Zika panic is mounting now that the mosquito-borne virus has been found in a hip Miami neighborhood. And though no Zika-carrying mosquitos have been found in New York State yet, it seems Cuomo's ready to personally swat at each and every one of them should they ever arrive here, as proven by his trip down to the subway tracks yesterday to launch new state Department of Health initiatives to combat the virus.
Indeed, yesterday Cuomo joined MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast and State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker on the tracks at the South Ferry-Whitehall Street subway station to announce the MTA's new anti-Zika plan. This plan involves putting larvicide tablets in standing water in the subway system to keep mosquito babies from getting birthed, a noble effort considering how prone our underfunded public transit system is to leaks.
The mosquito that carries Zika isn't actually here (though it does have a cousin in the area), and all 537 confirmed cases in New York State appear to have been either contracted abroad or, for a few patients, through sex. Not that the state shouldn't take precautions—as Cuomo pointed out yesterday, "Responsible leadership says take every precaution you need to take now, just in case that aegypti mosquito gets on an airplane with his girlfriend and they fly to New York and they make a new family of aegypti mosquitoes."
(To clarify, mosquitos do not have girlfriends. In fact, they mate exactly once, and the female then carries the male's sex cells with her for the rest of her life. The male dies a week later, having rendered himself useless. Mosquitos are better at relationships than us.)
Cuomo's misguided mosquito-related sexism aside, Zika could be a problem in the Northeast, if just because scientists aren't totally sure how the virus behaves. In addition to the subway larvicide—Cuomo went so far as to personally lay down some poison—the state Department of Health will work to drain puddles in the subway system, team up with the state Parks Department and Department of Environmental Conservation to kill breeding grounds in parks, and hand out pamphlets, larvicide tablets, and free Zika protection kits to pregnant women and homeowners.
And now, video of Cuomo looking at subway track puddles, which will surely be a thing of the past after the MTA shuts down a bunch of subway stations to install touch screens:
And where was de Blasio during all of this? Not personally protecting New Yorkers from mosquitos, that's for sure.