What Went Wrong in the Early Days of COVID

James Watkins | September 15, 2021


Former Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio are to blame for the lockdowns and pandemic mania that came to our shores in early Spring 2020. Had it not been for their complete mismanagement of the COVID “pandemic,” it would have been nothing more than a really bad flu season, one which could have been treatable, manageable and mitigated, especially since we knew who were vulnerable, who were not, and how to minimize morbidity, even at that early stage.

Were it not for the two clowns who run New York State and its biggest city, the rest of the nation would not have gone into panic mode thinking we all faced what we saw happening in New York.

An early CDC study in March 2020 showed Covid-19 had probably started to spread in the greater New York area in late December, which means the virus had time to spread as Europeans (as well as some travelers from China) brought the first wave to our shores. This we know. 

In February the mayor still refused to close subways and schools, still downplayed the virus and it wasn’t until a small outbreak occurred in New Rochelle that both the Mayor and the Governor went into full militia mode. But by then, the virus had already spread.

But it wasn’t the spread that caused the high number of deaths. Closing schools and shutting down transportation was already futile by the time De Blasio mandated closure; how could it not?

The Island of Manhattan is a self-contained incubator with seventeen million people coming and going every day. COVID was already out there, but deaths were not driven by the masses catching it because Covid only really kills about 2 people out of every 10,000, unless the people who are most vulnerable, namely older people with underlying conditions or poor immune systems, are shoved into nursing homes by law, carrying the virus with them to infect others, including health care workers who facilitate further spread. Which is exactly what happened.

The key is perception.

By March of 2020 we had already heard of places like Italy and Wuhan enduring massive deaths and sickness from COVID-19. We saw the pictures in China, and in Italy where people were locked down. Milan was probably the epicenter because Milan was part of the Belt and Road initiative, Chinese laborers flooded Milan, and the same is true in Belgium, also among the hardest hit when COVID-19 erupted. It was only natural that when the next wave hit New York the way it did, the rest of the U.S. (along with the civilized world) would be scared shitless into thinking it was always going to be that way everywhere.

Except that New York was the exception, not the rule Thanks to Andy and Bill, the two people who couldn’t have handle it worse than anyone else, except perhaps Gavin Newsom and Gretchen Whitmer who repeat the same mistakes.

Had Cuomo not forced tens of thousands of elderly into nursing homes instead of keeping the sick in medical quarantine, COVID deaths would have been reduced drastically. Had these leaders allowed business to stay open and schools to stay open while protecting the elderly and infirm, and had the news media not gone scorched-earth team coverage mode on coverage of mass graves and refrigeration units for dead bodies, the rest of the country would have dealt with COVID with much less fear.

Because we knew so little about this virus at that point, the rest of the country falsely expected the same explosion everywhere else, which never really came.

New York has always held the top spot with the most deaths in the fewest amount of time. In less than two weeks (March 02 to April 09, 2020) deaths from COVID in New York rose 5782%

showing daily deaths in New Yprk since COVID hit in January 2020

New York fed the virus’ to New Jersey and because of two things. 1) the virus arrived far earlier than we thought which allowed it to spread unfettered, 2) Leadership exposed too many elderly, along with health workers who were not prepared for COVID, driving up death rates quickly.

Even today, the Atlantic reports that more than half of all Covid hospitalizations turn out to be mild or even asymptomatic.

Ask yourself this question: Was the subsequent spread of COVID-19 across the U.S. reflective of what happened in New York, or did spread resemble more of what happens during normal flu season?

The clear answer is the latter. COVID spreads because you can’t stop a virus. But deaths were not “shock and awe” as they were along the Eastern seaboard because the sick weren’t being forced back into the general population.

America expected big bangs but instead saw slower increases in COVID deaths that were far more manageable than we expected. 

I live in Florida, the epicenter of old people. We never saw the huge spikes as did our neighbors to the north, but what was done differently (and what de Blasio and Cuomo should have done): separate the vulnerable (65+) and when the vaccines were available make sure as many of the vulnerable as possible got the jab first and quickly.

Mistakes were made. Not all of the deaths under Cuomo and De Blasio’s watch were their fault, but a great many were and the tone of the country was set by the mistakes made by these men who were more concerned with political stature than using common sense to save lives early, when it counted.

No doubt the media will upstep “infections” in the coming months. The folks at ABC seem to get an erection by promoting vaccines, so be prepared. Perception is not always reality.

One thing we did learn was wearing masks and washing our hands did much to prevent a nasty flu season.

Lesson learned.

Maybe that should be the strategy this year, instead of worrying about vaccine passports and jabbing little Johnny who hasn’t even been circumcised yet.

James Watkins is the producer of Candidly Speaking and host of the continuing series podcast Coronavirus Update.

Follow Jim on Twitter @realjimwatkins1

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