Thanks largely to the abdication of responsibility for the coronavirus crisis by the federal government — its under-reliance on science and its unwillingness to adopt a national strategy for testing, personal protection measures, procurement of medical supplies, social distancing and business shutdowns — the task of managing this world pandemic in the U.S. has fallen largely on the shoulders of the states’ governors.
Many might disagree with all or part of the way Gov. Andrew Cuomo has handled the crisis in New York.
But there’s no governor in the country more experienced in managing the crisis; none who’s put together a more organized and effective response; none who’s proven he can build bipartisan regional and state coalitions to fight the crisis; and none who’s more willing to take on President Trump and the national government in the fight for federal assistance for states at this time than Gov. Cuomo.
He’s the perfect choice to lead the National Governors Association at this time.
As other states are seeing significant spikes in new covid cases, hospitalizations and deaths, New York — once the epicenter of the crisis in the country — is now among the national leaders in testing and suppressing the spread.
On Tuesday, for instance, the state reported four deaths, compared to more than 220 each in Florida and California.
Infection rates, hospitalization rates, new cases and deaths in New York are at or near all-time lows, while those figures are rising around the nation.
Cuomo’s heavy-handed state government shutdown, as fiscally damaging and inconsistent as it has been at times, has been highly effective in not only flattening the curve, but obliterating it.
Cuomo has been consistent almost from the start with his message about social distancing and wearing of masks, and he’s getting tougher about enforcement to help prevent hot spots.
And he’s been a tireless advocate in seeking federal assistance for local and state governments whose budgets have been decimated by the decline in tax revenue, for medical equipment and personal protection equipment for medical professionals, and for aid to struggling citizens and the unemployed.
What the nation’s governors won’t get from Cuomo is perfection. He’s made mistakes, particularly when it comes to nursing homes. And Cuomo doesn’t have all the answers.
But what they will get in Cuomo is an experienced leader with a consistently strong message and someone willing and able to step up and fight for what they need to battle this crisis.