The draconian lockdowns imposed by dozens of Democratic leaders, did very little to halt the outbreak of Covid, Robert Bridge writes.
Gavin Newsom and Andrew Cuomo, the governors of California and New York, respectively, appear to be struggling for their political lives over their bungled handling of the pandemic. Is the tide finally turning against the lockdown mentality?
The groundswell of public animosity currently being directed at the Democratic state leaders disproves the adage that ‘all publicity is good publicity’. Just ask New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Despite a fawning media that only shows its fangs at Republican prey, the accusations against Cuomo are becoming harder to ignore considering that they border on criminal neglect.
The problems for the governor date back to March 1, 2020 when the first reported case of Covid emerged in New York. Nineteen days later, with just 35 fatalities connected to the virus in New York City, Cuomo ordered all nonessential workers to stay home, prohibited gatherings of any size, while demanding that citizens comply with a 6-foot social distancing decree. At this point, many New York citizens were wondering ‘where’s the science’ behind the seemingly irrational commands.
Why is Andrew Cuomo still holding his seat in office?
— Kambree (@KamVTV) February 16, 2021
Then came a truly bizarre move. On March 25, the Cuomo administration barred nursing homes from refusing seniors on the grounds that they had COVID-19. If ever there was a perfect way for spreading a deadly virus, all the more virulent among senior citizens, many of them already suffering other health issues, this was it. New York health officials said that nursing homes were forbidden “by law” to reject anyone they couldn’t adequately care for. While that may be true, it was an unforgivable directive from officials who were trying to come to grips with a pandemic that had just shut down their entire economy. And the ‘oversight’ would prove deadly.
Last month, a shocking report from New York Attorney General Letitia James describes how the governor’s office may have undercounted the number of COVID-linked nursing home deaths by more than 50%. That news should have come as no surprise considering that New York is one of the only states that calculate residents who died on the territory of the nursing homes and not those who later died in hospitals. That methodology allowed Cuomo to say that the Empire State had a lower percentage of nursing home deaths compared to other places, when in fact just the opposite was true.
Instead of an official tally of 8,711 nursing home deaths to the virus, the toll was actually more than 13,000, sending New York from number 6 to highest in the country.
Any guesses who the Cuomo administration blames for its lack of public candor? If you guessed ‘Russia’ you are close.
Secretary to the governor Melissa DeRosa admitted during an audio meeting with Democratic lawmakers that the Cuomo administration had turned down a legislative request for a Covid count in August because “right around the same time, [then-President Donald Trump] turns this into a giant political football.”
“He starts tweeting that we killed everyone in nursing homes,” DeRosa said. “He starts going after [New Jersey Gov. Phil] Murphy, starts going after [California Gov. Gavin] Newsom, starts going after [Michigan Gov.] Gretchen Whitmer.”
In addition to attacking Cuomo’s fellow Democratic governors, DeRosa said, Trump “directs the Department of Justice to do an investigation into us.”
“And basically, we froze,” she explained to the lawmakers.
It would be nice to believe that the Democratic lawmakers will follow up with a serious investigation into Cuomo’s lockdown madness, which led to the deaths of untold senior citizens as coronavirus swept through nursing homes like wildfire. But with partisan politics what they are, calls for an investigation, and even Cuomo’s resignation, will be thwarted by allusions to the greatest bogeyman next to Russia, which of course is the former U.S. president Donald Trump. Whether the New York citizenry continue to buy that charade now that Trump is out of office is another question.
Meanwhile, across the country and just after Valentine’s Day, members of the Recall Newsom 2020 movement sent a love letter of sorts to embattled California Governor Gavin Newsom, saying they had collected enough signatures – 1.5 million to date – to trigger a special statewide election to challenge his grip on power, and more specifically the way he has handled the pandemic response. The recall group, which has employed a small army to circulate their petition around the state, mentioned the “significant things” Newsom has done to help the group get the necessary signatures before the March 17 deadline.
“The governor has done things, significant things, to help our cause, and, actually, you know, we have nobody else to thank but Governor Gavin Newsom for the success of this recall and he has nobody else to blame,” Orrin Heatlie, lead petitioner for Recall Newsom 2020, told NBC 7.
While Democrats have slammed the initiative as a “vanity project” of ‘Trump Republicans,’ the movement has found sympathy among many Californians who are frustrated with the enforcement of rules and regulations that many people find senseless and self-defeating.
Our ICUs are climbing quickly toward their capacity. Our death rate is rising.
To slow the surge of #COVID19 and save lives, CA is introducing a Regional Stay-At-Home Order.
Regions where ICU capacity⁰fall below 15% will be placed into this Stay-at-Home Order ⁰for 3 weeks.
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) December 3, 2020
Just some of those orders included a 10:00 p.m. – 5 a.m. curfew for 41 of the state’s 58 counties, which is representative of more than 94 percent of the state’s total population. The two-month curfew, which remained in place throughout the make-or-break holidays, was put into effect just days after Newsom was spotted at a birthday party at an upscale restaurant. None of the dozen guests in attendance, including Governor Newsom, were observed obeying the very mask and social distancing rules he had imposed on the citizens of his state. As far as hypocrisy and elitism goes, that disastrous decision ranked close to Marie Antoinette’s ‘let them eat cake’ quip.
Other draconian rules put in place by Newsom include the closure of beaches, the cessation of indoor worship, the cancellation of in-school classes, including the nation’s second-largest school district in Los Angeles, and the shutdown of most indoor businesses. Particularly cruel, especially considering that the youth are particularly resilient to Covid, was the closure of playgrounds amid the stay-at-home orders. The insanity reached fever pitch when some California cities actually covered over skateboarding parks with sand to ensure pubescent youth remained bored out of their minds.
These regulations, which seemed to be motivated more by an insane and insatiable lust for power than any scientific decision-making process, have led many to suspect they were part of a deliberate effort to drag down support for then-president Donald Trump amid one of the most consequential elections in modern U.S. history.
With the benefit of hindsight, the draconian lockdowns imposed by both Andrew Cuomo and Gavin Newsom, as well as dozens of other Democratic leaders, did very little to halt the outbreak of Covid. In reality, it only exasperated the living conditions for their citizens, deprived as they continue to be of their ‘nonessential work’ and the freedom to live their lives as they wish.
A simple comparison of statistics between lockdown-happy California and freedom-loving Florida tells the whole story. According to analysis conducted by the Daily Mail, California Governor Gavin Newsom’s harsh lockdowns resulted in 8,499 cases and 130 deaths per 100,000 residents. At the same time, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who dropped regulations preventing people from operating businesses, has resulted in 8,306 cases and 117 deaths per 100,000 residents.
Today, Ron DeSantis is being discussed as a possible running mate for Donald Trump in the 2024 presidential elections, while Gavin Newsom and Andrew Cuomo appear to be heading to political oblivion. How their political fortunes ultimately turn out remains to be seen, but now that the American people can see that there are viable, healthy alternatives for battling the Covid pandemic than isolation and economic destruction, harsh lockdowns are going to be increasingly difficult to defend in the future.