Just when I thought you couldn’t get a worse optic than Nancy Pelosi showing off her $60+ worth of gourmet ice cream in her $24k+ fridges, Andrew Cuomo tells her to hold his beer. Behold, Lord Farquaad:
A reporter asked Gov. Cuomo what he’d say to New Yorkers who want to go back to work because they’re running out of money, to which he replied, “economic hardship doesn’t equal death”
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 22, 2020
First of all, the illness isn’t mandatory “death.” This is elitist fear-mongering from Cuomo, who so far seemed to handle things fairly competently. In fact, the more we learn about the virus (and I remain unconvinced that we are even halfway to knowing all we can about the behavior of this virus or even how widespread it may be) the more people wonder if the fatality rate isn’t actually lower than what’s reported. I’m speaking from a point of academic curiosity here; there isn’t a stereotypical coronavirus patient, we can’t explain why some younger people who have no other extenuating health factors are impacted harder than some elderly, the symptoms aren’t consistent, and there are questions regarding oversight for the way hospitals are counting Wuhan Coronavirus deaths (and questions as to why). Cuomo accused the White House of not offering enough help, the White House sent the USNS Comfort which was underused, and now Cuomo says it’s not needed.
So no, presence of the virus isn’t a guarantee of death — but the absence of an economy is absolutely death for many people. This whole “sorry about your destroyed livelihood” or “sorry about your domestic violence, but we got a pandemic” is just insane messaging — as insane as lecturing people to not worry over the virus. Telling the reporter that those out of work can go and take a job as an essential worker is the remark of someone who never had to count the dollars until his next paycheck.
His “economic hardship doesn’t equal death” response sounds pretty rich from a well-to-do raised governor. It’s also pretty far-removed from cause and effect. “We get the economic anxiety,” he assured the reporter at one point, even though his spiel prior indicates he doesn’t. He doesn’t think she understands that other families fear death, but he fails to realizes that other families also fear death with economic hardship. Already prescriptions for depression, anxiety, and sleep aid are on the rise and child abuse cases have increased. Also:
The world is facing multiple famines of "biblical proportions" in just a matter of months, the UN has said, warning that the coronavirus pandemic will push an additional 130 million people to the brink of starvation. https://t.co/yJ03F4OSQV
— CNN (@CNN) April 22, 2020
I could engage in binary tribalism and argue that the demand for economies to remain shuttered means you want 130 million people to starve to death. This is what advocates of extending stay-at-home orders have done: they’ve castigated small and large business owners as wannabe murderers and refuse to accept the reality of their demands. This is one of them. Hospital closures are another. This is important: there is no option that eliminates risk. As I’ve said for weeks, I’ve never liked the phrase “flattening the curve” because it’s vague. You’re not reducing infections, you’re reducing the number of people infected at one time. The entire point was to avoid overwhelming medical facilities.
This was the wrong way for Cuomo to discuss this and when he finally does move on to actualize his ambitions for higher office, it will come back to bite him.