When will Gov. Andrew Cuomo start listening to the science, as he tells everyone else to do? By ignoring new warnings by two key experts, he’s adding to New Yorkers’ suffering — especially the poor and people of color.
The World Health Organization’s COVID envoy, David Nabarro, is pleading for leaders to avoid lockdowns. “Stop using lockdown as your primary control method,” he begs. They’ve led to “a terrible, ghastly global catastrophe,” possibly “doubling” world poverty and child malnutrition by next year.
And economist Emily Oster crunched the numbers to show that reopened schools are not virus “superspreaders.”
Alas, Cuomo doesn’t care: Last week he reimposed lockdowns on several hot zones, shutting schools, nonessential businesses and indoor dining and drastically curbing religious activities. Other harsh rules also remain in effect throughout the city.
Oster, meanwhile, cites Cuomo by name: “Democratic governors who love to flaunt their pro-science bona fides . . . don’t seem to be aware” of new data, she wrote. Cuomo calls schools “mass spreaders,” but her analysis of hundreds of thousands of school kids and staff in 47 states found a mere 0.13 percent student infection rate and 0.24 percent among staff last month.
Yet kids “affected by school closures are disproportionately low-income students of color,” she adds. (Why isn’t First Lady Chirlane McCray’s COVID racial-equity task force screaming about school closures backed by Cuomo and her husband, Mayor de Blasio? Oh . . . never mind.)
Oster’s and Nabarro’s warnings aren’t the first from scientists: The American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine and others all warn that remote learning is a disaster. And 30,000 scientists and medical practitioners have now signed the American Institute for Economic Research’s Great Barrington Declaration against lockdowns.
Cuomo no longer has any excuse for drastic steps. New York’s infection rate remains below 2 percent, and the case-fatality rate has also plummeted. Rather than tightening rules, he should be relaxing them.