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Letter to Andrew Cuomo: Forget About Politics and Impose Mandatory Quarantine

Too many announcements on Coronavirus, dear Governor. A couple of weeks like this and we will have plenty of people in the streets of New York looking for food.

by Rosario Procino

The caricature of Governor Andrew Cuomo by Donkey Hotey/Flickr

Dear Governor Andrew Cuomo,

You continue to ask people to be calm, not to overreact, and drastically say no to “shelter in place” because we need our economy to keep going. You continue to say this is a health emergency and should be treated as such without stopping our lives.

People asking for Quarantine? Your answer is “Isn’t it what we always do when we have the flu? Don’t worry. Just adopt proper precautions”.

But at the same time you shut down all forms of aggregation of 50 or more people (10 according to federal government), you shut down schools, restaurants and bars, gyms, cinemas and theatres, and you are now demanding for businesses to have more than 50% of work force to work from home, and so on, encouraging people to stay home, take precautions and practice self-distance.

What’s the result? Everyone is at home in self quarantine.

Businesses are shutting down voluntarily. The subway (that you refuse to shut down) is empty.
The stock market is plunging. The hospitality business is done, and the school year is over.
Many announcements, but so far, no real help for small businesses and workers.

The economy is slowly dying on its own while the virus is still spreading, maybe more slowly, but it is still allowed to spread. This strategy may flatten that curve, but it will last forever and will flatten all other curves with the exception of the unemployment and poverty curves. They are already rising exponentially.

How long will it take before we can go back to our somewhat regular lives in this way? Three? Maybe four months? Is that sustainable in our society? How long before thousands of hospitality workers (just to mention one industry) will be in the street looking for food with no money to pay for it? How long? Two weeks? Maybe three? Did you think about these possibilities?

After all, if we have to work from home and we have nowhere to go afterwards, aren’t we already in a quarantine? Since most of the population is in self quarantine, did you ever think that maybe it would be worthwhile to IMPOSE MANDATORY QUARANTINE FOR EVERYONE BUT ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES (hospital, pharmacy and food supply).

At this point, this seems to be the only viable solution to strongly slow down the spread of the virus and try to restart economy in a faster way. Didn’t China’s and Italy’s experiences teach us anything?

Don’t get me wrong, I still think South Korea’s model is the best to follow. They tested as many people as they could and isolated only positive cases, allowing the economy and life to still go on while flattening that curve.
But I think that’s impossible here where we still have insufficient tests available, not even for cases that clearly are suspected of being positive.

I get it, I get it. It’s not you. And that’s where politics comes in.
If you quarantined New Yorkers, the entire nation should be quarantined as well, otherwise our effort would be a waste. I get that.

Well, let me tell you something, get your act together along with other governors and President Trump, and act fast in everyone’s interest. Forget about politics. Two weeks or maybe three like this and you will have plenty of people in the street looking for food. It will be worse. Way worse than 3 weeks of mandatory quarantine!

Just a suggestion.


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