Cuomo’s Coronavirus Disaster


“File:Andrew Cuomo by Pat Arnow cropped.jpeg” by Andrew Cuomo by Pat Arnow.jpeg: Pat Arnow derivative work: UpstateNYer is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Erlan Benedis- Grab

Andrew Cuomo, the Governor of New York, has just received an Emmy for his coronavirus response from Hollywood’s liberal elite. Yet his leadership during the pandemic has been incredibly inept. When you look at the numbers, New York has had some of the highest COVID numbers in the country.

Initial Response to the Pandemic

When coronavirus first arrived in New York, Coumo thought nothing of it. 

“We have the best health care system in the world, right here,” Cuomo said to the New York Times. “We don’t think  it’s going to be as bad here as in other countries”. 

Well, compare NYC to Guangdong, China. They have 86% more the population of New York, 113 million to our 19 million. However they also have a measly 2,000 cases compared to New York’s 600,000 cases. This is an eye opening fact, but you won’t hear about it from the media who beat the drum of “China bad” and closeted sinophobia. 

So what went wrong initially? Firstly, Cuomo delayed the shutdown on March 17th, dismissing De Blasio’s attempts for a lockdown, right before a huge coronavirus surge. By March 22 when the New York lockdown would come into place, 25,000 New Yorkers had contracted coronavirus. And the “best healthcare system in the world” folded under pressure. New York’s hospitals had several problems: a lack of trained staff, lack of testing and protective equipment, faulty ventilators, and a lack of crucial medical equipment. 

Cuomo also moved to force Nursing homes to accept covid patients. Combine this with New York’s awful healthcare system which shortcomings are directly linked to Coumo, and you won’t have a good time. By May 22, at the peak of the coronavirus, 4,500 coronavirus patients had been sent to nursing homes, which house ederly people who are the most vulnerable to coronavirus. Now NY has the third highest deaths from Nursing homes, compared to California with over double NY’s nursing homes and nine times the cases linked to Nursing homes. Cuomo’s response has been amalgamation rotten policies that have led to needless deaths. 

Brutal Austerity 

The summer’s initial  spike is over, but people are feeling the effects. 

In June 20% of the state was unemployed; those are near Great Depression rates of unemployment. Half of those who are unemployed can’t pay for food. We are in a crisis. 

Now imagine how much they have to pay for Healthcare to survive. In my opinion, t’s ridiculous how we commoditize Healthcare.The decision  from NY’s government is  If you can’t pay you genuinely deserve to die and Coumo is completely okay with that.. So far their has been no plan to control Healthcare prices or to provide Healthcare. In fact he’s done the opposite, making it worse. 

Austerity which are government policies meant to curb government’s deficit by targeting government spending.  In the case of NY, they have actually targeted Healthcare spending. 

Coumo’s now passed  $300 Million cuts to hospitals, which we remember did an awful job of containing coronavirus. In terms of Medicaid it’s still full steam ahead for $2.5 Billion cuts to medicaid, including another $400 million to hospitals. Even at the cost of NY losing out of $6 Billion in federal aid, which requires no changes to the medicaid budget. Millions of the poorest New Yorkers depend on medicaid and like always have felt the hardest effects of this economic downturn. So I don’t think cutting healthcare is a long term solution at all, in fact it will have the opposite effect. 

More startling rent statistics come in. 32% of Households missed July rent payments and 25% haven’t paid since March. This is not surprising as the recession grinds forward, jobs are lost, health insurance tied to it lost as well, which makes it reasonably harder to pay for these utilities. 

 Cuomo’s response has been disastrous, while waiting to pass the Milquetoast of all things a temporary suspension of Rent payments until 2021. This does not solve the rent crisis in any way, it just delays it.  It’s not like in 2021 people will magically have the money, especially when unemployment is this high.  New York needs an immediate rent and utility cancellation. 

Lastly, let’s take a look at the MTA. Everybody knows it’s a disaster. Coumo is considering cuts to the MTA. If he goes through with it, over 9,000 jobs would be lost and there would be a 40% cut in service for the subway, combined with a fare increase in 2021, and potential elimination of unlimited metrocards. This would happen If NY is not receiving billions in federal aid and even if New York does, Coumo could still reject it, he’s done it before. 

In theory and practice austerity is not the way to go. In fact Keynesian-esque spending and government programs designed to curb recession are means tested solutions. To control the pandemic we need to bailout the people as a whole. So, Coumo did a disastrous handling of the situation.  The cultural hegemony though is coming to his side, and more acting awards may yet to come.