Let's begin with a devastating Wall Street Journal story from late last week, which laid bare the astounding failures of New York's coronavirus response in excruciating detail. You already know about the nursing homes debacle, the subway mess, and the brutal, costly delays caused by the derelict and chaotic leadership of Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo. But the Journal digs deeper, painting a damning portrait of dysfunction, incompetence and denial at the top rungs of government in the Empire State -- which became both the country's hottest hotspot and its top exporter of the Wuhan virus. A small sample of the findings:
• Improper patient transfers. Some patients were too sick to have been transferred between hospitals. Squabbling between the Cuomo and de Blasio administrations contributed to an uncoordinated effort.
• Insufficient isolation protocols. Hospitals often mixed infected patients with the uninfected early on, and the virus spread to non-Covid-19 units.
• Inadequate staff planning. Hospitals added hundreds of intensive-care beds but not always enough trained staff, leading to improper treatments and overlooked patients dying alone.
• Mixed messages. State, city government and hospital officials kept shifting guidelines about when exposed and ill front-line workers should return to work.
• Over-reliance on government sources for key equipment. Hospitals turned to the state and federal government for hundreds of ventilators, but many were faulty or inadequate.
• Procurement-planning gaps. While leaders focused attention on procuring ventilators, hospitals didn’t always provide for adequate supplies of critical resources including oxygen, vital-signs monitors and dialysis machines.
• Incomplete staff-protection policies. Many hospitals provided staff with insufficient protective equipment and testing.
Gov. Cuomo's deification by much of the news media, especially when compared to the misplaced vilification of other governors, is almost entirely unjustifiable at this point. He shares most journalists' general worldview and generally struck an authoritative and responsive tone. But outcomes matter most, and New York's outcomes -- driven by policies and decisions -- have been terrible. Another thought is that perhaps Cuomo continues to look relatively good because he's so frequently judged side-by-side with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is a dumpster fire of an elected official. The mayor regularly places preening wokeness over responsible governance, the latest example of which is this farcical nonsense:
The hundreds of contact tracing workers hired by the city under de Blasio’s new “test and trace” campaign have been instructed not to ask anyone who’s tested positive for COVID-19 whether they recently attended a demonstration, City Hall confirmed to THE CITY. “No person will be asked proactively if they attended a protest,” Avery Cohen, a spokesperson for de Blasio, wrote in an emailed response to questions by THE CITY… There’s no direct effort to resolve a question both de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have asked repeatedly since the demonstrations against police brutality erupted following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police: Are the protests helping spread the virus? “That’s the one variable in this equation that we’re not sure of: We don’t know what the effect of those protests are,” Cuomo said last week.
These politicians admit the issue about protest-caused outbreaks remains unresolved, and now the de Blasio administration is mandating that it remain as unresolved as possible. Allahpundit writes, "if I were a cynic, I’d suspect that the city doesn’t want evidence that transmissions are happening at anti-racist protests because they fear it’s true. If contact tracers don’t bother gathering information about the protests then any rise in cases in NYC in the coming weeks can (and will) be blamed on businesses reopening. If they do gather evidence proving that the protests were responsible, the protests — and potentially their cause — might draw a backlash. Forced to choose between good science and political orthodoxy, the city has made its choice. Come to think of it, I am a cynic." It's hard not to be a cynic these days:
On Friday we learned that summer sleepaway camps would not open in NY. Kids are being turned away from playgrounds in Brooklyn. Yet just a few miles away, this rally occurred today. The lockdown is over, except for the camps, schools & stores that are forced to comply with it. pic.twitter.com/iAXKOERkee— Joel M. Petlin (@Joelmpetlin) June 14, 2020
Little over an hour apart. pic.twitter.com/K2a7fGRNDd— Mark Hemingway (@Heminator) June 15, 2020
It's hard to put into words the extent to which America's elites are hemorrhaging faith and credibility lately; they don't seem to notice or care. Cuomo has scolded non-mask-wearing protesters and threatened to bludgeon businesses who aren't complying with COVID restrictions. Setting aside the double standards, here's de Blasio:
He's been out and about quite a lot, apparently only interested in enforcing guidelines against one specific city community. And now he's fallen ill -- but don't worry, he hasn't been tested for COVID recently, and still has no plans to do so:
.@NYCMayor said several weeks ago he'd get tested for COVID, but still hasn't and now he's out sick. He doesn't believe he has COVID per @FreddiGoldstein because of his symptoms and is not planning on getting tested.— Julia Marsh (@juliakmarsh) June 15, 2020
Even if his symptoms don't align with coronavirus, he's supposed to be setting an example for New Yorkers. But that's not really his thing, is it? I'll leave you with the media once again focusing like a laser beam on blaming Florida in spite of everything we've learned -- with Democrats pre-emptively playing down the notion that potentially harmful COVID outbreaks should be pinned on mass demonstrations:
Putting aside that significant portion of FL's recent spike is due to increases in testing, FL has fared better than almost any big state in the country.— (((AG))) (@AGHamilton29) June 15, 2020
FL's deaths per 100k = 13 (despite having one of the largest populations of senior citizens)
NY's death per 100K = 157 https://t.co/C1jDh5Vhjj
DC Mayor @MurielBowser is concerned protests may cause a spike in Covid-19 cases, but adds “It’s important... that we not just look to protests as a reason why we might be seeing spikes across the country because before these protests we were seeing spikes.” #MayorsWhoMatter pic.twitter.com/VQMoWAJlgk— CNN (@CNN) June 15, 2020
As others have noted, the protests started in late May, right around the same time that an ABC News review found no spikes in 21 states where reopening had been underway for weeks. If things get ugly again (despite some upticks, the overall situation still looks relatively stable and manageable, at least for the moment), the factors that would feed a potential 'second wave' are myriad and complex. But blame-game battle lines are already being drawn, as public trust in political and public health leadership in this realm is collapsing. What could go wrong?