Thursday, July 2 update

NYS update: Yesterday’s Cuomo presser was the first one I’d watched live in a long time. Like many of his briefings, at first it gets you all chesty proud to listen to his bracing tough talk. Then it almost becomes hypnotic — the slow delivery, the pregnant pauses, the slides; surely his approach will be studied by actual totalitarians for decades to come. On some days — and so it proved yesterday — it starts to devolve into pure Frank Costanza. Reasonable questions asked (“What makes Upstate indoor dining different from NYC indoor dining that isn’t allowed?”) turn into rambling soliloquies that never do answer the question. I stumbled away vowing never to get sucked in to a live Cuomo briefing again, knowing full well that I would.

Meanwhile, the state health department has had a “shakeup,” meaning Howard Zucker isn’t going anywhere but the second-in-command at D’OH is. Does this mean that Zucker is just a figurehead who has nothing to do with any real decisions, or does it mean that someone was asked to fall on her sword? According to Politico, this official has not resigned, which makes you wonder if she’s being kept on in a home-desk job in order to keep her quiet, SUNY-style. (But with so many people in home-desk jobs now, how would we even know?)

In Rockland County, where a high school student returning from Florida had the big infectious graduation party that prompted Cuomo to call a quarantine, subpoenas were issued when entitled Chappaqua residents decided they weren’t going to cooperate with contact tracers. Because we’re already knee-deep in a pandemic which was largely brought to this country by rich assholes flying all over the place, and that’s not good enough for them. Suddenly now they’re cooperating after the county threatened to fine them $2,000 a day.

And the United States government is not planning to get us involved in a World War III, but if it were, the North Country would have a big bullseye painted on it:

Fort Drum was named as the preferred site for the location of a land-based missile defense underlayer, a project that would expand Fort Drum as a military installation and locate a regional missile defense system on post. Last June, Fort Drum was designated as the preferred location for an East Coast missile defense site by a “small margin,” according to the Department of Defense. The DOD indicated they had no plans to actually build the system. At the time, Rep. Stefanik said that just as she had pushed for Fort Drum to become the preferred site for the system, she would push for the department to move forward with the project.

Onondaga County update: The “Rye Day” party on June 20, if there was even any doubt after the murder of a 17-year-old boy, was a very bad idea. Now it seems that COVID also crashed the party — two attendees have tested positive (and are symptomatic), which will make the health department’s contact tracers very busy. There were arrests made in the murder, but it’s going to be hard to prove which bullets from which shooter hit which people.

The CE was on the stern side during his briefing (well, for him) especially when addressing the possibility of a cluster developing from the Rye Day party and urging everyone who was at the party to get tested immediately at a special mobile site being set up downtown. For the first time in weeks, the “curve” placard was brought out again. McMahon also came on stage still wearing his mask, something he usually hasn’t done. Also for the first time I can remember, he was stressing that gathering-size rules would be enforced countywide and in the towns. (Not that he has any real power to tell town police departments what to do.) Clearly the upcoming holiday weekend combined with the rising tide elsewhere in the U.S., is making lots of officials more nervous.

I’m beginning to feel like Wegmans and other big box stores are turning into no-go zones again, although I certainly haven’t been rushing into any of them. This worry is despite the still modest rate of community spread (today: 12 community cases). The CE is right to note that people around here are starting to lose focus. I forgot to wash my hands after going out to a store today. McMahon touched his face three times during today’s briefing. (I’m sorry I noticed that, but I did.) We’re all noticing what other people are doing and not paying attention to ourselves. Maybe the disaster happening outside our borders will refocus people. Or maybe it is contributing to the sense of distraction.

You know that you’re deep inside “the new normal” when, during your dreams at night, going about your ordinary dream business, you find yourself feeling uneasy about going into large crowds of dream-people. This is probably where a lot of us are right now. We just have to hope that enough of us are in that space.