The coronavirus curve in New York, as you may have heard, is flattening.
That’s indubitably a good thing. There are plenty of people and entities that can take credit, not in the least the hand of divine providence.
Don’t say that around New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, though.
According to Cuomo, God didn’t flatten that curve, “we” did. And, unfortunately, the context he said it in made it sound a lot like he was giving the credit to himself.
At one of his news conferences Monday, the New York Democrat was talking about the favorable statistics, with hospitalizations in the state at approximately 18,825 at the time.
“I said, if you look at the numbers, 18,000, 18,000, 18,000, 18,000, 18,000, the numbers suggest a plateauing, slight increase, but a plateauing, which is what the experts have talked about. That’s what the numbers say,” Cuomo said at the news conference.
“I also say whatever those numbers say is a direct result of what we do. I’ve said, if we do something stupid, you will see those numbers go right back up tomorrow, period.
“The worst can be over, and it is over unless we do something reckless. And you can turn those numbers on two or three days of reckless behavior,” he added. “It’s like being on a diet, right? You get on the scale every morning. ‘I lost five pounds. I lost five pounds. I’ve lost five pounds.’
“Oh, you’re declaring that you have lost five pounds forever. No, I lose self-discipline today and I go home and I eat like a horse. And I’ll get on that scale, it’s going to give me a different number tomorrow. It is directly a result of what you do today.”
Interesting analogy, but OK. This isn’t necessarily problematic, but don’t worry. Andrew Cuomo can get there in a hurry.
“The number is down, because we brought the number down. God did not do that. Fate did not do that. Destiny did not do that. A lot of pain and suffering did that,” Cuomo said.
“And that’s why we lost five pounds, because we went out every day and we exercised and we burned more calories than we ate. That’s how it works. It’s math. And if you don’t continue to do that, you’re going to see that number go back up. And that will be a tragedy if that number goes back up.”
So God had nothing to do with this?
I’m sure this came across as a very solid lesson in his head, but to lots of other people, it came across as a mockery of the religious.
No matter who he identifies in the “we” that pulled off bending the curve — and it sure sounds an awful lot like him and the people calling the shots in the New York state government — he’s saying that God isn’t involved in this at all.
At some level, wouldn’t you at least step back and try humility?
Wouldn’t there be better ways to make this point than invoking God and faith — and saying they have nothing to do with this?
For that matter, how are prayer and faith the opposite of flattening the curve? God is telling the good people of New York to do something stupid and spread the virus around, but thankfully I listened to the state authorities and the arc is bending downward!
Might you possibly see the problem with this formulation?
God and faith aren’t the polar opposite of responsibility, something Cuomo should have probably considered before launching this ill-considered attack in which he made it seem as though government, not God, was responsible for getting the numbers down.
In the midst of a pandemic, we need God more than ever.
We don’t need to be telling New Yorkers that we can go it alone, thanks, since we’ve got it under control if we just listen to the government.
What an ugly, stupid message to be sending out at a time when it’s least needed.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.