Cuomo Blasts Trump's COVID-19 Response as 'Worst Government Blunder in Modern History'
While the nation overall struggles with rising COVID cases, New York State is seeing the opposite. After peaking in March and April and implementing strict shutdowns of businesses, the state has seen its number of positive cases steadily decline as it slowly reopens. From coast-to-coast, Governor Andrew Cuomo's response to the crisis has been hailed as an exemplar of how to handle a public health crisis.
Seeing the numbers go the wrong way in other parts of the country has prompted Cuomo to rail against the federal response to the crisis, and, in particular, the dearth of leadership from the White House. On Monday, Cuomo called President Trump's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic "the worst government blunder in modern history," as The Times-Union in Albany reported.
During a press briefing in New York City, Cuomo passionately listed off a list of false statements and poor decisions that Trump and various White House officials made over the course of the crisis that underplayed the severity of the disease and resulted in many downplaying the risks and underpreparing for an outbreak.
"It was a mistake to say, 'It's just the flu,'" he said, as Gothamist reported.
In a video that Cuomo posted to Twitter, he asked the president to tell the truth and reiterated his list of grievances, writing, "The president has to tell the American people the truth. It was a mistake to downplay COVID. It was a mistake to say it would be gone by Easter. It was a mistake to say it will magically disappear. And it was a mistake to not set up a national testing program."
In his press conference, Cuomo said the nation should have learned the lessons New York did earlier and prepared better in the spring. He compared the deaths due to the virus to the loss of life in the Vietnam War.
"This was a colossal blunder, how COVID was handled by this federal government," Cuomo said, as Syracuse.com reported. "Shame on all of you."
He noted that states that opened too soon like Texas and Florida followed the federal government's lead in downplaying the pandemic.
"The reason they didn't (believe the gravity of the crisis) is because they were listening to the president," Cuomo said, as the Times-Union reported. "COVID kills Republicans and COVID affects red states. It is deadly serious."
According to Gothamist, he added: "This was not a political issue and it shouldn't have been politicized. This is public health, that's what this was, and it should have never been turned into a political symbol which is what this president did."
Cuomo also noted that medical experts were saying that the country needs to again "reset" by shutting down. And yet, he questioned if that would be effective if Trump did not change what he was saying about the seriousness of the infectious disease tearing through the country.
"If we don't tell the truth on the reset, COVID will never end," Cuomo said, according to the Times-Union. "And it will just bounce across the country."
The percentage of people testing positive in New York is around 1 percent. Hospitalizations reached a new low on Sunday after a peak of 18,000 in April. As Syracuse.com reported, 136 people were in intensive care units on Sunday and 62 people were intubated due to the virus, the lowest numbers since March.
California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Wednesday that would ban the sale of new cars in California that run only on gasoline by the year 2035. The bid to reduce emissions and combat the climate crisis would make California the first state to ban the sale of new cars with internal combustion engines, according to POLITICO.
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A "trash tsunami" has washed ashore on the beaches of Honduras, endangering both wildlife and the local economy.
More long-finned pilot whales were found stranded today on beaches in Tasmania, Australia. About 500 whales have become stranded, including at least 380 that have died, the AP reported. It is the largest mass stranding in Australia's recorded history.
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By Harry Kretchmer
By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.
Sweden is a world leader in renewable energy consumption. Swedish Institute/World Bank
Naturally Warm<p>54% of Sweden's power comes from renewables, and is helped by its geography. With plenty of moving water and 63% forest cover, it's no surprise the <a href="https://sweden.se/nature/energy-use-in-sweden/#" target="_blank">two largest renewable power sources</a> are hydropower and biomass. And that biomass is helping support a local energy boom.</p><p>Heating is a key use of energy in a cold country like Sweden. In recent decades, as fuel oil taxes have increased, the country's power companies have turned to renewables, like biomass, to fuel local 'district heating' plants.</p><p>In Sweden these trace their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank">origins back to 1948</a>, when a power station's excess heat was first used to heat nearby buildings: steam is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/district-heating-system" target="_blank">forced along a network of pipes</a> to wherever it's needed. Today, there are around 500 district heating systems across the country, from major cities to small villages, providing heat to homes and businesses.</p><p>District heating used to be fueled mainly from the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140" target="_blank">by-products of power plants</a>, waste-to-energy plants and industrial processes. These days, however, Sweden is bringing more renewable sources into the mix. And as a result of competition, this localized form of power is now the country's<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> home-heating market leader.</a></p>
Sweden is using smart grids to turn buildings into energy producers. Huang et al/Elsevier
Energy ‘Prosumers’<p>But Sweden doesn't stop at village-level heating solutions. Its new breed of energy-generation takes hyper-local to the next level.</p><p>One example is in the city of Ludivika where 1970s flats <a href="https://www.buildup.eu/sites/default/files/content/transforming-a-residential-building-cluster-into-electricity-prosumers-in-sweden.pdf" target="_blank">have recently been retrofitted with the latest smart energy technology</a>.</p><p>48 family apartments spread across 3 buildings have been given photovoltaic solar panels, thermal energy storage and heat pump systems. A micro energy grid connects it all, and helps charge electric cars overnight.</p><p>The result is a cluster of 'prosumer' buildings, producing rather than consuming enough power for 77% of residents' needs. With <a href="http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1232060/FULLTEXT01.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high levels of smart meter usage</a>, it's a model that looks set to spread across Sweden.</p>
<div id="d7bf9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8757b138d5570bec9d6aad18074a429a"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1273556364263071744" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Read more about Western Harbour and book a visit: https://t.co/ujSmVs9rNK 🏡🌳🌊 https://t.co/C5PuPziqIM</div> — Smart City Sweden (@Smart City Sweden)<a href="https://twitter.com/SmartCitySweden/statuses/1273556364263071744">1592474473.0</a></blockquote></div>
Scaling Up<p>A recent development by E.ON in Hyllie, a district on the outskirts of Malmö, southern Sweden, <a href="https://www.eonenergy.com/blog/2019/February/sweden-smart-city" target="_blank">has scaled up the smart grid principle</a>. Energy generation comes from local wind, solar, biomass and waste sources.</p><p>Smart grids then balance the power, react to the weather, deploying extra power when it's colder or putting excess into battery storage when it's warm. The system is not only more efficient, but bills have fallen.</p><p>Smart energy developments like those in Hyllie, Ludivika, and renewable-driven district heating, offer a radical alternative to the centralized energy systems many countries rely on today.</p><p>The EU's leaders have a challenge: how to generate 32% of energy from renewables by 2030. Sweden offers a vision of how technology and local solutions can turn a goal into a reality.</p>
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