CBS Actually Grills Cuomo on Slow Response to COVID-19

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Despite most of the liberal media hailing New York Governor Andrew Cuomo as the nation’s “acting president” over his response to the coronavirus pandemic, on Tuesday’s CBS This Morning, co-host Tony Dokoupil actually repeatedly pressed the Democrat on whether he should have taken quicker action to combat the disease outbreak in his state.

“Governor, as we consider the variables necessary to re-open the economy here in New York, I think it’s worth looking back at the conditions that led to the closure in the first place,” Dokoupil noted during the exchange. The morning show anchor then pointedly went through the timeline:

 

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On March 2nd, you were on this program and you urged calm, there was one case at the time and zero fatalities. By the end of the month, there were a thousand – there were 60,000 cases and a thousand fatalities. But the closure of essential businesses didn’t come until the 22nd of March, quite late, in the scheme of things. Looking back, do you wish you had closed things down sooner? Do you have regrets and would that have lowered the death toll?

Cuomo pushed back: “Yeah, I think it’s the exact opposite, factually. I don’t think you’ll find another state that moved faster than New York.”

In a follow-up moments later, Dokoupil countered:

Well, I was going to say, the question is not whether you moved swiftly, just in your mine, I know this is heavy, this weighs heavily on your conscience, do you wish in retrospect, with hindsight being 20/20, that you had closed things down sooner? Former CDC director Tom Frieden said 80% reduction in fatalities if the closer had come just a week or two earlier. So I’m asking you for a bit of reflection.

Taken aback by the tough questioning, Cuomo tried to shift blame to the federal government and remarked that “Monday morning quarterbacking is a little premature.”

That contentious back and forth was in sharp contrast to the softball chat Cuomo was treated to on NBC’s Today show minutes earlier.

On Monday afternoon, MSNBC anchor Ari Melber read from a New York Times article touting the success in western states like California and Washington in slowing the spread of coronavirus. He then wondered if Governor Cuomo was getting too much media attention given that “other governors have effectively done a measurably better job.”

 

 

Talking to former Obama White House health policy aide, Dr. Kavita Patel, Melber asked: “And so, I wonder if you think, this is sort of your medical expertise on a larger kind of political media point, which is, is Andrew Cuomo in New York getting a lot of attention for his style, for his press conferences, for the fact that there’s a lot of media in New York when, in fact, do you think medically it is true that other governors have effectively done a measurably better job?”

Even with all the media adulation for Cuomo, some journalists are still willing to do their jobs and hold him accountable.

Here is a full transcript of Dokoupil’s April 14 exchange with Cuomo on CBS This Morning:

8:09 AM ET

(…)

TONY DOKOUPIL: Governor, as we consider the variables necessary to re-open the economy here in New York, I think it’s worth looking back at the conditions that led to the closure in the first place. On March 2nd, you were on this program and you urged calm, there was one case at the time and zero fatalities. By the end of the month, there were a thousand – there were 60,000 cases and a thousand fatalities. But the closure of essential businesses didn’t come until the 22nd of March, quite late, in the scheme of things. Looking back, do you wish you had closed things down sooner? Do you have regrets and would that have lowered the death toll?

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO [D-NY]: Yeah, I think it’s the exact opposite, factually. I don’t think you’ll find another state that moved faster than New York. Just look at the dates you did. From March 1st to let’s call it March 20th, we went from basically one or two cases to total closure in like 19 days. Think about that. You closed – total closure in 19 days. Schools closed. Businesses closed, only essential workers. That – nobody moved that fast. And in that process…

DOKOUPIL: But, Governor, the question –  

CUOMO: …you have to communicate with the people of New York. Go ahead.

DOKOUPIL: Well, I was going to say, the question is not whether you moved swiftly, just in your mine, I know this is heavy, this weighs heavily on your conscience, do you wish in retrospect, with hindsight being 20/20, that you had closed things down sooner? Former CDC director Tom Frieden said 80% reduction in fatalities if the closer had come just a week or two earlier. So I’m asking you for a bit of reflection.

CUOMO: Yeah, well, first of all, who knows if he’s right or if he’s wrong, right? Monday morning quarterbacking is a little premature, especially when the game is still being played. But I think does everybody, if you can replay the tape, yeah, I’d want to know where we were in December, as a nation. Where were we in January, as a nation? Where were we when we saw these cases in China developing, didn’t we think somebody would get on a plane in China and bring it here? That’s January, that’s February, that’s March, that’s this nation, that’s this White House, that’s every state. So, yeah, if you can replay the tape, everybody would do it differently. Every public health expert, every editorial board, every media outlet, every government official would do it differently. But no state moved faster than New York, factually.

(…)

Here is a transcript of Melber’s April 13 exchange with Dr. Patel on MSNBC:

1:09 PM ET

(…)

ARI MELBER: When we look at the local response, we’ve heard a lot out of New York, obviously it’s got the most cases more, than any country outside of the U.S.,we show Governor Cuomo. But The New York Times has added some interesting reporting, I want to read to you, “The East Coast, Always in the Spotlight, Owes a Debt to the West.” “California, Oregon and Washington shipping a thousand ventilators back to New York,” and then posing a larger question: “Should western states be getting more attention for their relative success?” “The early interventions of West Coast governors and mayors may have mitigated the medical catastrophe that has actually befallen New York and parts of the Midwest and South,” noting New York’s high rate of death, 44 to 100,000. California nowhere near that, at two. And so, I wonder if you think, this is sort of your medical expertise on a larger kind of political media point, which is, is Andrew Cuomo in New York getting a lot of attention for his style, for his press conferences, for the fact that there’s a lot of media in New York when, in fact, do you think medically it is true that other governors have effectively done a measurably better job?

DR. KAVITA PATEL [FMR. SENIOR AIDE ON HEALTH POLICY, OBAMA WHITE HOUSE]: I don’t know if it’s that other governors have done a better job. I actually think that, as you saw, the first United States patient to be diagnosed with corona was in the Seattle, Washington, area, in Everett, Washington. So I do believe that there were, especially Governor Inslee and others on the West Coast that saw the migration of pattern from China into the western states. I think that Governor Cuomo, to be candid, has done an amazing job.

(…)

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