harmful actions cannot be allowed to float by without accountability, especially if -- as is the case here -- the culprit is aggressively airbrushing reality in a self-serving manner.