Gov. Andrew Cuomo is set to open beaches statewide, including Jones Beach, on Friday. It is a moment we have all eagerly awaited, a symbolic gesture signaling we are starting to win the protracted battle against the coronavirus.
We must not allow ourselves to become overconfident and complacent, however. As Dr. Megan Ranney, an emergency room physician and medical researcher at Brown University, noted on CNN last weekend, “This virus is so wily.”
Just when you think you have beaten it, you haven’t. Case in point: South Korea.
The country reported its first Covid-19 case on nearly the same day as the United States, in January. Unlike the U.S., however, the South Korean government conducted massive testing early, and began contact tracing to isolate the ill, while asking people to voluntarily practice social distancing and keeping large segments of the economy open. On May 5, South Korea reported only three new coronavirus cases, while the U.S. was reporting thousands per day, and South Korea had recorded just 250 Covid-19 deaths, compared to tens of thousands here, according to numerous published reports.
With negligible levels of new infections and a relatively low death count, South Korea started to relax its social-distancing measures early this month. On May 2, South Korean officials reported, a 29-year-old man who had partied at five nightclubs on a single night in Seoul had tested positive for coronavirus, and infected roughly 80 others — and those were the 80 the government managed to track down. He partied among as many as 7,200 people that night, and the government was racing to find them all to ensure that the infected self-isolate. At press time, authorities had identified 2,500. The man was what public health officials call a “super spreader.”
In our March 26-April 1 editorial, we called on Congress and President Trump to eliminate the $10,000 cap on the federal income tax deduction for state and local taxes, which is costing many Long Islanders thousands of dollars a year. Doing away with the cap would provide much-needed economic stimulus.
Last Friday, the House of Representatives included the measure in its $3 trillion fiscal stimulus plan. That, in part, owed to strong lobbying by Governor Cuomo and the Long Island congressional delegation.
We implore the Senate to negotiate in good faith on the House stimulus bill — and nix the SALT cap.