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We’ll never end the COVID pandemic if politicians keep making same mistakes




We’ll never end the COVID pandemic if politicians keep making same mistakes

Five hundred and eighty one days ago, I wrote a column that appeared in these pages with a headline on the cover that read “It Needs To End. NOW.” In May 2020 there were no COVID vaccines, and limited treatments, and yet already, many voices had begun to call out the excessive illiberal measures enacted by gubernatorial despots in our bluest states. A year and a half later, the results are in. The critics of lockdowns were right. 

Take a look at Sweden. Remember when it refused to lock down and liberal news anchors gravely warned that half the country would be dead by next Tuesday? You don’t hear much about Sweden these days because, in fact, the Scandinavian naysayers had the lowest excess mortality of any European country this year — approximately 785 per 1million people. By comparison, the United Kingdom had 1,657 per million in excess deaths. 

Sweden decided to do what other countries refused to: focus on protecting the most vulnerable while letting the vast majority who were not in mortal danger live as normal a life as possible and trust their sense of personal responsibility. 

People wait in a long line to get tested for COVID-19 in Times Square.
AP / Seth Wenig

Insidious rules 

God willing, we will never again see the barren glass and steel valleys of abandoned Midtown Manhattan, nor walk again in the middle of wide avenues devoid of cars, but what has replaced those extreme measures in Gotham is in its own way more insidious. 

Quarantine rules make for a stealth lockdown, with visitors and workers out for more than a week if they happen to be near someone who had COVID. Mask rules that still make no sense — wear it coming through the door, but take it off at the table. Our kids outdoors, masked, distanced school lunches look like something out of a prisoner of war film. 

And why? Why hasn’t New York gone back to relative normalcy like so many places our citizens are fleeing to? Now we are told to believe it is because of the Omicron variant. Never mind that this variant appears to have mainly mild symptoms akin to a common cold, especially in the vaccinated. Three new studies show that hospitalization is down as much as 80% with Omicron. But we refuse to accept the good news. 

A senior housing resident is tested for COVID-19 in 2020.
A senior housing resident is tested for COVID-19 in 2020.

And while the government performs theatrical mandates and throws more curveballs to small businesses, we still haven’t learned the most important lesson of the pandemic: Protect the elderly. It never made any sense to keep children, who are low risk, out of school, but it was Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s edict forcing nursing homes to take COVID-positive patients that caused devastation. The vast, vast majority of deaths from COVID are among older people, especially those with comorbidities. People over 65 account for 80 percent of COVID deaths in the United States. 

We’re making the same mistakes all over again. We shouldn’t have widespread lockdowns or mask mandates, but we should say you need to be tested to go anywhere near a nursing home. 

Right now, you can walk in with only a vaccine and see a relative, but we know that people with vaccines can carry Omicron. 

The inability of New York’s leaders to free themselves of pandemic hysteria, and all the broad power that comes with it, is eroding the city on every level. 

People talk with the staff member of Radio City Music Hall after cancellations of The Rockettes performance due to COVID-19 cases.
People talk with a staff member of Radio City Music Hall after cancellations of The Rockettes performance due to COVID-19 cases.
AP / Yuki Iwamura

If enacting overly strict measures in May 2020 was a mistake, and it was, then doing so now, when anybody can get a vaccine and the extremely dominant variant is mild, is flat-out incompetence. Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Hochul have learned a lesson from COVID, but they haven’t learned what is best for New York. Instead, they have learned how much New Yorkers will withstand, and by extension, how far their power reaches. 

Teachers unions are pushing again for schools to close, again. Shows on Broadway are shuttering, again. Businesses are suffering, again. All when WE SHOULD KNOW BETTER. 

Emergency’s over 

This is not an emergency anymore. Emergencies don’t last two years. The science tells us we should be sweeping away the bureaucratic tangle of contradictory and confusing rules and regulations that strangle our society. Even Democrat Jared Polis, governor of Colorado, acknowledged this last week in a rare outbreak of nonpartisan common sense. 

And yet, New York’s leaders are doing the exact opposite, clamping down once again on the city that has borne the harshest brunt of the pandemic. Yes, de Blasio and Hochul have said no more lockdowns, but they will push it as far as their political polling figures will allow. 

Sadly, while some of that punishing brunt was a natural result of our density and lifestyles, much of it was self-inflicted by our government of self-important bureaucrats and power-hungry politicians. 

A May 21, 2020 cover of The New York Post displays Marcus's column pleading for COVID to end.
A May 21, 2020 cover displays Marcus’s column pleading for COVID to end.
A sign requiring masks is displayed on the doors of Broadway theaters in New York.
Christopher Sadowski

The hard truth is that a sprawling bureaucracy has attempted to minutely control the lives of everyone, yet dropped the ball on properly protecting the minority most at risk. An army of officials tasked with drawing up myriad rules for justifying masking children could have spent time more constructively studying how to keep nursing-home patients free from infection. 

