Cuomo Under Fire
Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York and his administration have been accused of withholding COVID-19 information, more specifically, nursing home deaths. Originally reported at 8,700 deaths, new information suggests the real death toll is actually ~13,000-15,000. Cuomo has since received bipartisan criticism, with some critics suggesting he lose his emergency powers and even impeachment. In a statement, Cuomo agreed that information should have been relayed earlier, but also defended his administration, arguing that it was a “capacity issue” and that New York is simultaneously collecting, managing, and releasing data all while saving people’s lives. We will see how this investigation unfolds, and what will come of it.
Record Cold Freezes Much of America
Last week, snow and freezing temperatures swept over most of the country, throwing an already stressed nation into deeper chaos. Regions in the Northwest and South were unaccustomed to such weather conditions and lacked the necessary infrastructure to withstand storms. Many lost their power, clean water, and lives. Some Texans remain without power, and the pressure on low-income and minority communities already hit hard by the pandemic was exacerbated. Climate scientists warn that unusual extreme weather patterns like this one will repeat themselves far more often as climate change worsens. However, it is unknown whether the Southern storm was an isolated incident. Over 70 people have died, and many others are hospitalized in hospitals filled to capacity.
On the Decline
Almost a year since the start of the pandemic, COVID-19 hospitalization rates are finally down in New York State, and health care workers can take a deep breath. From the “post-holiday peak,” hospitalizations have dropped by 29%, and the positive cases rate dropped to 3.83%. Wearing masks, social distancing and washing your hands can only do so much, but rollout and administration of the vaccine will help us finish this. Throughout this entire time, New Yorkers have stayed diligent, and will be, until this pandemic is finally over.
Asian American Hate Crimes Plague the Nation
Since the pandemic started, many people have blamed Asians for bringing the coronavirus to the U.S. Asian-Americans have been peppered with verbal harassment and shunning across the country, with incidents occurring in large cities like NYC and San Francisco, as well as here on Long Island. This discrimination has quickly escalated into violence and hate crimes. The NYPD has reported a 1,900% rise in Asian-American hate crimes in 2020, while the Stop AAPI Hate organization, a report database focused on issues relating to Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, reported that they had received almost 2,600 reports of anti-asian behavior less than five months after the pandemic began. 341 of these were directed towards youth, many of whom were bullied in front of adult bystanders. Older Asian-Americans were especially targeted by physical violence. An 84-year old Thai man was murdered in San Francisco, and an 89-year old Chinese woman was lit on fire in New York.
The uptick in violence has garnered attention from the government and celebrities alike. Notable Asian-Americans in the fashion, beauty, and film industries including Daniel Dae Kim, Michelle Lee, Olivia Munn, and Gemma Chan, have called for more action to end the hate, while activists argue that people with pre-existing anti-asian sentiments are using the pandemic to channel their anger in dangerous ways. President Joe Biden has been trying to reverse the previous administration’s inflammatory approach of Asian scapegoating and signed an executive order condemning anti-Asian American racism and xenophobia.
Also in the News…
-Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh died at age 70
-Covid deaths in the U.S. brink on half a million; daily cases slowly decline
-Rioters from the January 6th insurrection are facing investigation and trial
-South Carolina established the latest laws in a string of Southern abortion restriction legislation