Yes, the virus is spreading, now to a hardly impacted upstate New York. This region is about as similar to New York City as the moon is to planet Earth. Most of New York City is located above the first floor with many skyscraper residents that make social distancing virtually impossible in their countless elevators. In contrast the 90% land area north of New Rochelle and Westchester County consists of single family homes, farms and small businesses. Our accents are different, our paces more humane and beyond any destination spot except for those fleeing the city to escape the new horrors the big city.
They are not escaping just any big city, but the epicenter of coronavirus infections in the United States. While most governors are working cooperatively with the federal government to eradicate this pandemic, one that no nation had anticipated to such levels, our governor continues to posture for presidency as he conducts daily news conferences filled with wild projections, deceit and attention-grabbing headlines.
For example, while demanding an impossible 30,000 immediate delivery of respiratory devices from the federal government to address a shortage in New York City, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo did not disclose a stockpile of 2000 yet to be used. He failed to disclose how he turned down 16,000 devices in 2015 in favor of funding for special interest groups. Such devices were offered as part of a defense preparedness plan after 9-11. Instead, when a shut-down was suggested early on by Mayor DeBlasio, Andrew Cuomo, in his typical lawyer-confrontational mode replied that such extreme measures were reserved for nuclear war. The list goes on.
In short, rather than being a team player, Cuomo is constantly complaining without timely action of his own to the realities confronting us all. Now he has Nancy Pelosi blaming our president for his latent actions while she was too busy with a wholly political, time-consuming and costly impeachment process during the months preceding coronavirus arrival in the United States. It is all nearly as sick as the virus illness itself, and the people they serve can no longer ignore this dysfunction, infighting and vain jockeying for political office.
Yesterday, March 28, 2020, President Trump was considering the idea of a quarantine of metropolitan New York to contain the spread of this killer virus. Only the president has the authority to do this since two other states, New Jersey and Connecticut, are necessary to make this effective. But Cuomo, who was not notified of this development in his daily grandstanding news conference, vehemently opposed the idea as “unenforceable.” The president then decided to back off. If Cuomo can do better protecting New York, then go to it. After awhile, a president with responsibility over 49 other states and territories as far as Guam, can get exasperated by such politics.
The problem we face now in upstate New York is the definition of New York State when such considerations are made. Andrew Cuomo continues to use the entire state in his news conferences when addressing the nation’s epicenter. A stigma such as epicenter without distinction between upstate and downstate harms us needlessly. We have struggled enough economically in the shadows of the big city, but this designation will make it all the harder when we try to re-start our economy in weeks to come.
Governor Cuomo is quick to announce that the current statewide restrictions will have to remain in place for “5-9 months,” maybe even years. This will enable him to maintain his emergency, dictatorial powers for a much longer period than the president is seeking. Such an extension may be ideal for a grandstanding governor protected by silver-spoon wealth and tax-payer financed security, but to the rest of us, it’s Armageddon.
Already we find a police officer shot in the upstate city of Cortland during a domestic violence call. But this was more than a shooting, the would-be killer actually chased down the officer who took cover behind his police vehicle. It is a portend of things to come. Once again, as my whistle blower history bears out, I am proven too correct, too late. At the same time. violent criminals and even murderers are being released from Rikers Island and other state prisons, at least 1,100 already due to this virus.
With self-quarantine orders emerging from New York destination spots such as North and South Carolina, Maryland and Florida, wealthy downstate residents are fleeing upstate. News and resident reports back up a highly unusual condition of filled summer rentals at peak rates and Jersey plates heading into the Hudson Valley and Adirondack Mountains. The governor of Rhode Island has gone a step further by stopping all cars with New York plates and directing police to visit summer residences to assure that all New York visitors self-quarantine for 14 days.
Our governor, Andrew Cuomo, is not even close to doing anything like this for the millions of people residing upstate. Content with a mere advisory travel ban from the CDC, he has created, in his words, “a freight train and bullet” into upstate, New York. And the numbers are showing it with rural Madison County and Oneida County doubling their single digit infections overnight. Where is the leadership upstate when one of its own, Assemblyman Brian Miller, is facing death in a central New York hospital?
Does any New York politician understand that if you belatedly infect upstate New York, a second round of infections will re-emerge when downstate refugees return to a re-opened New York City. For this reason we must demand overdue action on this crisis. At the very least, Governor Cuomo should take a page from the president’s book by appointing his lieutenant governor to take over upstate matters. Hoarding power is as “unintelligent” (using his words) as hoarding toilet paper.
Don’t expect upstate protection any time soon, but rest assured, this virus is as lawless as the criminals that Cuomo is sending us. Predators always follow the herd. It’s the law of nature, and neither they nor the virus have any regard for wealth, status or grandstanding, much less an advisory travel ban between New York City and upstate New York.
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