Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday delivered a grim statement, mixing resolve and regret. Offering himself as a kind of regional leader in the — supposed — absence of federal direction, he announced, somewhat lugubriously, that he would close bars, restaurants, gyms and casinos around New York state in order to retard the spread of the coronavirus.
Call it his Rudy-at-9/11 act.
Cuomo said he worked in conjunction with the governors of New Jersey and Connecticut — casting himself, naturally, as a first among equals — to prevent what he called a “wave” of desperately sick people poised to overwhelm the state’s hospital capacity and health system, resulting in “people on gurneys in hallways,” presumably suffocating to death for a lack of ventilators.
It’s refreshing to see the governor stepping up to the plate and taking decisive steps. Shutting down schools downstate, and bars and restaurants statewide, is probably the best course of action, as New York prepares for an influx of desperately sick people into its intensive care units.
Cuomo’s bold action stands in strong distinction to the dithering of Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose flip-flops on closures over the last week — which he describes as proof of his timeliness and flexible leadership — really just demonstrate the extent to which Hizzoner is just blowing in the wind, with no compass to guide his actions.
Seth Barron is associate editor of City Journal.
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