In an interview with a Fox News podcast this week, Sen. Rand Paul expressed bemusement over Dr. Anthony Fauci’s conclusion that New York “got it right” when responding to the coronavirus pandemic this spring. Paul, who has been critical of the country’s reliance on a handful of medical experts when it comes to answering questions about reopening the economy, said that New York is the last place the rest of the country should look at when devising a pandemic strategy.
“The people we are lauding are actually making catastrophic decisions,” Paul said. “I think Gov. Cuomo should be impeached for the disastrous decision he made to send patients with coronavirus back to nursing homes. Virtually half his people who died were in nursing homes.”
Paul is correct; much to Cuomo’s dismay (he has absurdly blamed the Trump administration for this grim error in judgment), New York state saw more than 6,000 people die in their long-term care facilities due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Paul said it was also worth looking at New York’s March lockdown, which failed to stop the spread of the virus.
“New York had a lockdown and had 30,000 people die. New York had the worst death rate of any place in the world amidst a lockdown. So perhaps a lockdown didn’t do any good, and perhaps a lockdown killed our economy but didn’t do anything to stem the tide of a virus,” he noted.
Paul said that even states with rising coronavirus rates should be cautious about moving forward with new lockdown restrictions. He advised leaving people to take personal responsibility for their own safety – measures that will differ according to “their own risks with regard to the virus.”
“For those under 18, the risk of mortality is about one in a million or a little bit less. For those ages 18 to 45, it’s about 10 out of 100,000 for the mortality,” he said. “Under age 45, this disease we’re looking at is less dangerous than the seasonal flu. Above age 45, it’s more dangerous than the seasonal flu.”
Well, the thing about this virus is that we’re still so early in its existence that we don’t know everything there is to know. Scientists are still trying to figure out why most infected people only pass it on to one (or often zero) others, while certain people who get the disease wind up infecting dozens. If they can crack the mystery of these so-called “superspreaders,” we might be able to loosen some of these restrictions that are causing the economy so much damage.
But yeah, in the meantime, the idea of looking at Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio as icons of proper virus response is laughable.