There’s been tons of the national attention focused on New York’s unrelenting push for “social distancing”. The “stars” of that show have been Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio. What most people do not know, nor would they understand, is why it was only a couple days ago New York ordered masks to be worn on the subway.
Perhaps influenced by a study done by MIT economics professor and physician Jeffrey Harris titled “The Subways Seeded the Massive Coronavirus Epidemic in New York City”, Cuomo proclaimed wearing a “face covering” while riding on NY public transit would be mandatory starting Friday.
Looks like Cuomo and de Blasio are only now, finally slamming the door, weeks after a deadly coronavirus herd escaped their barn.
Dr. Harris wrote there was a parallel between the high ridership ( 5 million per day) during the first two weeks in March, “and the rapid exponential surge in infection”. In addition, “New York City’s multi-tentacled subway system was a major disseminator — if not the principal transmission vehicle — of coronavirus infection during the initial takeoff of the massive epidemic.”
He continued, “We know that close contact in subways is fully consistent with the spread of coronavirus, either by inhalable droplets or residual fomites left on railings, pivoted grab handles, and those smooth, metallic, vertical poles that everyone shares.”
Harris’ report earned push-back from Hofstra University professor Anthony Santella who was “not surprised” that there was a correlation but questioned the conclusion, mentioning it was before restrictive measures were put in place.
“It’s certainly not solely related to the subway system. It’s because of our own behaviors and when these other measures went into place.” MTA chairman Pat Foye tried echoing that thought.
We wonder if without factoring in mass transit, Dr. Harris’ critics might be able to explain the exponential difference in infections and deaths between California and the NY tri-state area.
Why? Because the subway is just one of four “lines” connecting the New York City rail hub to Long Island, Connecticut, and New Jersey. While they add up to almost 2 billion riders a year, Los Angles county mass transit serves roughly 108,000,000 over 12 months; less than 5.5% of The Big Apple’s.
As of this writing, the tristate’s total infections and deaths are roughly 309,600 and 18,650 respectively. California lists 24,424 confirmed cases and 821 deaths. There are 7.5 million more people living in the Golden State. The Empire State, along with its two neighbors, make up about 10% of the US population but has suffered from over 50% of COVID 19 fatalities.
Say what you want about Dr. Harris’s naysayers, Gov. Cuomo by his latest words and actions seems to agree with the MIT scholar.
“I am issuing an Executive Order today (4/15) that all people MUST wear a mask or face-covering in public in situations where social distancing is not possible,” Cuomo tweeted. Adding, “For example, if you are riding on public transit, where it is impossible to maintain social distancing….you must wear a face-covering like a bandana or a mask.”
Why, after threatening pick up basketball games and instituted a 24 hour, turn in your neighbor, tattletale hotline, Cuomo failed to grasp the ultra obvious, ranges anywhere from inexplicable to inexcusable. The mayor being no smarter was unsurprising.
Sadly, the MIT report has “unmasked” a fatal flaw in Cuomo and de Blasio’s social distancing policies. Absolutely tragic.