Gov. Cuomo is spiking the football, dunking the basketball, and dashing around the soccer field taking off his shirt. He’s spraying champagne all over Albany. He’s Muhammad Ali standing over the crumpled form of Sonny Liston in 1965: Boom, take that, coronavirus. Woo-hoo! Victory! Only 31,000 deaths. New York suffered through the equivalent of 9/11 times 11 but . . . yay?
“You played politics with this virus and you lost,” Cuomo said in an interview Thursday, referring to Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis, with whom Cuomo is engaging in a bizarre feud to rival his utterly nonsensical ongoing war with fellow liberal Democrat Mayor de Blasio.
“It’s now undeniable this country paid a terrible price,” Cuomo continued, suggesting . . . what? That other states lacked the sage wisdom of Andrew Cuomo, slayer of the coronavirus? Thirty-one thousand New York families would like a word.
It rather looks like COVID-19 won. If any entity deserves to brag, it’s Satan’s cupcake, with 31,000 graves to dance on. And if DeSantis, as Cuomo claims, “lost,” the scoreboard doesn’t reflect it. Florida has a larger population than New York state but has registered fewer than one-third as many coronavirus cases. Florida has seen 15 COVID-19 fatalities per 100,000 population; New York, 160. With 46,000 deaths between them, New York and its sibling New Jersey have combined for more fatalities than France, Spain and Italy.
Cuomo has gotten a lot of credit from the public for taking the pandemic seriously and for being calm and forthright with statistics. But he still refuses to admit error for his disastrous March 25 directive, which remained in effect until June 10, to force nursing homes to accept infected people, although he keeps changing his story about who is to blame for the death toll in those facilities. Now it’s all Trump’s fault; now it’s the nursing-home staff.
His latest gambit, to declare that New York’s alleged victory over the disease was really a case of love conquering all, while insisting the real problem lies in states where there have been nowhere near as many fatalities as in his own, delights the media, always eager to play along with a red-states-are-evil propaganda campaign. The relative death counts tell a different story.
Kyle Smith is critic-at-large for National Review, from which this column was adapted.