After weeks of state-mandated lockdown, thousands of preventable nursing home deaths and days of angry protests and looting, New York officially reopened today, all thanks to the so-called leadership of its Mayor and Governor.
With the economy in tatters, store-fronts boarded up or broken and citizens in the street demanding justice, Bill de Blasio and Andrew Cuomo speak with one voice as they say to New Yorkers: you’re welcome.
‘New York City’s restart begins today,’ tweeted Mayor de Blasio. ‘It’s been a long road to get here. New Yorkers have earned it day by day.’
‘New Yorkers bent the curve by being smart,’ said Gov. Cuomo at his daily press briefing. ‘We’re celebrating. We’re back. We’re reopening. We’re excited. Our mojo’s back. Our energy’s back. Great. Stay smart.’
The restart begins today? That must be news to the thousands of righteous New Yorkers who marched in protests last week — including Mayor de Blasio’s daughter Chiara, who was arrested for blocking traffic.
Phase one of reopening allows delivery and in-store pick-up for various stores: clothing, electronics, jewelry, sporting goods. You know, the type of establishment that was offering an impromptu 100 percent discount in lower Manhattan last week.
What about the coronavirus, you ask? Mayor de Blasio was criticized back in April for appointing his wife, Chirlane McCray, to head up a task force looking at how the virus was affecting communities of color. McCray had previously led the $850 million ThriveNYC mental health initiative. The efficacy of that very expensive program remains unclear.
Residents of some of New York’s more diverse neighborhoods have found themselves targeted by promoted tweets from the First Lady’s account: ‘Get a FREE COVID-19 test! Visit nyc.gov/covidtest to find a testing site near you and get tested today.’
But it seems the city’s COVID containment efforts are based on old information. Until today, the site was only recommending COVID tests if you had displayed symptoms. What’s more, the coronavirus tests being proffered by the city will only tell you if you currently have COVID-19: not if you’ve previously had it. Given the suspected numbers of asymptomatic sufferers, New Yorkers really need widespread antibody tests: that’s what worked in Germany and South Korea. However, at present, ‘free antibody tests will be available at one location in each borough and by appointment only.’
But why let the science get in the way of a good time? Our mojo’s back! Gov. Cuomo, who has spent the virus season bantering with his brother on CNN and shirking the blame for New York’s nursing home catastrophe, seems to have a new priority: thanking pop stars such as Ariana Grande and the Jonas Brothers for their support of repealing an act that keeps New York State police misconduct records sealed. If only the governor knew someone with political sway in the state, who might have acted before now…
No matter the crisis, Cuomo and de Blasio have settled into a routine reaction: remain oblivious, make several missteps, blame each other, declare victory regardless. If it ain’t broke — like half of Manhattan — why fix it?