Viewed from abroad, New York's COVID-19 response looks appalling

Does New York know that its coronavirus response is being watched all over the world?

Maybe that ought to be worth something, given its phenomenal casualty rate and its seeming obliviousness to the official decisions that caused so many of its failures.

Here in New Zealand, we don't even have a subway, so we kept the buses running for the important workers.  We ran lots of buses so that they wouldn't be crowded and we could keep strict social distancing.  And we disinfected these buses regularly.  Like New Yorkers, we do have old folks at home, and we rather like them, so we locked them down and arranged careful deliveries of supplies to them, plus tele-appointments.

And we made good preparations for the crisis — we didn't think it was our place to ask The Donald for help.  So one thing led to another, and we had a death rate of four persons per million (this despite being an important travel stop from much of Asia until recently) — and with very, very few new cases these days.

In New York, on the other hand, they do have a subway and are very sophisticated.  They cut the number of cars running so they would stay nice and crowded, and they stopped all subway policing — because that is so unwoke!  That enabled the homeless to live in the subway cars and be transported all over the city.  What a sophisticated plan in the time of COVID!  These New York governing officials such as Mayor Bill de Blasio weren't simple yahoos like the Japanese, South Koreans, or Taiwanese, who disinfected their transport; no, they were very sophisticated and let her roll for nine weeks.  In a New York kind of way, with a New York kind of smell.  They must be so proud of themselves.

And then, in a burst of egalitarianism, those callous sophisticates and Gov. Andrew Cuomo insisted that COVID patients be housed in nursing homes alongside uninfected elderly residents in frail health.  Why not?  The nursing homes are run for profit, and it is very sophisticated and wholesome to stick it to capitalists.  Cuomo even blamed the nursing homes as greedy capitalists when things didn't turn out well.

In terms of being prepared, they weren't — other than being armored in New York brashness claiming they were.  But they could call on The Donald, who came through in their hour of need.  Of course, after that hour, and after he came through, they decided he deserved castigation again, and he got it.  Best thing for him.

At the end of the day, the old guys in nursing homes never stood a chance, the subways worked a treat at spreading the virus, and the death toll in New York state is 1,400 per million.  In New York City, it is higher than that — credit where credit is due.  We at the other end of the world, with only four deaths per million, must be impressed.  We're just not in the same league.  In our rural simplicity, we think this is actually culpable homicide in a big way.  Silly us!

But, it's probably just a New York kind of thing, which we don't understand.  It's probably also a New York kind of thing to keep re-electing these people.

We watch, bothered and bewildered.  We recall Benito Mussolini saying he needed a thousand Italian dead from the African campaign so that he could sit at the table of the victors.  Draw up your chairs, Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio.  You've earned it.