Public Health Crisis Unearths Tensions between New York Politicians

Public Health Crisis Unearths Tensions between New York Politicians

Melina Lotito, Managing Editor

NEW YORK, N.Y.—New York is one of the epicenters of the deadliest pandemics in modern history with 2,416,135 confirmed cases and 165,939 confirmed deaths worldwide. “We are all in this together” is a phrase said by many now all over the world as no one is safe and the only way to end this virus is to work together as each individual’s actions have a domino-effect on everyone else. Now, more than ever, it is important to put all differences aside and work together. Some leaders, however, are finding this a difficult task.

Mayor Bill De Blasio of New York City

Late on Friday, April 10th, New York City’s mayor Bill De Blasio, made the decision to close New York City’s 1,800 public schools through the end of June, reopening in September. De Blasio called the decision to close schools a “moral” decision on Sunday. After Bill De Blasio made the decision to close New York City public schools, he told very few people, including infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci. It was not until Saturday morning that De Blasio contacted New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. De Blasio called Cuomo moments before he was going to announce his decision to the public. De Blasio was not able to get through, so he sent a text message to Cuomo. However, Cuomo undermined De Blasio in a news briefing by questioning De Blasio’s authority and whether it was his decision to even make.

Cuomo said how the mayor’s decision was an “opinion” and Cuomo was firm on the note that any final decision to close New York City’s schools would lie with him. This squabble reignited a long-lasting feud between the two over governance and power of the busiest city in the world. According to Forbes news, “the issue of school closure and reopening is perhaps the most significant aspect of economic reopening.” This is not the first time that De Blasio and Cuomo have disagreed.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo of New York

When De Blasio declared a shelter-in-place order last month for New York City residents, Cuomo disparaged this mandate, saying, “the city lacks the authority to make such a call.” The two men’s inability to cooperate during the biggest crisis their city has had to face only adds to the confusion and uncertainty New York City residents are feeling. Residents need clear-cut guidance in order to stay safe. Later on Sunday, Cuomo said he does not know whether school will reopen and insisted that no decision has been made on closing New York City public schools, emphasizing that it is his decision and legal authority to make that call and that it will be made based on a “consistent regional plan,” according to Forbes.

Whatever decision they come to, the two need to work together and put all differences aside to reopen and rebuild New York City’s economy because the education and lives of New York City residents are the ones suffering.