Monday, April 27 update

NYS update:  Yesterday, a lot of eyebrows were raised when Cuomo made a throwaway comment about milk dumping (“I don’t get it”).  Maybe he did get it and didn’t feel he had a lot of time to pontificate; I hope so.  Obviously, over the last 24 hours, he has “gotten it” and today started addressing all of the issues that you can read about in depth from NYFarmer (an old voice from the upstate blogroll who, over the past decade, has become a highly visible Twitterwide advocate for dairy farmers all over the world).  

In the space of just a few weeks, we have gone from a big-box grocery and restaurant-based food delivery system, to a state-subsidized food delivery system.

Amid a large surge in demand at food banks across the state, the Governor also announced the state is providing $25 million from the state’s special public health emergency fund for food banks and providers most impacted by COVID-19.  The Governor also announced the launch of the Nourish New York Initiative to purchase food and products from Upstate farms and direct it to food banks across the state. The state will also be partnering with the state’s dairy producers – Chobani, Dairy Farmers of America, Upstate Niagara, Cabot Cheese and others – to process excess milk into products like yogurt, cheese, sour cream and cream cheese, that will be distributed to food banks and those in need. 

I suppose death by sweet, sweet government Chobani is not a bad way to go for those in true need, in a time when Wegmans is now rationing pretty much everything.

Where reopening was concerned, the criteria listed in Cuomo’s presentation today seemed to speak directly to the preparations being made in Central New York/Mohawk… including a subtle hint that there isn’t going to be any State Fair this year.

No attractive nuisances. Attractive nuisances is a legal concept where you have a potentially dangerous situation that actually attracts people, normally children, to it. We can’t open an attraction that might bring many people from outside the region and then overwhelm people in that region. 

Personally, if the Fair is cancelled, people in the Syracuse area should breathe a sigh of relief… because in August, the city’s population becomes denser by tens of thousands when the University Hill students come back. Or not. But if they do come back, most of our hospitals will be in the direct line of fire. Do we really need to be coping with the State Fair and its associated concerts at the same time? Think.

Onondaga County update:  A 26th death was announced.  Once again, this county is showing a trend away from the normal — elderly women continue to die in higher numbers than men, which is the opposite of the observed national trend (or at least the NYC trend).  We are now at 15 female deaths to 11 male.

Today’s briefing seemed more subdued than ones over the past week.  Maybe Mondays just suck, or maybe the CE and his team heard things they didn’t like on their day off, either directly from Cuomo’s people or in his briefing.  In any case, no obvious rejoicing was in evidence over Central New York’s mention by Cuomo or its low 1.2% antibody test results.  Who knows.  Dr. Gupta was brought in for the first time in many days to give a thorough explanation of antibodies, antibody testing in general, and SARS-COVID-2 antibodies in particular, and how we don’t know very much about what they mean.  

When asked about the regional county planning by a reporter, McMahon’s answers seemed to imply that the governor’s office is more interested in a conversation than the presentation of a plan by the counties (“We’re sharing concepts with the state… the state has to digest the thoughts we’ve given them… we’re having a lot of dialogue right now.”)  I have no real evidence for this obviously, but I can’t help thinking that the state’s continued emphasis on antibody testing is a particular pain point for the county.  Part of Dr. Gupta’s presentation was to point out how the plethora of privately provided antibody tests don’t often agree with each other.   The CE feels that this data isn’t useful for a restart, and, “Seems there’s a lot of people getting into this business…you have to be careful who you do business with.”

One of the CE’s favorite expressions is “boxed in”:  the virus will be boxed in at the senior facilities, reporters try to box him in with their questions, an appreciative Dr. Gupta will try to box him in to providing top-drawer supportive community health services in the county budget going forward (if there even is a budget to spend).  But the elephant in the room is an elephant.  Onondaga County has been run by loyal rank and file GOP for at least the last fifty years — always playing the state and federal games well, but usually choosing to sit out the extreme ideological struggles.  For them to now sit there and watch a venal federal government starve invisible NY counties to death has to feel like the ultimate trap.

Cuomo’s cancellation of the Democratic primary will get the press today, and rightly so, as those on the left are now also trapped.  In normal years, messages can be delivered to old establishments via the ballot box.  But right now, bitter messages are being sent from on high that a whole generation of Upstate’s political aspirants may never forget.  Where our homegrown Republicans and Democrats separately go from here is anyone’s guess.