Cuomo’s domineering micromanagement also tangled up the early stages of the state’s vaccine rollout. He threw out the plan the state health department had worked up over months, substituting his own. He put in place strict requirements that only people who qualified could possibly get shots, but then added threats of punishment for organizations that didn’t distribute their shots fast enough. The result was chronic delays. (Since then New York’s vaccine performance has improved somewhat, but it is still being beaten handily by poor, rural states like West Virginia and New Mexico.)
Cuomo’s tenure as governor has been chock-full of stuff like this. Years ago he conspired with a group of corrupt Senate Democrats to abandon the party so Republicans could control the chamber, and he could serve as power broker. (It took until 2018 for leftist primary challengers to turf out the fake Democrats.) His oversight of the New York City subway, which is controlled by a state agency, has alternated between malign neglect and active harm. Indeed, during the pandemic, Cuomo shut down 24-hour subway service — but because the subway was designed to run all the time, night trains have been running empty for no reason, for months. The justification is supposedly extra sanitation to mitigate disease spread, but this could easily be accomplished without closing the subway entirely, and in any case we learned months ago that sanitation is far less effective at halting transmission than masks and ventilation. That kind of performative intervention that seems tough but is really pointless is his signature style.