Friday, April 24 update

NYS update: With nothing new to report on statewide reopening (maybe he’s waiting for CentralMohawkia’s ideas?), Cuomo went on the offensive today, daring McConnell to go ahead, declare New York bankrupt. (Don’t worry, kids. Nobody’s going bankrupt.)

Thank you Robert Moses, New York can still borrow. Indeed, the state is moving forward with a short-term borrowing plan and could still raise cash through its myriad public authorities…Aside from the legal issues, a major state like New York declaring bankruptcy would send the bond markets into a profound spiral. There’s a reason why the state debt bill goes first in the budget voting — gotta keep those creditors happy.  

(The authorities, saving New York from ruin? Somewhere, I hope Richard Brodsky is laughing at the absurdity of it all.)

Cuomo threw in some insulting words for the state of Kentucky, but I always find the “we pay for you poor places” gotcha to be tiresome. I know the argument it’s coming from, but if New York was really that rich and powerful, it would be its own country, and Wall Street would have to raise its own armies to protect its oil and other exploitation projects. (Wall Street bails Kentucky out — and each and every one of us bails Wall Street out, so let’s all give each other’s money back, shall we?) I just think there are better ways of telling Mitch McConnell that he’s a dick.

It’s a sad sign of the state of the Empire State that the Erie Canal — in what was to have been its bicentennial season — has been labeled nonessential and will not open on May 15.

“However, to support the Canal’s continued use as a prime recreational waterway, the Canal Corporation is currently evaluating operational options to ensure New Yorkers will have access to the Canal system, if even potentially on a regional basis, this season.

There’s that word again… “regional.” This just in: Dutchess, Orange and Ulster have had enough of this crap too. All hail Midstatia.

Onondaga County update: Today’s major event was the City of Syracuse briefing. Excellent news: none of the city’s police or fire personnel have gotten sick. Not so excellent news: the hole blown in the city’s projected budget is so gigantic, that it’s almost the equivalent of what it costs to pay them. Mayor Walsh complained (rightly so) about the latest federal stimulus package that gave nothing to states and localities.

In hospital news, it appears that Syracuse has a critical shortage of Trump groupies, because Upstate can’t find anyone who wants to participate in a hydrochloroquine trial.

The county briefing was an hour later than normal and began with the announcement of two more deaths, bringing the total to 25 (14 female, 11 male). All other metrics remained very favorable. A new feature of the daily Count of the County was that recoveries were listed on a town-by-town basis for the first time. This seems like another carefully calibrated control rod. It’s now time to move people’s minds toward reopening, while still keeping their bodies relatively confined; there’s no point in opening for business (someday) if everyone is too afraid to venture out. The figures are listed with all positive cases as usual, but with the recoveries in parentheses, so that you still see the scary positive number, but then also a number that is reassuring. (It would not do, for example, to do the math for everyone and reveal that the Town of Camillus has only four active cases right now.)

CE McMahon implies that he sees the structure and mission of the county health department to be permanently changed, and at least $1 million will be spent on the initial outlay for the regional track-and-trace team. The county’s PPE situation is much better than it has been in the past, though apparently “surprise” shipments of substandard or unwanted items still happen. About 20,000 masks will be given to senior centers, the Syracuse Housing Authority, La Liga and “our New American community.” (I hope they are the good masks.)

But how about that Pizza Frite stand, with cars lined up for hours waiting for all the doughy sugary goodness?!? Some people have an innate need to flock, and flock they did. Asked about it by a reporter, the CE let out a bit of a sigh, obviously trying not to be a poop about it; but where continued social distancing is concerned, this is the only the beginning of the end of the beginning.