In May 2020 I wrote that COVID “needs” to end now, not that it should, but that it needed to. That was because if restrictive measures went on too long, they would start to metastasize, become a part of the system. That has happened. We have crossed that bridge. Who will have the courage to go back? Who will have the courage to call it first? 

It didn’t end five hundred and eighty-one days ago. And today, there is reason to fear that it never will. 

David Marcus is the author of “Charade: The Covid Lies That Crushed A Nation.”


Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death




Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

Legendary NFL coach and broadcaster John Madden died Tuesday morning at 85, the NFL announced. News of the football icon’s passing hit Twitter on Tuesday evening, and athletes, coaches and broadcasters from across the sports world reacted.

Fellow broadcasting legend Dick Vitale, who is currently battling cancer, called Madden “the greatest analyst of all time of any sport” in his Twitter tribute.

Former Yankees pitcher and notable Raiders fan CC Sabathia said “your legacy will live forever.” Madden coached the then-Oakland Raiders from 1969-78, a couple of years before Sabathia, a Vallejo, California native, was born. Lakers star LeBron James had similar words about Madden’s lasting legacy, adding an infinity emoji.

Former tennis star and social justice activist Billie Jean King recalled meeting Madden as a “privilege.”

Radio voice of the Rangers Kenny Albert, a five-sport broadcaster who’s been with FOX Sports since its inception in 1994, shared a photo circa 26 years ago to remember Madden.

ESPN’s Bomani Jones took a bit of a shot at current color commentators, noting that Madden “set an unreachable standard.”

Frank Caliendo, who’s made a career out of impersonations, including one for Madden, said he was surprised how emotional he felt.

Several football players, and others, including Saints running back Mark Ingram II and former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, credited Madden with being part of the reason why they love football.

Rams wide receiver and NFL MVP contender Cooper Kupp quote the late coach in his tribute: “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.”

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Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence




Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

MINNEAPOLIS — The Knicks got back another body in rookie point guard Miles McBride, who was cleared from protocols Tuesday and rejoined the team in Minnesota.

But there is no longer any hype for the rookie’s return. Kemba Walker is back as the starting point guard and coming off winning Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors with four standout games, including his Christmas Day spectacular. The Knicks have gone 2-2 since Walker regained the starting job.

“It’s great,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He had a great week. He’s playing great basketball. The team winning helps him get recognized and he was a big part of driving that winning. It’s great for the team.’’

McBride was also spectacular in his last outing before getting COVID-19, when he played the entire second half Dec. 16 in Houston and seemingly earned a spot in the rotation. In fact, McBride had strung together two decent outings before he was ruled out. But things have changed since his emergence and McBride is likely back to being a bit player.

Without a practice, McBride wasn’t even expected to see time when the Knicks faced the Timberwolves to kick off a four-game road trip.

Miles McBride
NBAE via Getty Images

Of course, with Walker’s arthritic knee, anything is possible. The Knicks play Detroit on Wednesday in a back-to-back, so it’s uncertain whether Walker will complete both contests. In addition, Immanuel Quickley is out of COVID-19 protocols but Thibodeau wasn’t sure he was ready for meaningful minutes.

That left Walker against the depleted Timberwolves, who were missing their three top players (Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell), all because of COVID-19 .

Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker

When McBride got sidelined by the virus and Derrick Rose needed ankle surgery, Walker was resurrected by Thibodeau and it’s been a stunning comeback story.

Though Thibodeau has clear reservations about Walker based on his nine-game banishment due to his defensive malaise as an undersized point guard, he admitted after the Christmas Day triple-double against Atlanta that Walker is playing “much more aggressive.”

Walker’s triple-double that featured 10 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds was a lot different than his prior outing, when he scored 44 points against Washington.

“I thought his passing was terrific,’’ Thibodeau said before the Knicks resumed their schedule.

“Kemba had control of the game. The game tells you what to do. That’s what I loved about the way he played. I don’t think he forced anything. They puts size on him and were aggressive in their pick-and-roll coverage. He didn’t fight it. He attacked pressure the way you like to attack pressure. You don’t fight pressure with pressure. Don’t try to split it. Get rid of it, go to the backside. Let the game tell you what to do.’’

The Knicks coach is finally seeing all the elements of what Walker can do. Before his demotion, Walker was nothing more than a no-defense, 3-point shooter whose plus-minus was an abysmal minus-122.

Thibodeau was also concerned about his durability in sitting out two of the three back-to-back sets. The last load management game in Atlanta in late November triggered Thibodeau’s decision.

But now it’s only superlatives from Thibodeau in judging the last four games.

