Insisting on masks despite the science is just partisan posturing gone mad
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Trust the science. That’s what Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been telling us for the past year in justifying the draconian and crippling COVID measures enacted under his emergency powers.
The restrictions were not his fault, he suggested; he had to follow the directives of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He even endlessly claimed (disingenuously) that it was the CDC’s guidance that led to his order forcing nursing homes to take COVID-contagious patients, resulting in more deaths in those facilities.
Yet now that the CDC has granted vaccinated Americans a reprieve from wearing masks, the Emperor of New York says he knows better. Now it’s: Screw the science, keep the masks on — and don’t take them off until I say so.
Cuomo announced last week that New York would not follow the new CDC guidance but would instead make its own call regarding the ubiquitous face fabric. The governor, you see, and his health commissioner, Howard Zucker (with whom he teamed up to doom hundreds of elderly New Yorkers with that disastrous nursing-home policy), have to first review the policy before greenlighting any mercy for the masked.
Now, if this “I know better” approach sounds familiar, it should. It was Cuomo, after all, who said last year that he didn’t trust the federal government on vaccines and would make his own decision, casting needless doubt on the Trump administration’s miracle medicines.
Cuomo’s not alone in his science denialism this time. He and Mayor Bill de Blasio have set aside their solipsistic sniping at each other and are for once in agreement in superseding science: They both declined to let New Yorkers remove their muzzles immediately.
Not even a blessing from the leader of their own party, President Joe Biden, saying it’s OK to go mask-free has dampened their desire to keep us under this senseless restriction.
It seems as if these usually bickering blowhards are competing to see who can keep New Yorkers more confused. Their schizophrenic game of Simon Says has consistently left heads spinning, on schools, on restaurants, on church attendance — on everything. And every step of the way, the only science they accept without question is that which keeps citizens under their thumbs.
And where is Biden in all this? Last March, then-candidate Biden slammed Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ COVID response, saying, “To get through this, we need our leaders to listen to the public-health experts and their guidance.”
Does that only apply to GOP governors who refused to crater their state’s economies — or does it also apply to Democrats? Why isn’t the president scolding Cuomo over his refusal to embrace CDC guidelines?
Biden asks us to be patient with fearful Americans who refuse to toss away the psychological security of masks; fine. But must we also be patient with arrogant autocrats like Cuomo who insist on prolonging restrictions even when they fly in the face of science — and common sense?
Cuomo’s hesitance is not leadership, the focus of the book he was busy writing as COVID raged last year; it’s cowardice.
Look: New Yorkers have put up with and complied with more absurd restrictions and regulations over the past year than any other Americans. We did what we were told to protect ourselves and each other. That’s who we are. Now, new COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths are down. We deserve leaders willing to reward our vigilance.
Over 40 percent of New Yorkers are fully vaccinated, making us ninth among the 50 states, despite the size and unique challenges (e.g., language barriers) we face here. We are doing our part. Yet our leaders persist with restrictions, even as the rest of America returns to something like normal life.
Enough is enough. The governor does not have access to some secret science that countermands the CDC, especially if it’s Zucker supposedly supplying it. This isn’t about public health; it is about power. The longer restrictions like mask mandates remain, the longer we live under the capricious diktats of Cuomo’s one-man governance.
Listen to the science, Governor — do what you have insisted we all do all along. There is no Donald Trump to blame anymore; this guidance is from the administration you campaigned for.
For God’s sake, take yes for an answer. COVID is waning; it’s time to surrender your extraordinary pandemic powers. Let New Yorkers go back to being free. We deserve it.
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