Not for lack of political willpower, Staten Island has come to represent 25% of all COVID-19 deaths in New York City amid the second wave of the pandemic, even though the borough represents just 5% of the city’s population.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, during a Wednesday press conference, emphasized the political nature of this reality as a direct result of misdirection from local leaders taking opposition to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which have influenced some of the measures put in place by the state limiting dining and other activities.
“That is the President Trump’s CDC. That CDC director reports to the President. That’s the Trump’s guidance on indoor dining bars, restaurants, the Biden advisors say the same thing,” Cuomo said. “So, all this political rancor, Trump and Biden agreed on the advice.”
Recently, residents in Staten Island declared an “autonomous zone” and began slinging drinks at Mac’s Public House in Grant City. Events spiraled out of control on Monday leading the Mac’s owner, Danny Presti, running over an NYC Sheriff’s officer attempting to uphold restrictions in the orange zone.
“Well, some elected officials in Staten Island said well we’re not going to follow it. Freedom, freedom. let me tell you what their advice has done to Staten Island okay Staten Island went from the lowest death rate in New York City. It now has the highest death rate Staten Island has a 40% higher death rate than the Bronx, then Brooklyn, Queens, or Manhattan, a higher death rate on Staten Island,” Cuomo said.
This was based on the current weekly average of deaths, the governor’s office said.
The death rate on Staten Island is 40% higher than all other boroughs, according to Cuomo. Some sections, such as Lighthouse Hill, Midland Beach, New Dorp and Elm Park have an infection rate of 10%, according to city data.
The governor’s office reported the overall infection rate for Staten Island to be at 6.49% as of Tuesday.
While Cuomo did not list any politicians directly responsible for the defiance to health regulations, resulting in the high death rate, Republican Councilman Joe Borelli has been shrugging off restrictions on gatherings by tweeting photos of the Thanksgiving dinner he held with up to 11 guests.
As the citywide average approaches 5%, both Mayor Bill de Blasio and Cuomo are expecting tighter restrictions, particularly on indoor dining which has only been allowed at limited capacity for restaurants. Cuomo said earlier in the week announcements would be made regarding this.