Closures and lockdowns made a lot of sense back in March, when the city first grasped the immensity of the danger of the novel coronavirus, a public health challenge unrivaled in the last 100 years.
But that was before the Plexiglas went up between you and the supermarket cashier. Before surgical masks became must-have accessories. Before markers went down on floors and sidewalks to show how far away from the next person to stand. Before medical staff learned the best ways to save patients.
Yet now, after all the changes society has instituted, Mayor de Blasio wants to shut down the city again. Apparently this is an urgent matter, because it would of course add to the long list of destroyed businesses the city has racked up during the virus crisis. Or maybe it’s not so urgent, since the mayor thinks it can wait until after Christmas — though he’s fine with the actual decision maker, Gov. Cuomo, going ahead before then if he wishes. Cuomo is so far noncommittal, as he often has been when de Blasio proposes a new move against the virus.
A new shutdown now would be a cure worse than the disease. Yes, the virus is spreading more rapidly than it has for months, but we’re not overwhelmed. The city hospital system was treating 280 Covid patients Wednesday; that’s 7 percent of the nearly 4,000 it had in April.
And now we have the vaccine — before the end of the year as promised, despite all the naysayers. It first was given at Northwell Health’s Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Glen Oaks. Two days later it was administered at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst, the “epicenter of the epicenter.” It’s too bad it couldn’t have been given there at the same time as it was at LIJMC, if only to demonstrate officials’ oft-stated promise to pay special attention to the minority communities hit hardest by Covid-19. But then Cuomo would have had to share the spotlight with de Blasio. And there’s no vaccine for the bad blood between those two.