I don’t usually stick my nose into the politics of states other than my own but I wanted to bring this observation by Ross Barkan at Jacobin to your attention:
Andrew Cuomo, New York’s governor, has always embodied a dark irony of the COVID-19 pandemic. While Cuomo’s state has a higher death toll than anywhere else in America and his austerity-driven politics continue to cripple public institutions, he has won hysterical praise from many of the nation’s leading newspapers, magazines, and television shows. People have literally declared themselves “Cuomosexuals” and hawked his merchandise on Etsy. The inexplicable cult of worship, birthed at the height of the pandemic in New York last spring, has managed to linger on through the carnage.
Cuomo’s failure to contain the virus in the earliest weeks of the outbreak doomed New York to far more suffering than it needed to endure. Now, with a vaccine here, he is again proving his lack of fitness to lead New York through the worst crisis it has faced in modern history. For weeks, unused vaccine doses have sat in freezers, with some even being thrown out. After imposing extremely complex and rigid guidelines over who can receive a vaccine, Cuomo threatened health care providers with million-dollar fines if they didn’t follow the rules he had created for who can get a shot first.
When you exclude New York and New Jersey, the northeast of which is essentially a New York bedroom community, our stats on COVID-19 aren’t that much worse than those of the very best European countries and better than Italy or Spain. It’s New York’s and New Jersey’s high case count and large number of fatalities that drags U. S. stats down.
Our handling of COVID-19 is practically a microcosm of our policy problems. It’s too bad we’ll probably take all of the wrong lessons from the experience. Policy doesn’t help as much the advocates of government action tend to believe but it does have the ability to hurt a lot more than they will let themselves believe.
There are lots of things that could have been done in New York, e.g. shutting down the public transport systems as China did, but they weren’t done because of how difficult they would have made things. You pays your money and you takes your choice.