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COVID – Plan Vs. Reality

Dear Editor, 

Thank you for challenging the decision-making of government leaders in last week’s editorial. 

I hate to second guess in the middle of a crisis but the inability of our local leaders to adapt to the realities on the ground is disappointing, to say the least.  It has left healthcare workers in our borough with an even greater burden to bear. I realize it’s challenging to be a City or State leader in New York. There are eight million opinions, many of them not well-informed.  

However, the flip side to this is that we have a lot of civilian brainpower in this town and many, many people who will step up in a crisis.  Early on, I got the message from multiple people in the government that “we got this.” Regular citizens can stand down and have faith because “we spent years planning for an epidemic.” 

Well, as the old saying goes, “No plan survives first contact with the enemy.”  If New York City is the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak then Queens is the epicenter of the epicenter.  So where did the Governor and Mayor put the most assets? On the west side of Manhattan. According to plan, no doubt. 

The Javits Center was Cuomo’s top priority.  It is largely empty. When the USNS Comfort arrived, was it placed to support besieged Queens or Brooklyn?  No, it’s at Pier 90. Largely empty. Aqueduct is doing testing and that is great but how long before we have a functioning hospital there?  

This crisis calls for us to be nimble.  We need more creative problem-solving at the local level and less whining about the Federal government.  Only New Yorkers can bring to bear all of the assets of the world’s greatest city. (e.g. Accessible locations like the Addabbo Center should have been open for testing weeks ago.) 

I have no doubt people at all levels of government are working hard to save lives.  Still, we cannot be trapped by rigid top-down thinking. Just as the Feds rely on the 50 state governors to determine local needs, our state and city officials need to take advantage of their local assets.  As The Wave said, “Let them help you.”  

It will save lives and the Governor can still take the credit.