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Nate Jackson / Jul. 16, 2020

Cuomo's COVID Calculations

New York's governor is lecturing others to "look at the numbers." We do just that.

We’ve all heard a lot of breathless coverage in recent days — okay, for nearly five months — about COVID-19. Seemingly every newscast and newspaper front page trumpets the latest numbers of infections and deaths, despite the hot summer temperatures that were supposed to slow the spread but didn’t. But what if all this fear was driven by the New York media in part simply because New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts are responsible for 42% of American COVID deaths? In other words, proximity bred panic — and it all just happened to support a particular political agenda.

It’s true that Florida, Arizona, and Texas are getting most of the attention recently because of drastic spikes in cases, though a similar spike also hit many other parts of the country. That media attention is not, however, out of concern for residents. It’s a chance to lampoon those particular states’ Republican governors for reopening “too soon,” while ridiculously heaping praise on all the wrong governors.

One of those Democrat governors, New York’s Andrew Cuomo, is arrogantly lecturing his Republican and Southern counterparts. “I say to them all, ‘Look at the numbers,’” said Cuomo, who’s done a lot of historical rewriting of his own pandemic record. “You played politics with this virus, and you lost. You told the people of this state, you told the people of this country, the White House, ‘Don’t worry about it. Go about your business.’”

All right, Governor. Let’s look at the numbers and see who’s playing politics.

Jon Miltimore of the Foundation for Economic Education wrote last week, “New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts … account for nearly 56,000 of the nearly 133,000 deaths in the US, even though they represent just 10 percent of the population.” Those three states have a drastically higher per capita death rate, too. Miltimore offers these stats (as of last week) for deaths per million:

  • New Jersey: 1,728

  • New York: 1,660

  • Massachusetts: 1,189

  • Arizona: 265

  • Florida: 179

  • Texas: 94

Yes, Mr. Cuomo, look at the numbers. Rich Lowry notes, “In New York, about 32,500 people have died. In Florida, a state of comparable population, about 4,300 people have died. In Texas and California, both bigger states, about 3,300 and 7,000 people have died.” And as CNN’s Jake Tapper put it, “NY state has lost more than 32,000 lives to COVID-19. So while it’s great that the numbers have gone down, it’s perplexing to see crowing, Cuomo going on Fallon, etc. No other state has lost as many lives, not even close. New Jersey is next with 17,000+.”

Look at the numbers, Governor — especially the thousands of New York nursing home deaths caused by your policies. Look at the other numbers that reveal the exorbitant costs of the lockdowns: shocking increases in unemployment, drug abuse, and deaths of despair.

And yes, look at the numbers. Like those erroneous numbers in Florida that badly skew the rate of positive tests, making Florida’s spike seem worse than it really is. Or the fact that the majority of new cases in hard-hit states are among the younger population, which means relatively fewer deaths.

One more time, look at the numbers. According to The New York Times, New York City “became the primary source of infections” nationwide. The Times reports, “[New] research indicates that a wave of infections swept from New York City through much of the country before the city began setting social distancing limits to stop the growth. That helped to fuel outbreaks in Louisiana, Texas, Arizona and as far away as the West Coast.”

Ironically, New York now has nearly two dozen states on a quarantine list — for travelers from those states.

Finally, we can’t look at the numbers. As The Daily Wire notes, “When the BLM protests erupted for weeks upon weeks, the pandemic all but disappeared from the headlines. A little more than a month later, tremendous COVID-19 surges began occurring all across the country. The media adamantly refused to make any kind of connection between the surge and the protests.” In fact, the Wire continues, “New York City mayor Bill DeBlasio explicitly instructed those conducting contact tracing to actively avoid asking anyone if they had attended a protest.” So we’ll never know to what degree protests contributed to the surge in cases.

The bottom line is that this is still a novel virus and there’s so much we don’t know. Heavily populated states like New York might have suffered massive outbreaks no matter which party was running the show. But it would sure do us all a lot of good if the Andrew Cuomos of the world would quit trying to haughtily score cheap political points and instead take on a bit more humility — especially in the wake of more than 32,000 dead New Yorkers.

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

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