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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo saw his popularity skyrocket in the early weeks of the pandemic, despite devastating failures that made his response to the pandemic the worst of any governor.
New York has more coronavirus deaths than any other state—more than double that of the second-highest state, New Jersey. On a per-capita basis, New York comes in at #2.
New York is a classic example of a state that failed to flatten the curve, but Cuomo nevertheless has written a book about his response to the coronavirus pandemic and how great it was.
Here an excerpt of the book description from his publisher:
When COVID-19 besieged the United States, New York State emerged as the global “ground zero” for a deadly contagion that threatened the lives and livelihoods of millions. Quickly, Governor Andrew Cuomo provided the leadership to address the threat, becoming the standard-bearer of the organized response the country desperately needed. With infection rates spiking and more people dying every day, the systems and functions necessary to combat the pandemic in New York—and America—did not exist. So Cuomo undertook the impossible. He unified people to rise to the challenge and was relentless in his pursuit of scientific facts and data. He quelled fear while implementing an extraordinary plan for flattening the curve of infection. He and his team worked day and night to protect the people of New York, despite roadblocks presented by a president incapable of leadership and addicted to transactional politics.
On Monday night, Cuomo gave a speech at the virtual Democratic National Convention, during which he called COVID-19, which originated in Wuhan, China, the “European virus” and claimed his response to the coronavirus “worked” and “it was beautiful.”
Governor Cuomo’s response to the coronavirus pandemic was faulty on several fronts.
President Trump issued stay-at-home guidelines on March 16, 2020, but New York’s lockdown wasn’t ordered until March 22—a full six days after San Francisco shut down, and three days after the state of California. Even Mayor de Blasio (whose response to the pandemic in New York City was abominable) had suggested shutting the state down five days earlier than Cuomo actually did. By the time Cuomo finally shut the state down, coronavirus cases were exploding, “with the number of confirmed cases at 15,000, doubling every three or four days.”
Cuomo seemed more interested in public confrontations with President Trump than actually leading his state. In fact, Cuomo was completely unaware of his state’s actual needs. He infamously requested 30,000-40,000 ventilators to help see New York through the pandemic, and complained when the federal government couldn’t provide that many, and infamously called out Trump by saying, “You pick the 26,000 people who are going to die.”
New York ultimately only needed fewer than 6,000 ventilators to get them through the peak of the pandemic. Eventually, New York started giving extra ventilators to other states that needed them more.
But Cuomo’s coronavirus response will most likely be remembered for his deadly nursing home policy.
On March 25, Cuomo ordered nursing homes to accept patients regardless of their coronavirus status. Even then it was well known that the elderly were more vulnerable to the virus, so having patients who tested positive for the coronavirus in nursing homes allowed it to spread, as Cuomo put it, “like fire through dry grass.”
Despite this, Cuomo defended the policy. Nursing homes “don’t have a right to object. That is the rule and that is the regulation and they have to comply with that,” Cuomo said during a daily briefing. He finally rescinded the order on May 11, but the damage had been done. Nursing home patients represent a mere .46 percent of the United States population but account for at least 43 percent of all coronavirus deaths. Cuomo enabled a massive outbreak in New York nursing homes and then tried to cover it up.
Cuomo dismissed criticism of the policy. “Older people, vulnerable people are going to die from this virus. That is going to happen despite whatever you do. Because with all our progress as a society, we can’t keep everyone alive.”
Imagine if Trump had said that.
David Bernstein, the associate publisher of Bombardier Books, an imprint of Post Hill Press, was appalled by the news of Cuomo’s new book.
“I don’t like to criticize other publishers; generally it’s an unprofessional thing to do. But honestly, as a New Yorker, this strikes me as cynical, ghoulish, and abominable,” Bernstein told PJ Media. “Making a quick buck on the tens of thousands of dead, hundreds of thousands still in mourning, and untold numbers unemployed and impoverished is not something I would do, and I think most decent people in publishing agree with me.”
“Even worse, it feels more like an attempt to whitewash Cuomo’s record for political reasons than a pure money grab. But whatever the motivation, I wish it wasn’t being published,” Bernstein added.
Cuomo’s book will be published on October 13, by Crown, an imprint of Penguin Random House.