“Sometimes it’s going to be his shooting, sometimes it’s his penetration and getting in the paint to force a collapse and sometimes they’re being aggressive with their traps get rid of the ball quickly,’’ Thibodeau said. “The overall play, his rebounding. When your guards rebound, those are key to fast breaks. The more guard rebounding we get the better we can be. ‘’

The Knicks still have three players in protocols — centers Nerlens Noel and Jericho Sims and the newly infected Wayne Selden. Quickley and Kevin Knox were cleared on Christmas but were held out for conditioning.

No matter. The Knicks go as Kemba goes.

“He’s much more aggressive,’’ Thibodeau said. “That was the challenge. At the beginning of the year he and Evan were two new starters. Sometimes guys are trying to fit in. he’s being very aggressive which is the way we want him to play. Not deferring at all. When he and Julius [Randle] are aggressive like that our team is different.’’

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Bar raises dramatically for Zach Wilson in matchup with Tom Brady, Buccaneers




Zach Wilson and Tom Brady

When Zach Wilson stares across the MetLife Stadium field at the opposite sideline this Sunday, it won’t be Trevor Lawrence he’ll be looking at as his game-day counterpart.

Lawrence, drafted by Jacksonville one spot before the Jets selected Wilson at No. 2 overall last April, is a contemporary.

This Sunday at MetLife, the Jets rookie quarterback won’t be staring at a contemporary on the other sideline. He’ll be staring at the GOAT.

Tom Brady.

The bar raises dramatically for Wilson and the Jets, who are coming off of their feel-good, get-well win over the woeful Jaguars and Lawrence this past Sunday.

Brady and Buccaneers, who are 11-4, NFC South division champions and seeking to repeat as Super Bowl champions, play the Jets, who are 4-11 and seeking more signs of development from their rookie quarterback.

To say this is a step up in competition for Wilson and the Jets going from Lawrence and the Jags to Brady and the Bucs is as obvious as pointing out that Tampa Bay receiver Antonio Brown has had a few off-the-field incidents during his otherwise stellar NFL career.

There hasn’t been a lot to keep the interest of the Jets fan this season — other than watching Wilson’s development. That took an unfortunate pause for the four games Wilson missed with a knee injury, but he’s been back for five games and has looked like a better quarterback, throwing only two interceptions in those games (none in the last three) since returning from his injury.

The problem, though, is that Wilson hasn’t been producing enough touchdowns, throwing for three of them and rushing for four others in the past five games.

Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg; AP

Baby steps, though.

Wilson was the better quarterback this past Sunday when matched up with Lawrence, who threw for more yards than Wilson did, but Wilson ran for 91 yards, including his electric 52-yard scoring jaunt, and made key throws when he needed them.

Wilson will not win Sunday’s game against Brady and the Bucs throwing for the 102 yards he had against the Jaguars. He and the Jets will need more.

Consider this: Brady enters the game having thrown 37 TD passes and for 4,580 yards this season and averages a league-high 305.2 passing yards per game.

Then this: The Buccaneers average 29.5 points per game this season, second most in the NFL.

And this: Wilson doesn’t have a single 300-yard passing game, averages 183 passing yards per game and has thrown seven TD passes in 11 games.

Seven TD passes is a pedestrian two-game total for Brady.

Wilson and the Jets are playing with house money anyway in what always has been a developmental season, so Sunday against Brady should, at its very least, be a great measuring-stick learning experience for Wilson, who’s studied Brady on tape.

Wilson revealed this month that he watched film of Brady before the Jets played the Eagles on Dec. 5 in an effort to pick up tips on how Brady worked against the Eagles defense when he played them earlier in the season.

“I thought it was really cool to see kind of how he went through his whole process, how he navigated the pocket, different things like that,” Wilson said at the time.

On Sunday, Wilson gets to see that process up close as Brady tries to dissect a Jets defense that has yielded 29.9 points per game this season, the most in the NFL.

That puts an added onus on Wilson to produce on the other side of the ball, because he knows Brady is going to get his. Wilson will likely need to produce four TDs — any way he can — for the Jets to simply remain competitive with the Super Bowl champs.

That’s a lot to ask of a 22-year-old kid who’s produced just 11 TDs in his 11 starts, up against Brady, who’s thrown 618 TD passes and for 83,784 yards in his remarkable career.

It, too, is a lot to ask playing against an aggressive Tampa Bay defense that’s ranked No. 9 in the NFL in points allowed (20.8 per game) and is led by former Jets head coach Todd Bowles, who’d surely like to send a holiday message to his former employer.

If you don’t think Bowles will be blitzing the bejesus out of Wilson, then you probably think Antonio Brown is a living saint.

The good news for the Jets is that Wilson has shown incremental improvements, particularly when it comes to his decision-making and quicker releases on his throws.

“He’s coming along, he’s getting more comfortable, he’s calmer back there,’’ Jets coach Robert Saleh said Monday. “He’s in a great headspace and it’s going to be fun to watch him grow, continue to grow.’’

A big part of that growth will take place this Sunday as he watches the GOAT operate from the opposite sideline at MetLife.

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