NYS update: On days like this, it’s hard to feel bitter or even envious about Cuomo’s ungubernatorial attachment to his hometown. On some days it’s easier to understand that basically the only reason why New York City politicians have grown to ignore Upstate so much over the last few decades, is because they are the Youtubial cats fighting over the one steak. Even if their house is absolutely on fire, they will keep their jaws firmly clenched on the meat.
Team de Blasio says they gave team Cuomo a heads up Saturday morning that they would be announcing a plan to keep schools closed through the end of the year, but the governor did not indicate he would be throwing water on de Blasio’s plan until after the announcement was made, according to City Hall sources. “We told the Governor what we were doing and did not know this morning going into the news conference that this was going to be an issue,” said one de Blasio adviser who asked not to be identified.
Cuomo’s mind is on tri-state regional coordination where schools and reopening are concerned. Meanwhile, on the news shows, no one can believe that Cuomo does not want to give up this tussle in order to be president, vice president, or even a cabinet member again. (Why not just believe him? At this point, being President of the United States seems like nothing but a booby prize.)
In statewide relief news, New York’s Loudest have been called to the front lines to assist in the crisis, providing pro bono help for those who need to lawyer up.
Onondaga County update: More of the same from yesterday, with a slight uptick in positives, showing that things are still wavering statistically back and forth on that plateau. However, this was a quite substantial briefing, probably because there will be none tomorrow for the Easter holiday. Some unexpected good news: with SUNY Upstate’s own lab now up and running, reportedly Crouse Hospital will have its own testing lab operational possibly by the end of next week. This is a welcome development for the county and region as we go into the uncertain timeline ahead. We may not be able to test everyone for some time, but at least the test results will be quickly available. (Monroe and Erie Counties continue to limp inexplicably behind on testing.)
McMahon also advanced Yet Another Metric to look at while considering possible gradual reopening — the 7-day rolling average of testing demand, a number which is currently between 200 and 250. Would an average of 150 tell us if social distancing has really been working enough?
The CE also rattled off some very impressive statistics on Onondaga County’s public assistance and volunteer efforts: 430,000 meals for students; 50,200 meals for seniors and other adults; 550 essential workers using the free day care, 1800 emotional support calls to mental health hotlines.
The other major news was something I had been hoping to hear — Onondaga County will attempt to track COVID levels in county wastewater as they try to prepare for any reappearance of the virus in the months ahead. CE McMahon explained that while the complexities of the county’s wastewater plant system won’t allow consistent tracking by municipality (the City of Syracuse shares its plant with several local towns, while some of the northern towns have their own facilities), it can at least provide another useful warning signal. (This is an approach being studied by European researchers.)
In a way, it’s a strange prospect: Republican leaders who would rather track wastewater to keep an eye on COVID instead of, say, implanting personal trackers into individual people’s colons. At least locally, it’s almost as if this crisis is putting the “public” back into Republican, forcing them to pivot and choose new ways to defend some of their core values (privacy, liberty, etc). That said, this all seems like more of a Ryan McMahon thing than a national or even regional Republican thing, so don’t get too intrigued. But when you listen to Cuomo and De Blasio squabble, then come back up here and see our leaders, hospitals and community marching in sensible time together, you have to wonder a bit, who the future might start belonging to.