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In the beginning, the fall-back position for New York politicians was as predictable as it was successful. As the coronavirus ripped through the city and state and fear spread like wildfire, all they had to do was blame President Trump and they were heroes.
Trump didn’t provide enough safety gear or ventilators or help with hospital beds, Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio insisted. Soon the federal government sent planeloads of equipment and invoked the Defense Production Act to build tens of thousands of ventilators. It sent a naval hospital ship and built a new hospital inside the cavernous Javits Center.
Many of the ventilators, the ship and Javits went unused, yet still the bodies piled up in nursing homes and other places as New York became America’s epicenter of death.
Soon a vaccine was seen as the only answer, and presto, in record time, the Trump Vaccine made its way to New York hospitals. And there much of it sits and sits, waiting to be put to life-saving use.
“Vaccine Rollout is Sluggish,” declared a New York Times headline Tuesday in what amounts to a scandalous understatement.
Yet the gentleness of the rebuke offers a clue about who is to blame. If it were Trump’s fault, the Gray Lady would have screamed bloody murder and called for his head.
But since the article implicitly points the finger at the leftist paper’s fellow travelers in Albany and City Hall, “sluggish” is vague enough that no allies get burned.
Others, thankfully, are not so obtuse. Republican Assemblyman Michael Lawler of Rockland County put it this way on Twitter: “It’s very simple: @NYGovCuomo asked for and was given complete control of the pandemic response back in March of last year. He therefore is completely responsible for the consequences of his decisions: nursing home deaths and the failed vaccine distribution.”
Cuomo, he of immaculate leadership, according to his own book, naturally shifts the blame to a different culprit, singling out de Blasio and New York’s public hospitals.
This time, the numbers agree. As The Post noted, the private NewYork Presbyterian Healthcare System administered 99 percent of its allotted vaccine doses, while the city’s Health + Hospitals network, which has 11 hospitals, used just 31 percent of the doses it received.
By one count, the city has administered only 110,000 doses, despite getting the vaccine nearly three weeks ago. This is government at its most callous worst.
The slow pace illustrates both the inert bureaucracy at public hospitals and de Blasio’s failure to get it moving. After seven years of his tenure, neither is a surprise.
Calling it a “management issue,” Cuomo told reporters the city hospitals “have the allocation. We want it in people’s arms as soon as possible.”
He threatened fines up to $100,000 and said from now on, hospitals must use all vaccines within 7 days, or lose it and risk being booted from the distribution system.
For de Blasio, the threats were a chance to play victim. He called the governor “arrogant” and accused him of targeting front-line workers.
“Does he think our health-care professionals are uninterested in vaccinating people?”
Well, that would seem to be the case, with the state showing that city public hospitals have vaccinated only slightly more than half of their own 23,000 eligible employees.
It is no secret that under de Blasio, everything runs late, and the habit goes far beyond his oversleeping. He’s always behind schedule when it comes to planning, whether it’s rules for restaurants, schools or vaccinations, then plays miffed when critics fault him.
He still hasn’t released any information about gifted and talented programs for the fall, leading 1,600 parents to sign a letter blasting him and Chancellor Richard Carranza for ignoring their pleas and the future of their children.
And given the continuing lockdown of restaurants and businesses, the failure to urgently use the vaccine is unforgivable. People will die and more jobs will vanish.
Rather than concede the obvious, de Blasio is resorting to one of his oldest tricks in politics — making pie-in-the-sky promises, in this case that the pace will miraculously speed up.
He said Monday the city would vaccinate 1 million people by the end of January, yet set a goal of just 100,000 this week. The pace would become a “sprint” and promised to administer 400,000 shots a week by the end of the month.
The skim-back came almost immediately. Tuesday afternoon, his office said the city would open five large-scale sites “in the coming weeks” and would “move towards” a total of 100,000 doses a week.
That certainly sounds as if he’s already backing way from the promises of 400,000 a week and a million by the end of the month, with the Tuesday statement failing to mention either of those numbers.
Even if he achieved those earlier goals, the pace of a million people being vaccinated through January would mean the city wouldn’t get to all 8 million of us until August or September. But under the new, slower timetable, getting there could easily take until next year.
That shameful, absolutely shameful.
Trapped by undeniable evidence of his own incompetence, de Blasio demanded the state and federal governments help more. See, it’s not his fault. Never is.
Meanwhile, New Yorkers who can afford to are flying to Florida where members of the real-estate Mack family helped their friends get vaccinations at a Palm Beach retirement center.
Mark that as more proof of how everything in Florida works better. If only the Sunshine State would take our politicians and give us theirs, the stampede for city exits might stop.
We can dream.
You are what you eat
The Cook Political Report includes this nugget about national polarization: “Biden carried 85 percent of counties with a Whole Foods Market and 32 percent of counties with a Cracker Barrel Old Country Store — a 53 point culture gap.”
Flagging a double standard
Headline: Proud Boys Leader Arrested in Burning of Black Lives Matter Banner.
Now, if he had burned an American flag, no harm, no foul.
Why they stand by Trump
Reader Ruth Ort sends along a letter she sent to the president, one that expresses the passion of many of his supporters. Here are excerpts: “This 82 yr. old American sobbed tonight when you started to speak in Dalton, Ga. I sobbed because I didn’t want to think that this would be your last rally. I have watched every one.
“Having lived a fairly long time, I can honestly say you are the best President we have ever had. You truly love our country and worked so hard to make America great again.
“You clearly outlined the fraud that took place and we know what you have gone through. We stand with you and pray constantly for your success. America is on the brink of destruction and only you can keep that from happening. Please keep fighting for us. You are our voice and we thank G-d for you.”
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