Scientific American op-ed calls on Cuomo to resign for ignoring science on COVID-19

Steven W. Thrasher says the NY governor could have saved 17,000 lives with faster action

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has failed his state in response to the coronavirus pandemic and should step down, argues a new op-ed published in Scientific American.

"The Cuomo administration has shown it doesn’t understand or respect science," wrote Steven W. Thrasher, a Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism professor who has written about policy and ethics.

He blasted Cuomo for nearly every step of his handling of the pandemic as well as his guidance of the state’s hospital system over the past decade -- and shamed the media for granting him positive coverage.


"There is only one ethical option: Andrew Cuomo should resign as governor of New York, and make room for someone with a command of and respect for the scientific knowledge necessary to lead the nation’s fourth-largest state," Thrasher wrote. "If he will not go voluntarily, he needs to be pressured into leaving."

In this image taken from video from the Office of the N.Y. Governor, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference, Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in Albany, N.Y. Besieged by sexual harassment allegations, a somber Cuomo apologized Wednesday, saying he "learned an important lesson" about his own behavior around women, but he said he intended to remain in office. (Office of the NY Governor via AP)

He said researchers found that if Cuomo had granted New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s request for a lockdown earlier in the pandemic, as many as 17,000 fewer Big Apple residents would have died from the virus.

"That was just one of many decisions Gov. Cuomo made before the pandemic and in its first few months that resulted in the needless deaths of New Yorkers he was sworn to protect."


And New York state, he noted, has reduced its hospital capacity by roughly 20,000 beds over the past 20 years.

"Cuomo has been governor for half of that time," Thrasher noted. "A big reason why there was such a shortage of beds when he was on TV every day, wringing his hands about not having enough ventilators, was because he oversaw the decimation of the state’s hospitals and stripped the system so close to the bone, it predictably couldn’t handle a pandemic."

Thrasher, who wrote that he lost someone "very dear" to him during New York’s coronavirus nursing home crisis, also condemned the governor’s directive to "illogically" send COVID-19 patients into the facilities.


New York has seen nearly 1.7 million coronavirus cases and over 47,000 deaths as of Friday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

In addition to his virus response, Cuomo has also ignited harsh criticism in the past two weeks over a state coverup of the nursing home death toll and as a trio of women have accused him of sexual of misconduct -- two of them former aides who said it took place while he was their boss.