COVID-19: THE ORDER OF RESPONSIBILITY

As a prelude to the point I will make further on in this blog, let me start with the first two paragraphs of an editorial published in yesterday’s New York Post:

Mayor Bill de Blasio thinks this is the wrong time for second-guessing about who made what calls before the coronavirus became a clear crisis — except that, if he made any errors, it was President Trump’s fault. Got it?

Seriously: That was the mayor’s tack Sunday when CNN’s Jake Tapper came at him about his calls for New Yorkers to keep on as normal even as (it’s now clear) the virus was spreading across the city. De Blasio kept to that line as late as March 13, about a week before the city shut down all nonessential functions.

What you just read is true.   New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio was urging New Yorkers to act as if nothing were happening right into the early part of this month.  On March 2, he even tweeted a movie review and suggested people head for the theater to see it.

If New York City has become COVID-19 central, does De Blasio bear any responsibility for it?

And what about Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has been given great credit (including by me) for the quality of his updates on the situation in New York State?

Read this segment from Julie Kelly’s article at americangreatness.com, and

A public policy researcher in 2015 detailed long waits in New York City emergency rooms. The head of the emergency department for the Mount Sinai hospital system quit in 2018 after less than a year on the job.

“I had to follow my moral compass and leave and decide this is not an organization that cares for patients,” Dr. Eric Barton told the New York Post.

Last year, city nurses threatened to strike due to overcrowding at three major hospital systems. “Nurse Anthony Ciampa said he had to choose recently between feeding an elderly patient at New York Presbyterian and treating several acutely ill patients because there weren’t enough other nurses on duty,” according to a March 2019 report in the Daily News.

And the outcry about ventilators? State officials were informed several years ago that the stockpile of ventilators was woefully inadequate to handle a severe pandemic. But instead of preparing for a looming crisis and buying 16,000 ventilators, the state’s health commissioner formed a task force to develop a system to ration the life-saving equipment. The task force “came up with rules that will be imposed when ventilators run short,” the New York Post reported last week. “­Patients assigned a red code will have highest access, and other ­patients will be assigned green, yellow or blue (the worst), ­depending on a ‘triage officer’s’ decision.”

Now that Cuomo’s rationing plan is backfiring and his lack of preparation is exposed, he’s blaming Washington for his state’s self-induced emergency.

Are you impressed?  Do you think that Governor Cuomo has done a stellar job, only to be thwarted by President Trump?  Or is this a case of the chickens coming home to roost on a system that Cuomo – now in his third term as governor – neglected until it was too late?

With the above in mind, I will now make my point:  a point that an honest media would have been making regularly during this crisis.

There is an order of responsibility for the safety and well-being of citizens.

It starts with local government.  That would be Mayor Bill De Blasio.

It then goes to state government.  That would be Governor Andrew Cuomo.

And the final resting place, AFTER local and state government, is the federal government, i.e. President Trump and congress.

When local government does nothing to help – in fact, even encourages people to expose themselves to the COVID-19 coronavirus…

…and state government, through neglect and half-baked rationing systems, has left the hospitals, thus the citizens, vulnerable to the COVID-19 coronavirus…

…it is an absurdity, bordering on an obscenity, to put all the blame on the federal government.

Bill De Blasio and Andrew Cuomo bear enormous blame for New York’s situation. It is time that they grew enough honesty, enough integrity to accept at least some of it.

Don’t expect either any time soon.

1 Comment

  • I just saw Cuomo on tv a few days ago saying they had ventilators stockpiled. Which is it are they short or do they have a surplus?

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