“In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.” — Erasmus
The biggest float in Andrew Cuomo’s long parade of coronavirus briefings arrived yesterday in the shape of a massive foam mountain:
Not content with the visual impact of his college seminar-style slideshow that accompany his press conferences, Cuomo unveiled his model of a mountain which depicts the deadly 42-day increase of COVID-19 cases in New York before plunging precipitously to relatively-low levels today.
Not quite Mount Rushmore, Cuomo’s foam pile is the perfect weird metaphor for the governor’s briefings, which over the last three months have ranged from inspiring to funny to sometimes exasperating.
Fireside chats with a heavy dose of mansplaining, Cuomo’s briefings quickly stole the spotlight from the president, who has seemed far more interested in talking about anything else than a global pandemic.
While the governor has admirably steered the ship of state since cases skyrocketed in March, let’s also remember that he and Mayor de Blasio are partially to blame for the wreck we’re in. New York’s most famous frenemies were both slow to slam on the brakes when many people were screaming at them to shut the state and the city down.
It’s never a good sign when professional sports leagues — which traditionally just want to make a ton of money — beat you to the public-health punch, but let’s go to the videotape: The NBA suspended its season on March 11 while baseball’s last spring training games were played on March 12. New York’s full “pause” didn’t go into full effect for another 11 days, allowing thousands of businesses to stay open, including bars and restaurants.
Because things fell apart so badly and so quickly, New York has been a coronavirus warning sign to other states — a sign that largely has been blithely ignored by many governors and the president, who has provided mixed messages at best about the severity of the pandemic.
As the virus starts to bulldoze other states, Cuomo is wise to return to the coronavirus stage and play Cassandra. Let’s hope that we can all really laugh someday at his pile of foam. Right now, it’s not so funny.