Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Bill de Blasio and His Magic 8-Ball

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is absolutely sure schools will open at "full strength" in September.  That's great to hear, of course. I, for one, am growing tired of looking at computer screens rather than live students. 

On the other hand, Mayor de Blasio has not proven particularly adept at predicting the future. I'm sure you recall his ridiculous presidential campaign, the one in which he garnered no more delegates than my dog. (In fairness, my dog is far cuter than the mayor.)

Of course, that's not the only example suggesting this mayor's clairvoyance is not to be relied upon. Mayor de Blasio held on to keeping buildsing open way too long last March. He never wanted to close them, and he was ready to open them at a moment's notice. Look at the process we went through in September. We delayed and delayed. We had to threaten a strike in order to enable testing. If we hadn't done that, the results could have been dire and deadly.

Like all the various cheerleaders for school openings, Mayor de Blasio seemed to believe the numbers were going to stay low. I read op-eds from people saying the positivity rate was below 1%, so we ought not to fret over Covid. Just send everyone back and hope for the best. Back then, the state was saying we should close at 5%. De Blasio was even more confident and said I'll do you one better. He said New York City would close if the rate hit 3%.

Of course both de Blasio and the other supporters were proven wrong. By then the state was saying close at 9%. De Blasio went back on his 3% figure but agreed to shore up testing. Now the state is saying you don't need to close at 9% as long as the schools themselves aren't hitting it. That's ridiculous, of course. Hundreds of schools aren't even open. The figures are clearly not representative, as buildings are closed because we established Covid is spreading within them. 

But that's not good enough for Bill de Blasio, or others fanatically crying for buildings to open. De Blasio continues to want to plow ahead. So what if a few teachers get Covid and die? So what if a few students bring it home and kill Grandma? It's not like some jury is going to convict Bill de Blasio for murder. That's just the cause of doing business. 

I can only guess that Bill de Blasio thinks his pigheaded drive to open buildings will somehow rehabilitate his reputation. I'm here to tell you that, except for vampire movies and comic books, returns from the dead simply don't happen. In fact, de Blasio's greatest achievement is not keeping buildings open. His greatest achievement, in a divided United States, is uniting the left and right. He's deplored by all, regardless of party alignment or political orientation. 

Worst of all, though, is de Blasio's flawed reading of the 8-ball. As you can see in the photo, it says, "Signs point to yes." I happen to agree. I think it's likely that we can get to or close to normal in September. But things happen. Bill de Blasio doesn't know what they are, and even the magic 8-ball isn't absolutely sure. The virus mutates. The vaccine isn't sufficiently available. How effective will it be against mutations? Most of us hope for the best but unlike de Blasio, don't know for sure.

As if that's not enough, we still have people who refuse to wear a mask. Rand Paul, an actual medical doctor who had Covid, has unilaterally determined he's now immune. He doesn't need no stinking scientific proof, and screw the people who happen to be near him. They're on their own.

Of course there are a whole lot of Americans who believe lunatics like Paul. While they're a minority, there are still plenty of them in NYC. It's going to be tougher to get where we need to be as long as these people refuse to be educated. Yes, I'm hopeful, but I'm not giving a guarantee, not even based on the Magic 8-ball.

The Magic 8-ball hedges its bets. That's why it's still around after many decades, while Bill de Blasio's political career is deader than a doornail.

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