Monday, May 18 update

NYS update: Buffalo, which was at least a hundred people behind on their contact tracing army, has apparently hired them all overnight. Hopefully their training will go well. Wegmaniacal (who I believe is in the Finger Lakes region) reports:

However the state’s tracers get hired and trained, they unfortunately will have work to do:

Nine new lab-confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Clinton County are associated with several recent parties in Plattsburgh. All nine are isolating in their homes. None are currently hospitalized. Contact tracing as of Friday evening had identified 27 individuals as close contacts. These people are now in quarantine. “This rise in cases is very disturbing because it was preventable,” said John Kanoza, the County’s Director of Public Health.

How New York State’s reopening program compares to other states; also, how Germany is handling its reopening.

Onondaga County update: This was a milestone day for the county in more ways than one. Unfortunately, one of these milestones was purely negative: we finally went past 100 deaths, once state nursing home tallies were added in. The hospitalization total remains high, but we’re told that at least ten of those hospitalized are COVID nursing home patients who aren’t all that sick, and don’t yet have any alternative facility to go. The community spread number continues to go down. (We’ll know in about a week what effect the CNY reopening has had on transmission rates.)

As for the other news — the “secret” is finally out — yes, the new warehouse in Clay is Amazon; honestly what else could it have been? Three months ago, I think a lot of people would have been retching at the prospect of Amazon having such a huge footprint in CNY, perhaps myself included. It’s still problematic and distasteful, but I suspect it will be accepted with more equanimity than it would have been three months ago. It’s unclear to me how big the tax giveaway on this really is, but considering the gifts that were given to much lesser lights, and the other swindles we have endured in the years since then, this does feel… different. This isn’t Syracuse trying to reinvent itself with beanstalk-shaped malls and film studios and the Creative Class. For better or worse, Amazon is a functional conglomerate, a known entity that will do known things — both for, and to people.

However, it also feels different in a different way. The pandemic crisis put the spotlight on essential workers and the ways they are used and abused; how temporary or permanent will that spotlight be? It’s too soon to tell if warehouse workers in Syracuse will start their jobs in a different world in 2021. And while we’re speculating about the future… why would Amazon want to look at Syracuse for a major warehouse and distribution center? Does Syracuse’s location, not far from the St. Lawrence Seaway and New York’s drone corridor, say something about their view of the future?