Both Republican and Democratic state governors have seen their approval ratings increase significantly since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, in contrast to the president, who has had a small bump up. Why are the governors’ responses to the virus so popular and why is Trump’s so low?  As Moshe Hill noted in last week’s QJL, Trump has had “his ups and downs” and Cuomo has made mistakes. It is easy to blame the media; namely, they have had favorable coverage toward the governors and negative toward Trump. However, I believe that there are other factors causing this dichotomy. A person should ask themselves how they would have approached the government’s response to the virus. Would they have taken Trump’s approach or the popular governors’ approach in their tone and messaging?

When I walk on Main Street and see the sign for the Queens Networking event that was held on February 19, it reminds me how much has changed in such a short time. New York has been in a lockdown for over a month. There are other places that have been in the situation even longer. In the last four weeks, approximately 21 million people applied for unemployment. Schools are closed. People are cooped up in their homes. One would have expected that there would be a big backlash against the governor’s stay at home orders. Yet the opposite is true. According to AP-NORC poll, 80% support them. When was the last time we got 80% of Americans to agree on anything important? Some states including Georgia have started opening up. There has been such a strong negative reaction that even the president had to change his tune and he criticized Georgia.

I think we all can agree that we had a memorable Pesach. Statistics are important but they rarely tell the whole story. The numbers as they relate to the coronavirus are no different. There have been disagreements regarding the criteria used in counting a death as being caused by the virus. Also, the numbers of those who test positive for the virus have their own limitations. They only include those who were tested. Furthermore, they do not distinguish between those who have a mild case and those who had to be hospitalized. There is a tendency for some to minimize the condition of those with COVID-19 who did not require hospitalization.

On April 18 and 19, a mass shooting occurred in Nova Scotia when a lone gunman killed 22 people. On May 1, Canadian Prime Minster Justin Trudeau issued an executive order: “Effective immediately, it is no longer permitted to buy, sell, transport, import or use military-grade assault weapons in this country.” This ban covers 1,500 models and variants of assault-type weapons. Included on the list is the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, used by the gunman who killed 50 people in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2019, and in other mass shootings in the United States, including the Sandy Hook and Las Vegas massacres.

In my worst nightmares I could not have imagined the situation that we are in today. A common expression is “misery loves company.” Today, misery has plenty of company. By now, many people in our community know a person who has died from the coronavirus. It feels like, as sung by Kew Gardens Hills natives Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, “Nothing but the dead and dying in my little town.” For the first time in my life, I looked forward to Shabbos so I would not be able to hear about people who just died. Unfortunately, I did hear about a neighbor who did die, though I don’t know if it was from the coronavirus. Also, many people have become unemployed due to the virus and have watched their investments in the stock market tank due to COVID-19.