Former CNN digital producer Steve Krakauer unloaded on Politico in his “Fourth Watch” newsletter last night for a story hailing New Jersey as some sort of model for flattening the coronavirus curve. His headline asked "How did this get published?"
"New Jersey went from being one of the country’s worst Covid-19 hot spots to a model of how to flatten the curve," began Politico's August 5 piece, and the tweet carried that same sense of celebration:
Krakauer lowered the boom:
Look, I grew up in New Jersey, have a lot of family there - I've got love for New Jersey. So no shots at Jersey and the GTL lifestyle.
But New Jersey should never be considered the COVID-19 "model" for anything.
It's great news that New Jersey has seen far fewer cases and deaths than they had during the most tragic part of the pandemic. But let's have some perspective. New Jersey didn't flatten the curve - New Jersey was literally the curve.
If New Jersey was a country, it would have the most coronavirus deaths of any country in the world per capita - by more than double.
So yes, as states like Texas, my home state now, and Florida, and California, see cases on the rise (but deaths nowhere near the level as the East Coast spikes), it's great that New Jersey has not seen that. But 44,000 more Texans would have to die to reach the comparable per capita figure as New Jersey - a tradeoff for some yacht cruising now no thinking person would make.
New Jersey is not the "model," Politico. And how did this get published?!
Phil Kerpen offered a graphic illustration of how New Jersey compares.
It’s not all celebration. Sam Sutton and Brianna Ehley noted the case count is climbing again, but don’t blame the politicians, blame the reckless vacationers: "If fresh scars of the pandemic’s darkest days and strict orders from the governor weren’t enough to keep tourists and residents from pretending 2020 was simply another raucous summer down the Jersey Shore, the future will be grim for other states that have been less aggressive."
Gov. Phil Murphy is brought in for lecturing, not for how he failed this year:
“Frankly, if you see a little bit of slackening of behavior, particularly among young people, it's really hard to keep using that bullhorn. And with the same level of effectiveness,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said in an interview, speaking shortly before announcing new capacity limits for indoor venues. “The economic consequences will be around us for years. And keeping people's confidence, keeping their sort of habits in the right place as the clock continues to go on? I think that becomes harder and harder.”
...New Jersey’s been forced back into the ring with Covid-19 because of something that’s even harder to contain than the virus.
“It’s human nature,” Murphy said at a recent press conference. After spending the better part of four months under lock-and-key, too many young people are “mad as hell [and] not going to take it anymore.”
PS: This is NOT the first time Politico has polished Murphy's apple. Back in April, Politico suggested protesters in Trenton against Gov. Murphy's lockdown were a "vocal small minority" that aren't that newsworthy, since they don't represent the massive majority in favor of Murphy's stewardship.