Lest you think coronavirus stupidity is just a Republican problem, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio made the same uninformed and incorrect statements as Georgia governor Brian Kemp made this week. de Blasio also tried to claim that until very recently scientists were not aware that asymptomatic or presymptomatic people with coronavirus, i.e. people who carry the virus but do not have symptoms , could pass it on to other people.
The mayor of New York made the remarks during his interview with Brian Lehrer from WNYC. When Lehrer said that the United States knew “weeks and months ago that asymptomatic people can spread this disease,” de Blasio replied, saying that it had only happened “in the last 48 hours ”. De Blasio is probably referring to a Singapore study published on April 1 which found that people can spread the disease before they show symptoms.
Lehrer asked, “Didn’t we know, weeks and months ago, that asymptomatic people can spread this disease?” “
The mayor replied, “No, the fact is that I attended so many press conferences where our best New York doctors talked about it and they said,” We just didn’t have any evidence of the entire global medical community that was studying this. problem. There were suspicions, but there was no evidence. “
But this is not true. Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Dr. Robert Redfield of the Centers for Disease Control have been saying for months that asymptomatic carriers can spread the disease. As Fauci said at a January 31 task force meeting, “You know that at the beginning we didn’t know if there was an asymptomatic infection, which would make it a much larger epidemic than what we see. Now we know for sure that there are. It was not clear whether an asymptomatic person could pass it on to someone when they were asymptomatic. Now we know from a recent report from Germany that this is absolutely the case. “
The fact is, the mayor of Blasio has been behind the science for weeks now, even going to his YMCA to train when officials called everyone to social distancing. And in the early days of the virus arriving in the United States, de Blasio constantly downplayed the severity and claimed that the virus was “contained.”
On February 26, Washington Post pointed out, de Blasio boasted about the capacity of the New York City hospital, saying, “We have a lot of time to increase if we had something like that [kind of crisis]. So the capacity we have right now is exceptional given the challenge we are facing right now. “
But now the city’s hospitals are overflowing with COVID-19 patients, and doctors and health care providers have resorted to the rationing of personal protective equipment such as masks.
The mayor also said at a press conference on March 8 that the virus dies in a few minutes once it is on a surface, which also contradicts scientific discoveries at the time when the virus lives on surfaces for hours or even days: “Certainly, on most surfaces like metal, plastic – you know, a desk, a kitchen counter, a subway pole, it’s only a matter of minutes before let the disease die, the virus dies outdoors.
But facing his previous statements on CNN, de Blasio said, “We should not be focusing, in my opinion, on everything looking back at any level of government at this time.”
But that’s exactly what we should do, both locally and federally. We need to know which politicians have acted correctly and quickly to protect people in crisis, as pandemics like this are becoming more common due to globalization, urbanization and climate change, according to the World Economic Forum . And we deserve elected officials who will follow science, keep our systems ready and act to save as many lives as possible.