‘If you rethought that or had time to analyze that public health strategy, I don’t know that you would say quarantine everyone…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) After hammering in the critical shortages of medical equipment, self-wrought by the state of New York‘s reckless spending prior to the coronavirus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is now second-guessing the wisdom of bringing the entire economy to an indefinite standstill during the crisis.
Despite the requisite quarantine efforts implemented by leaders like Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, the state has become the epicenter of recent outbreaks.
That hasn’t stopped Cuomo, whose ubiquitous media presence and amplified attacks on President Donald Trump during the crisis are being seen by many as a signal of possible political ambitions.
He admitted Thursday that the left-driven panic response was “probably not the best public strategy,” either for the economy or for the broader health outlook, reported Fox News.
“What we did was we closed everything down,” Cuomo said. “That was our public health strategy. Just close everything, all businesses, old workers, young people, old people, short people, tall people. Every school closed, everything.”
As a result, the formerly bullish economy plummeted and shuttered businesses now see grim prospects for survival, effectively creating a second crisis that could adversely impact an even broader swath of the public.
“If you rethought that or had time to analyze that public health strategy, I don’t know that you would say quarantine everyone,” Cuomo said.
“I don’t even know that that was the best public health policy,” he continued. “Young people then quarantined with older people was probably not the best public health strategy because the younger people could have been exposing the older people to an infection.”
Some speculate that a gradual, controlled exposure to the virus among healthy, non-vulnerable populations may be key to its ultimate neutralization, much like the “parties” thrown for childhood diseases like chickenpox.
Only about 20 percent of those who contract the highly contagious respiratory virus face serious symptoms, with the vast majority being those above age 65 or with a prior immunity condition. Only a small portion of those who contract it ultimately die.
By contrast to the recent coronavirus response, the 2009 H1N1 “swine flu” outbreak during the first year of Barack Obama’s presidency did not result in mass quarantines even though the at-risk population for it was considerably younger, with older 65+ demographics less vulnerable—possibly due to prior exposure.
Obama declared a public health crisis shortly after the April 2009 outbreak, but he did not declare it a national emergency until October, by which time an estimated 5,000 had died. More than 12,400 Americans died from it over the course of a year before the virus eventually evolved on its own.
Cuomo admitted that the economic outlook of the coronavirus response—including skyrocketing unemployment claims and ballooning federal debt—was a “terrible, frightening feeling for everyone.”
Unlike the virus, the constriction of the economy may not self-resolve over time. As with the recession of the Bush and Obama eras, employers forced to reduce staff during the crisis—who survive the initial devastation by recalibrating their business models in more efficient ways—could choose not to rehire afterward.
Similarly, during the Great Depression of the 1930s, consumers learned to change their habits and became more frugal due to supply shortages.
“This is going to form a new generation and transform who we are,” Cuomo acknowledged.
Cuomo and many other blue-state executives who have made attacks on Trump part of their staple rhetorical diet are now treading a tenuous line as they turn to the federal government to solve their ballooning emergency shortages.
Cuomo’s latest concession, like others he has made, seems to embrace Trump’s recent statements encouraging the country to return to work by Easter—an overly rosy projection according to many so-called experts in the media and federal bureaucracy who see greater personal benefit in milking the disaster.
“We have to do both,” Cuomo said of the need to balance the competing health and economic needs.
The comments came alongside Cuomo’s criticism that New York’s share of the $2-trillion economic stimulus package approved by the Senate and awaiting House passage didn’t go nearly far enough in boosting New York.
It remained unclear whether the governor may turn to the private sector should the federal support fail to resolve his economic shortfall. Several left-wing mega-billionaires, such as media mogul Michael Bloomberg, recent presidential candidate; and hedge-fund investor George Soros, a relentless open-borders advocate, maintain a base of operations in New York that is likely to be impacted.