A woman wears a mask as she commutes during rush hour on a subway, Tuesday, March 17, 2020 in New York. The subway is normally crowded but many people are staying home out of concern for the spread of coronavirus. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
We all know that New York and specifically New York City has been hit the hardest so far by the Wuhan coronavirus, it’s the epicenter.
At the point of this writing, New York has 226,198 cases with 16,106 alleged deaths. 3700 were added this week despite not being confirmed positive, as “presumed” virus deaths, as my colleague Streiff reported.
So that naturally leads one to ask why. Now there are likely a lot of different reasons why. We could point to the slow reaction of critical people like Mayor Bill de Blasio, for example.
But at this point, I’ll leave conclusions to another time, I’d just like to be asking a question.
When we hear things about New York shutting things down, what they didn’t shut down was the subway. People have been riding on it throughout the outbreak. It was only this week that Gov. Andrew Cuomo mandated that people wear a mask outside in NYC.
So government officials are shutting down religious services and other public gatherings across the country, but people have been riding the subway, that was often packed (although less so recently) without masks, gloves or anything. Can we say what sense does that make?
Now Mayor Bill de Blasio seems to be trying to rewrite history.
He claimed on Thursday that he had been encouraging people early on to avoid public transportation if they could.
From NY Post:
“Early on we said to people, if you don’t need to go on the subway, don’t; if you can work from home, work from home; if you can walk or bike or anything else, do so,” Hizzoner told reporters at his daily press briefing.
“There was a concern to start clearing out the subway to the maximum extent possible while recognizing that we also depended on the subway to get essential workers to do the lifesaving work they do.”
But as the Post points out, that just isn’t true.
Up through March 8, the Mayor was still encouraging people to ride the subway for people who weren’t sick. He even took a subway ride to encourage others to continue to do so on March 5. On March 8, his office said if you were sick, you shouldn’t be riding on the subway.
De Blasio, who rarely rides the subway, rode it on March 5 for the express purpose of assuring New Yorkers it was safe. He and his health officials said repeatedly it was unlikely to spread in that kind of setting.
— Erin Durkin (@erinmdurkin) April 16, 2020
De Blasio on 3/5: “I’m here on the subway to say to people nothing to fear, go about your lives.” https://t.co/hRbgz7leIt
On 3/3: “You cannot contract it through casual contact, so the subway is not the issue” https://t.co/OvRWR5tUNy
— Erin Durkin (@erinmdurkin) April 16, 2020
You can check out the picture of him on the subway here.
Not understanding the science has consequences.
“From what we do understand, you cannot contract it through casual contact so the subway is not the issue,” de Blasio said on March 3, responding to concerns that a Manhattan lawyer with the virus may have commuted from his home in New Rochelle on the Metro-North Railroad.
“Home is the issue, home is the problem, where you are in constant, regular, intense contact with other people, breathing the same air, the same bodily fluids around, like that’s the issue,” he said at the time.
“Subway is the other extreme, limited contact in a more open space, short period of time. Subways is not our problem right now.”
Oh my gosh, how bad is that? He was encouraging people on March 5 not to change their habits, according to the New York Daily News.
“I’m here on the subway to say to people nothing to fear, go about your lives and we will tell you if you have to change your habits but that’s not now,” Hizzoner said on a packed C train he caught at the Fulton St. stop Downtown.
He only rode one stop.
According to the New York Post, when he was busted with his numerous statements that New Yorkers should continue their normal activities, to “go about their lives” in the lead up to the city’s outbreak, de Blasio said the time to deal with the question was “after this war is over.”
Trying to rewrite history. But this isn’t the Soviet Union and the internet is forever.
Here he is on March 10, it’s crazy: