Cuomo hits back at Trump: Under my leadership, New Yorkers "flattened the curve"

This guy may be the one major politician in America willing to lie more brazenly than Trump himself in the interest of making himself look good.

John did a good job on Tuesday answering Cuomo’s claim that “Donald Trump caused the COVID outbreak in New York.” I’ve written about that too, repeatedly, because Cuomo’s made that point repeatedly in hopes of spinning away his many failures in holding down New York’s death toll. The barest gesture he could make towards reality while he’s engaged in buck-passing would be to recognize how catastrophic New York’s outcome was. I.e. “yes, this has been a disaster, but it’s Trump’s disaster, not mine.”

But he can’t do that if, six months in, he’s still describing this result as an example of “flattening the curve”:

That’s not flattening the curve. That’s being flattened by the curve. That’s what the curve looks like when the virus spreads unchecked and eventually infects so many people that it runs out of new hosts. You could caption this graph as the “Do-Nothing Scenario,” which is precisely what Cuomo and Bill de Blasio did in early March — effectively nothing. Yet here he is today, once again celebrating New York’s outcome as some sort of achievement.

“Flattening the curve” is when you take precautions early enough to avoid the sort of steep spike New York experienced in March and April. The curve never gets tall because people are social-distancing to limit the spread — or rather, the government has acted quickly enough to shut down schools and businesses that people are forced to social-distance. In reality, not only was New York’s curve the opposite of flat, it was waaaaaaay steeper than Cuomo’s graph suggests. America was doing limited testing in March and April, remember; if we had a true picture of how many actual infections there were in New York at that time rather than just the meager number of confirmed cases we were able to detect from limited testing, how much taller would the curve in this graph be? Ten times? Twenty?

New York’s outbreak was so uncontrolled that it’s an open question right now whether the city has already reached herd immunity. It takes a loooong time to reach that if you really are flattening the curve, not three months.

Trump noticed Cuomo’s comments on Tuesday once again blaming him for New York’s outbreak:

He retweeted that last one to his followers. There are many potential political ramifications of his admission to Bob Woodward in March that he downplayed the virus — although, if you were betting, you’d bet that there’ll be few or none since nothing ever seems to move perceptions of Trump — but one obvious one is that it should make it easier for Cuomo to escape blame for mishandling New York’s epidemic. Until now, his case that Trump is responsible for what happened in NYC rested largely on how long it took the White House to ban travel from Europe. (Cuomo has never explained why he didn’t order mandatory quarantines of visitors from Europe in February and March if he was so worried about new arrivals bringing the virus in.) Now, though, he can argue that he was misled by Trump from the get-go about the risk from the virus. If only he’d known in early February, as Trump did, that coronavirus was airborne and unusually deadly, why, everything would have been different. He’s already flagged the Woodward comments today on Twitter:

Phil Murphy of New Jersey, the state with the second-worst death toll from COVID, is also moving quickly to capitalize on Trump’s admissions to Woodward:

It’s probably giving Democratic voters in New York and New Jersey too much credit to imagine that, if not for Trump’s comments to Woodward, they *might* have been willing to scrutinize Cuomo’s and Murphy’s records COVID records closely the next time those two are up for reelection. As it is, though, both of them — and other Dems with poor pandemic records — will use the president’s soundbite about downplaying the threat in March as a “get out of political jail free” card. The myth of Cuomo as the Churchill of the coronavirus blitz was probably unbeatable at this point anyway thanks to our too-credulous and partisan media, but the Woodward thing will cement it. Democrats and maybe even some Republicans in the post-Trump era will be able to offload their COVID political baggage on the president. If only we’d known when Trump did… And some of them will have a point.

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