Friday, May 15 update

NYS update: Cuomo will open the beaches. Actually, other states opened their beaches and we are going along. Will anyone go, and more importantly, what forms of transportation will they take to and from the beaches?

From the New York Times, a data-driven look at who left New York City during the pandemic and where they went. (Where will these locusts go next?)

News from the world of people who can’t go anywhere:

“He said, ‘Babe I think it’s in here,’ and I said, ‘Handsome, why you think it’s in there?’”  The coronavirus was in the prison. The place where they were making hand sanitizer to protect the public from COVID-19 now had its own outbreak. To date, 32 inmates at Great Meadow have contracted the virus.  In mid-April, Evans-Henry got another call, this time from prison staff. Her husband was positive for COVID-19.

Three rural counties in still-closed Western New York just want to GTFO:

Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties want to be considered as a sub-region, separately from Erie and Niagara counties, which have far more Covid-19 deaths and hospitalizations, according to Chautauqua County Executive Paul M. Wendel Jr. “We are not declaring independence, but we are looking to ask them to look at our numbers in the current situation. We have a uniqueness of all three counties,” he said at a news conference in Chautauqua County.

If you want to get away, state parks have done something pretty smart and have thrown open all camping reservations for the 2021 season. Normally there is a nine-month reservation window for sites, but this has been waived and you can go to Reserve America and choose any 2021 date you want. I did my part to support the parks and made some reservations; the parks probably won’t be able to fully operate this year if they didn’t do that. I have a feeling that making reservations years in advance will become the norm going forward, if only because the state parks may be having to dig themselves out of a deep hole starting now. And depending on how people feel about long-distance travel in the next few years, staycations may become very much in demand.

More good news: the Erie Canal is slowly coming back on line, region by region. As in 1820, the Long Level will open first.

Onondaga County update: This afternoon, I looked out my back window to see what appeared to be a huge kiddie birthday party going on at a house on the next street. Then their mask-free parents shooed them back in the house as lightning began to flash. We’re talking about fifteen kids and two or three sets of guardians. Happy CNY Reopening Day, everyone! Go crazy, do whatever you want. Sigh. It’s going to be a long few weeks…

The county briefing was short, because everyone wanted to get out and, ironically, go home before the storm hit.

The continuing death toll at nursing homes has not abated (six today, which brings the county total deaths to 90). It turns out that Onondaga was not “special.” The virus just took a while to get inside our nursing homes. Once there, it has done its business with abandon and it seems that no amount of proactive testing will contain it. Community spread, however, continues to go down (probably a trailing indicator).

The CE guessed that there are probably “hundreds” of local businesses that tried to open today, but the state has not sent the counties any information on which ones completed the required online state certification process, so the county as yet has no list of businesses to check on. The success of the whole reopening plan really seems to hinge on what percentage of people actually take the rules seriously. It is going to take more than Cuomo looking gubernatorial, or county executives standing at podiums.

It doesn’t matter if businesses are now open, though, because everyone will be at the dueling drive-through State Fairs, which continue to be crazy popular.

Cars began lining up before the official 1 p.m. Friday start of Carnival Eats Syracuse, the second local pop-up drive-thru fair food event to debut in Central New York in the past few weeks. This event runs until 7 p.m. today and 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in a vacant lot near the corner of North Geddes and Spencer streets.

Earlier in the afternoon, the city of Syracuse held its weekly briefing. I mostly tuned in because they had Chol Majok on to talk for a bit. I like Mayor Walsh, but wow, when he was asked about Katko voting against the COVID relief bill, his mild-mannered response reminded me of that old SNL skit where Jon Lovitz’s Michael Dukakis expressed outrage over being accused of not being passionate enough. The mayor needs to learn to play his I-card a little better. (I could say the same of McMahon at times, although he has not been asked about Katko.)

In any case, I think it will be a definite sign that the United States has actually collapsed when either of these two dare to show a bit of emotion over the fact that the GOP seems to have every intention of throwing all of New York State, including them, to the dogs.