Friday, May 22 update

NYS update: “Imagine if you were in a real war,” said Cuomo today, after pointing out that Memorial Day got its start in Waterloo. However, a better analogy to the COVID crisis is not being “at war,” but rather being under an occupation. This is something that mainland Americans have never experienced in the last 150 years, so it’s unsurprising that we don’t know how to act, and don’t understand how occupations work. People in France could probably still tell you what it meant for innocent people when undisciplined partisans ran around acting invincible. If you weren’t caught and summarily shot yourself, the Nazis would just select other people at random and shoot them as an example. This is how the virus behaves toward a population that refuses to wear masks. You, the freedom lover, may or may not get shot, but someone else almost certainly will.

Speaking of assholes, Cuomo was definitely acting like one toward the press today, not sure what was up with that (I mean, why this has suddenly returned, not that he hasn’t been known to do that). Maybe he was acting porky because he was feeling boxed in; at last word tonight, there will be a new executive order making all gatherings of 10 okay, whatever their purpose. This is thought to be because the ACLU complained about the first amendment.

Maybe he will be even testier tomorrow, since he got dinged at the very end of the press conference when he was asked about this allegation that the state has been outsourcing the overwhelmed Department of Labor’s unemployment claims processing to non-New York workers. “Who says we’ve outsourced?” Cuomo wondered, looking around blankly, until Robert Mujica jumped in and explained that, uh yeah, we actually kinda did, although the number of non-New York workers involved was very small.

Onondaga County update: There were no new hospital deaths today, and a lower community spread number (12), but the percent of asymptomatic positives over the last 3 days is now at 53%. Dr. Gupta was on hand today to answer a few questions, a sign that this percentage may be making the county officials nervous. (However, perhaps this may not be as dangerous a situation as supposed; a new South Korean study finds that many recovered patients who still test positive are only shedding dead virus. Perhaps some of our asymptomatic positive cases had mild cases of COVID in the past.)

The county passed an unwelcome milestone today when it was announced that one city of Syracuse policeman and one firefighter have tested positive for COVID. This is said to have occurred in the past week. Up until now, there were no confirmed infections among these groups. In the county briefing, the subject of cops, enforcement and personal safety came up again. There is a recurring line of questioning at least once a week about how serious (or not) the police are about breaking up gatherings, which is admittedly relevant going into the Memorial Day weekend. It’s a delicate subject that of involves first responders’ personal safety, but — as we have seen in Lewis County — one wonders how closely first responders’ bosses want to enforce certain policies. (I’m not saying this is a problem in Onondaga County, but we’ve seen this elsewhere in the state and nation.)

However, the hot topic of the day was how the county planned to deal with another incoming Trump-bomb — the silly and dangerous threat to order all churches open, no matter what governors say. The CE happened to be in a good position to answer this one because he had already floated a 25% capacity plan for churches in Phase 2. (With Trump around, all you have to do is wait a day, and anything you propose will seem reasonable once he stops speaking.) McMahon usually has very little to say about Trump and it seems clear that chaos in Albany and chaos in Washington are just two parallel shitstorms that New York’s county governments have to deal with daily at this point. He sounded distinctly unenthusiastic about Trump’s proclamation, as anyone with any degree of sanity would, which fortunately includes church leaders in Syracuse.

As for Washington… well, it doesn’t inspire confidence that the City of Syracuse tweeted this today:

Also worth noting from today’s county briefing is that the county plans to do (voluntary) testing of inmates at the Justice Center and Jamesville next week. Testing in the Town of Lafayette will also happen next week. Speaking of that general vicinity, the Onondaga Nation released a statement today after weeks of quiet.

As of May 22, 2020, there have been no positive COVID-19 cases reported on the Onondaga Nation. But the Onondaga Nation Chiefs, Clan Mothers, and Faithkeepers want to continue to remind everyone that this a very contagious virus.