Trump’s theory, and that of many Republican governors, according to Cuomo, was this: “We can reopen quickly and we can handle the virus because it will go away, or we will have a vaccine.”
Cuomo’s theory? No matter the political pressure, keep the state closed until the virus had demonstrably receded as measured by widely available testing, lowered hospitalization rates and decreased deaths.
“We tested both theories,” Cuomo told me. “We have the evidence. It’s numbers. It’s irrefutable. Why don’t we pause and recognize the undeniable reality of the situation?”
How did New York do it? “We had a phased reopening based on metrics,” explained Cuomo. “Factual data points.”
Cuomo says that New York now tests more people than any other state in the country and more people, per capita, than any other country in the world. The state has 700 testing sites and, on Friday alone, conducted 70,000 Covid-19 tests.
“The most strident Trump supporters, most strident ideologues — Texas, Florida — are doing a pirouette and there’s nothing graceful about the pirouette,” Cuomo said of his fellow governors.
So, what does Cuomo want? Less of a celebration of what he did in New York than an admission — nationally — that the theory put forward by the White House of how to handle the pandemic was flat wrong.
“There are no Democratic facts and Republican facts,” he told me. “There are just facts.” Added Cuomo:
“A virus has a rate of increase and a number of deaths either goes up or goes down. The number of people going to hospitals goes up or goes down. It’s not subject to debate because the hospital bed is either empty or it’s fully, we either bury people or we don’t.”
That bottom-line thinking is what Cuomo believes the country needs. Ignore facts and play politics and what happened in New York City could happen again. And no one — Republican, Democrat, independent or other — can want that.