Tuesday, April 14 update

NYS update: Those who are looking for a more Upstate-aware set of briefings than what the governor’s office typically offers, might be advised to follow podcast material that will be coming out from the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC), which today had a virtual press conference. More will be forthcoming.

And now back to our show. It’s gotten to the point where the news media are using the language of foreign relations to discuss exchanges between Trump and the President of Northeastia:

Cuomo’s “de-escalation of tensions” with Washington was apparently successful, because His Highness magnanimously decreed that he would allow the governors to make their own decisions.

Later in the day, New York City decided to add a staggering 3,700 extra deaths to its coronavirus count, including suspected cases. I wonder what Cuomo is going to have to say about that tomorrow, and what the county leaders will have to say to their local media who no doubt will be buzzing to know about county-level figures.

Onondaga County update: Today, mayor of Syracuse Ben Walsh was the special guest at the 3 p.m. briefing. (I had tried to watch Syracuse.com’s livestreamed interview with Walsh yesterday, but unfortunately the stream crapped out and it never did get brought back.) I think they should have Walsh on more often — at least once a week. Walsh was there partly to give a response to yesterday’s questioning about what law enforcement is doing (or not doing) to curtail whatever social-distancing violations are happening at businesses or on playgrounds (questioning which seemed to leave CE McMahon looking a bit flat-footed yesterday, as he is not in charge of any cops).

The explanations of why no arrests have happened seem logical enough — not wanting to expose police to germs, the same miscreants doing miscreant things all the time, etc. The constant tattle calls do have to get annoying after a while, and I caught myself giving the stink-eye to a few young people at Shove Park today who seemed to be… playing a game with a ball, although none of them were at any time observed less than ten feet apart. They looked at me, I looked at them, I felt the power of schoolmarm righteousness and then… I drove off.

So what about that mysterious new Walmart/Quest testing thing going up in East Syracuse? As usual, McMahon was diplomatic and, in way more words than this, said Not in my county you don’t. Apparently they just came in and didn’t consult with the county health department about it at all, and they seem “vague,” (which smells very Trumpian if you ask me). “We will have a call with them.” Now I’m waiting to see if this site even opens up here at all if they’re asked to conform to county planning, or if this circus goes away to some other town.

The other interesting comments of the day came in relation to COVID cases and deaths at nursing homes, which is becoming a grim topic nationally as well as statewide. McMahon had been asked about this yesterday, and was cagey about some kind of “proactive, unique” intervention that they were trying to get approval for from the state. Still not saying much today, except to frankly bring up that the state department of health seems “overwhelmed” and it seems that the county health department and the CE feel that something more has to be done about looking after or at least reporting data from the nursing homes.

No change in the underlying message from previous days, that McMahon sees non-essential businesses opening here before the schools, on some kind of trial-and-error data-observational basis. And the quest for PPE is keeping the hospitals from resuming elective surgeries, and another example of inadequate PPE shipments was given in passing (N95 masks that don’t fit).

The briefing ended with this presentation on respiratory illness statistics, in lieu of the usual “good news/thanks to” segment. Whatever the nuances of the data, this was a bit of a mic-drop moment.