Host Anderson Cooper asked, “We’re seeing this now, this rally this weekend in Oklahoma, the president’s going to, theoretically, pack 19,000 people into an indoor arena. Doesn’t seem like there’s any social distancing. No one’s required to wear a mask, though they’ll probably hand them out. Would you allow a large political rally in New York, in these circumstances, in this time?”
Cuomo responded, “No, no. Look, the president’s position all along has been a political position. His position was, you know, this is a virus, it’s a flu, don’t worry about it, reopen the economy, reopen the economy, reopen the economy. He believes his re-election is correlated to the economy. I don’t even think that’s right politically. I think it’s correlated to leadership, not to the Dow Jones stock market index. But that’s always been his position, just reopen the economy. The states that are doing that are seeing the virus go up and seeing their hospitals fill up, and their ICU beds fill up, and that’s going to, not only hurt the economy, it’s also going to cause more Americans to die.”
You would think he’d feel enough humility about the apocalypse his state just endured, largely due to his own incompetence, to at least emphasize the key difference between Trump’s rally and the endless massive demonstrations that New York has hosted since George Floyd’s death — namely, that Trump’s rally will be held indoors. Or, failing that, he might distinguish the two by noting that he doesn’t have much power to stop people from getting together in the streets but does have considerable power to close off buildings.
He doesn’t make either point. Either this guy doesn’t compute that the woke protests do qualify as mass gatherings for purposes of coronavirus guidelines or he’s so accustomed to being handled with kid gloves by the press that he couldn’t be bothered to draw a conceptual line between the Floyd protests he’s tolerated and the Trump rally he abhors.
There’s no evidence so far that the protests have triggered a new wave of infections, but don’t rule out the possibility yet. They might be starting to pay off in terms of rising infections. The latest daily numbers from Nate Silver:
US daily numbers via @COVID19Tracking:
Newly reported deaths
One week ago (6/12): 775
Newly reported cases
Newly reported tests
Positive test rate
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) June 19, 2020
32,000 confirmed cases is a *big* number, the largest since May 1. Deaths are still (relatively) low, which is good, and we blew the roof off in testing over the past 24 hours, which is great. But the positivity rate is inching upward and we’re a long way off the 20,000 daily cases we’d been averaging on weekdays for much of the last month. Something is driving an increase in infections. Is it an inevitable byproduct of states reopening and people in retail spaces or is it a direct result of the mass demonstrations?
Possibly relevant: Florida just recorded its largest single-day number of infections, surpassing the previous record set yesterday. There’s a spike happening there. But the fine print is important.
In briefing, Florida's governor and Miami's mayor emphasize that new #COVID19 cases are primarily in younger, asymptomatic people: in the week of June 7, 62% of FL's new cases were in people under 45, @GovRonDeSantis says, noting "erosion in social distancing" by younger people https://t.co/Ri6LVp9Xp7
— Meg Tirrell (@megtirrell) June 19, 2020
The protesters trend younger, but I’d assume that consumers taking the fullest advantage of reopening (by attending bars, restaurants, and so on) also trend younger. The rise in cases nationally might be a double-barreled thing where reopening and protesting is producing a wave among younger Americans, which would also explain why the death toll isn’t rising. More people are getting the disease, but fortunately those people are more able to shake it off.
Which isn’t to say that deaths won’t start to rise. The death spike might be on its way, merely delayed for the moment. Young adults aren’t going to expire from COVID-19 (usually) but the people they’re infecting right now might. Those infections may be just starting to percolate, with hospitalization and death still weeks away. July 4th this year might be ugly.
By the way, Fox News has a new poll out tonight about coronavirus, masks, and rallies. Here’s where the public’s at as the president prepares to step to the podium tomorrow:
— Will Jordan (@williamjordann) June 19, 2020
Fully 80 percent of the public, including 68 percent of Republicans, have a favorable opinion of people who wear face masks even though Trump was mocking Biden for it in interviews today. I don’t think the campaign or the GOP fully understands what a political disaster it’ll be if tomorrow’s rally seeds an outbreak in Tulsa. The public already believes that Trump didn’t take the pandemic seriously enough early on. If he turns around now and actually contributes to the spread by not taking it seriously enough again, he may not recover from it. Let’s hope for everyone’s sake that things go off uneventfully tomorrow night.
Here’s the clip of Cuomo, where he’s allowed to strut nearly uninterrupted for four minutes about what a tough-minded hard-ass he’s been in imposing containment measures in New York. Parts of the media have finally caught up to him and begun to tear down that image, with Pro Publica doing an especially good job. The WSJ dropped this bomb on him last week. Other papers are noting that New Yorkers are so shellshocked from disease and the resulting economic collapse that they’re looking to relocate. But on CNN, where his brother is buds with everyone, he’s allowed to puff himself up unchallenged as Anderson Cooper and Sanjay Gupta look on admiringly. He shouldn’t be interviewed on this network anymore. They can’t do it effectively so they shouldn’t do it at all.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he would not permit a large political rally in his state like the one planned by President Trump’s campaign in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
— CNN International (@cnni) June 19, 2020