The pandemic blame game's new round

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A COVID-19 testing site outside of Elmhurst Hospital in Queens.

The pandemic blame game's new round

From the World Health Organization to local pols, everyone is looking to pass the buck.
May 18, 2020

Politicians at all levels have been playing the blame game ever since the pandemic began, but the public understanding of what has happened behind the scenes is only beginning to be understood.

About 100 countries are getting behind the idea of investigating how responsible the Chinese government is for the outbreak of the coronavirus. While an international investigation could reveal how key decisions by Communist Party officials and the World Health Organization helped the coronavirus spread around the globe, their collective responsibility arguably ends at the country’s borders. 

It’s not like Chinese President Xi Jinping got to make the big calls on statewide stay-at-home orders or ensuring that U.S. hospitals had enough medical supplies. That responsibility, at least in New York, rests with President Donald Trump, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. 

rump’s conduct during the pandemic has featured plenty of criticism. The pandemic has appeared to be a disaster in the making for the mayor ever since it began. Cuomo, however, continues to get high marks from the public despite mounting evidence that his administration has made several costly mistakes, as detailed in a damning ProPublica investigation

While conceding the state faced some big difficulties in addressing the crisis, public health experts say the governor’s defense of the state’s delay in issuing a stay-at-home order doesn’t make sense. Thousands have died because of his administration’s decisions regarding nursing homes. The state Health Department refuses to work with its city counterparts. It appears Cuomo has never read the state pandemic plan.

Despite a number of questionable decisions, Trumpde Blasio and Cuomo are hardly blaming themselves for making the crisis worse than it had to be. “New York had the highest number of cases not because we did anything wrong,” the governor told ProPublica, “but because the virus fooled everyone.”

Zach Williams
is a staff reporter at City & State.
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