Monday, March 29 update

(As we set off on covering our second (!) year of the pandemic in Central New York, I’m just going to pretend that I was doing these daily updates all along.)

New York State update: The state Supreme Court has ordered the Cuomo administration to be a little less medieval and get prisoners vaccinated. Meanwhile, Cuomo’s enemies — who are coincidentally on the side of most sensible and ethical New Yorkers at least twice a day — continue to load silverware into the cannons. This week, the Post has discovered that Upstate has counties, with county governments and health departments, such as Steuben and Onondaga, which were trying to do the right thing all last year and get people tested, including nursing home employees.

While the Albany press is daily coming up with new ick on Cuomo, I thought I would go down memory lane and bring up my own charges against the Dear Leader and his administration. Exhausting. Here’s just a fragment.

April 26, 2020: Depraved indifference to the basic economics of the fourth-biggest U.S. dairy state. “You know, these stories about dumping milk, I don’t really understand what the economic forces are where they have too much…Milk dumping, I don’t get it.”

April 30, 2020: Failure to communicate . Neglects to communicate promised guidance to hospitals about the resumption of elective surgeries, throwing medical facilities into confusion.

May 3, 2020: Governing by press conference. During a presser, Cuomo issues an edict that all hospitals must have a 90-day stockpile of PPE. Hospitals scramble to comply. Cuomo never actually issues the executive order and later calls it a “guideline.”

May 4, 2020: Missing the point entirely. Visited Rochester to make an appearance, not with local officials or hospital staff or essential grocery workers, but with… Danny Wegman, who would later go on to “not cover himself in glory” over mask enforcement.

This is a work in progress requiring a deep dive into the archives. But the beauty of it is that, no matter how much I procrastinate and no matter how many crimes against governing Cuomo has committed… I’ll still get it done well in time for the impeachment hearings.

Onondaga County update: Now that the state has thrown open vaccinations to everyone over 16, CE McMahon is “excited” again to be moving on to the next phase, which he anticipates will include a massive state-sanctioned drive to vaccinate all college students (SU, ESF, Le Moyne) and then perhaps county-run vaccination clinics in the school districts for high schoolers. The next phase of the master plan is to reach the 75-80% vaccination goal that will lead us to the fabled afterlife of herd immunity.

Now, at last, we can get on with “giving shots to the willing,” which in turn will help serve to isolate and reveal that most elusive of populations: white vaccine refusers. (That’s not McMahon’s way of putting it, but when he mentions “political ideology” as a factor in vaccine hesitancy, obviously he means those guys.)

I have a favorite saying, “Find the edges,” which means don’t just sit there and fret about the general things that general types of people generally do, or bemoan the impossibility of ever having an impact when large entrenched forces seem to hold sway. In any ossified situation, there are specific soft spots that exist, in the form of certain individual people who remain persuadable. Finding these people can be like finding needles in a haystack, but find them you must. They are the true edges of the tectonic plates. If you want to pull anything up, they’re where you have to place your crowbar.

So it’s not “people in the exurbs” or “rural people” that are shying away from the vaccines; it’s specific people, possibly in specific localities in Onondaga County, who are doing it. Who are they? Where do they live? Who do they listen to (locally, not on Q boards)? Without a massive drive to vaccinate the willing, leaving behind only the unwilling, this population will only exist unexposed in the heart of anecdotal darkness. (And that’s where they like to live, around here. You don’t see them out demonstrating or burning masks. Not here in Onondaga County, the heterogeneous heart-shaped heart in the middle of Central New York.)

At the end of the day, you could get every homebound senior and every Black resident and every New American vaccinated and you still wouldn’t be able to reach 75% (maybe) because of these specific people. It sounds like McMahon and the health department see them as data points, to be isolated and studied, like a virus in a lab.

If only the never-Trumpers had taken such a scientific approach to their own party’s internal rot years ago… but I suppose they have to start somewhere.