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Lewis Morris / Jun. 30, 2020

The Cuomo/de Blasio Tag Team of Failure

New York's governor and Big Apple mayor are making a hash of COVID response.

In a bit of good news from the federal judiciary, U.S. District Judge Gary Sharpe rebuked New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for their blatant favoritism of mass protests over religious liberty.

Sharpe issued a preliminary injunction blocking the state from enforcing Cuomo’s harsh statewide coronavirus restrictions on religious services in response to a suit brought by two Catholic priests and three Orthodox Jewish congregants. The suit brought against Cuomo, de Blasio, and New York Attorney General Letitia James argues that the defendants actively went after houses of worship to enforce strict social-distancing and maximum-capacity rules while purposely and openly supporting mass protests that led to looting and violence in New York City and in other locations around the state.

In one particular instance cited in the lawsuit, de Blasio attended and spoke at a June 4 protest (without a mask, by the way), then days later had the police kick a group of Hasidic Jewish children out of a park for not obeying the 10-person limit on “nonessential gatherings.”

“Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio could have just as easily discouraged protests. … They could have also been silent,” Sharpe wrote in the injunction. “But by acting as they did, Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio sent a clear message that mass protests are deserving of preferential treatment.”

Leftist disdain for religion is well documented, but the way in which Cuomo and de Blasio acted is completely unconstitutional. They cannot uphold one part of the First Amendment while violating another part because it suits them. Christopher Ferrara of the Thomas More Society, who represented the plaintiffs, noted, “This decision is an important step toward inhibiting the suddenly emerging trend of exercising absolute monarchy on [the] pretext of public health. What this kind of regime really meant in practice is freedom for me, but not for thee.”

Don’t expect this to hobble Andrew Cuomo as he takes a completely unjustified post-lockdown victory lap. The governor told a group of sycophantic fans reporters last week that he is energized and excited by how his state emerged from the pandemic. New York suffered 31,000 virus deaths, far more than any other state, in some cases by large orders of magnitude. While Cuomo doesn’t have anything to brag about, crow he still does.

Cuomo didn’t stop with his self-lovefest, though. He also slung political mud at Republican-led Texas and Florida for their recent spike in COVID-19 cases, claiming this is what happens when states open up too early. Both of these states and others began opening up weeks ago, and healthcare professionals have yet to identify the source of the spike in new cases. Nor is the spike happening universally across all states that opened up early. Surely, nothing matches the 900 fatalities per day that New York experienced at its virus peak.

No matter. Cuomo has announced that people traveling to New York from Florida, Texas, Utah, and other states with statistically important virus spikes must quarantine in the state for 14 days. This is all but unenforceable. Virtually no one who comes to New York for a visit stays for two weeks. Even visitors from Europe only stay an average of nine days.

And how will health officials identify these people? Cuomo suggests random traffic stops of people with license plates from these states. You know, similar to the policy that Rhode Island was going to use against New York in March to prevent the spread of cases in its state. Of course, at the time, Cuomo decried this as discrimination.

Cuomo is really just trying to take the heat off of one of his own failed policies that directly led to the death of thousands of people in New York State — ordering that virus patients be moved into nursing homes, where the most vulnerable people live.

A New York Times study released Saturday concluded that nearly half of all virus-related deaths in the U.S. can be directly tied to nursing homes. Data collected for the study revealed that 282,000 people at 12,000 facilities nationwide were infected. And while nursing homes made up only 11% of all COVID-19 cases, they accounted for 43% of all COVID-related deaths.

Naturally, Cuomo blames Donald Trump, nursing-home staffs, and anyone else that crosses his sites, maybe even the Easter Bunny. But rest assured, as a loud, proud leftist, he sees himself as above reproach.

(Visit our comprehensive CV19 Pandemic response and recovery page to review our timeline of government and political actions related to the pandemic, and see our related pages.

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