De Blasio Orders Creation of Coronavirus Checkpoints To Interrogate Visitors to New York City

The city’s contact-tracing efforts don’t appear to be going well, so prepare for more top-down mandates with confusing justifications.


A spin of the coronavirus "Wheel of Perplexing Government Mandates" takes us to New York City, where, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced this morning, travelers from elsewhere will soon be greeted by quarantine checkpoints in all five boroughs.

The checkpoints are meant to enforce an order Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed in July. Cuomo's order requires New York visitors hailing from 34 states and Puerto Rico to self-quarantine for 14 days. In a press conference this morning, de Blasio said that New York City will enforce the quarantine by stopping people who come into the city by way of major bridges and tunnels and reminding them that the self-quarantine is mandatory and violators face fines of up to $10,000.

New York City's initial COVID-19 infection and death numbers were the worst in the U.S. and the world. The city has seen more than 23,000 people die from COVID-19, which is nearly 15 percent of all current pandemic deaths in the U.S. But the Big Apple now has a much better handle on managing the outbreak, having gone multiple days without any reported COVID-19-related deaths.

That improvement did not require checkpoints, and it's not clear how checkpoints will help sustain it. For instance, New Jersey is not on the list of states whose residents must self-quarantine upon visiting New York. Given the traffic between the two states, this makes logistical and economic sense. But it doesn't make pandemic sense. New Jersey is seeing a spike in new cases and has recorded 185,000 infections and nearly 16,000 deaths. Yet a visitor from the Garden State will not have to self-quarantine, while a visitor flying in from North Dakota (which has had about 7,000 cases and 111 deaths total) will have to self-quarantine.

Details on the new checkpoints are scarce. Reporting from the New York Daily News suggests their purpose is largely informational:

The city sheriff said most of the traffic stops would be done on a randomized basis, perhaps stopping one in every six or eight cars. He said the stops would not target out of state drivers because the law also applies to New Yorkers who travel to one of the states on the list.

He also suggested that no more than 20 officers might be enforcing the checkpoints citywide at any given time, a total that would likely make them less visible and widespread than the mayor implied.

De Blasio stressed that travelers' civil liberties would be respected and the main purpose of the checkpoints would be to enforce and give information about the quarantine requirements, along with assistance to those who need it.

Much like the security theater at American airports, di Blasio's coronavirus checkpoints are mostly for show. (Let's just hope the sheriff's department officials who operate the checkpoints are at least wearing masks.)

Meanwhile, a policy that has proven to be effective in other parts of the world is not working very well at all in New York City. According to The New York Times, the city's contact-tracing efforts, which launched in June, have been a mess. New York City has hired 3,000 contact tracers, but de Blasio abruptly shifted responsibility for the initiative from the city health department (which had 50 employees who do this for a living already) to the city public hospital agency, which had no experience with it at all.

So far, less than half of all infected people in New York City have been able to provide contract tracers with the names of anybody they may have exposed, according to the Times. That's not nearly enough to be effective, according to experts.

Instead, the contact-tracing program sounds a lot like every other work effort put together by a government agency: a bureaucratic mess with misguided priorities. The Times reports:

They spoke of a confusing training regimen and priorities, and of newly hired supervisors who were unable to provide guidance. They said computer problems had sometimes caused patient records to disappear. And they said their performances were being tracked by call-center-style "adherence scores" that monitor the length of coffee breaks but did not account for how well tracers were building trust with clients. …

"It reminds me of an Amazon warehouse or something, where we are judged more on call volume or case volume than the quality of conversations," one newly hired contact tracer, a public health graduate student, said in an interview.

"To me, it seems like they hired all of us just to say we have 3,000 contact tracers so we can start opening up again, and they don't really care about the program metrics or whether it's a successful program," she said.

The city reports that 20 percent of new cases are coming from outside the state, which necessarily means 80 percent of calls are coming from inside the house. Better contact-tracing could probably help with that; symbolic checkpoints probably won't.

NEXT: The Looming Illegitimate Election of 2020

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  1. So if I just go through New Jersey first I don't have to self quarantine?

    I'm not sure that's worth it.

    1. Why would you go to NY in the first place?

      1. To see what communism is like?

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      2. I wouldn't, I'm just not going to pass up a perfectly good opportunity to insult New Jersey.

        1. Q) Why are people in NYC so pissed off all the time?

          A) The light at the end of the tunnel is New Jersey.

      3. I was born in NYC. My parents moved out before I was 1 year old. Now in my 50's I have made sure to thank them.

    2. NJ probably taxes that

  2. Couldn’t happen to a nicer group of people. Enjoy your left wing hell.

    1. Like all collectivists, they blame their continued failure on (a) the mere existence anywhere in the world of free markets, and (b) the refusal of capitalists to hand over their money.

  3. It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

  4. Next up: Virus checkpoints become permanent. They will also search for drugs, "human-trafficking", over-sized sodas and wrong-think. They will occur nightly for everyone in the city at their place of residence by placing microphones, cameras and full body scanners in each home at each citizen's expense. Unless they're poor and then he richest person on the block must foot the bill.

    1. Don't forget going door to door to be sure everyone is at home - - - -

      1. Unless they can prove they were going out to march in an enormous mass of unwashed people for a left-wing cause that will ultimately further empower and entrench the political regimes they think they're fighting against. Then they will only be cited if they aren't carrying something flammable.

    2. You know it. And that will do wonders for the tourism industry? Nothing says "Welcome to our city" like "papers please " and "we are going to search your car".

      1. Been through a border crossing coming back from Canada lately?

    3. So they're going to bring in Border Patrol?

  5. "It reminds me of an Amazon warehouse or something, where we are judged more on call volume or case volume than the quality of conversations," one newly hired contact tracer, a public health graduate student, said in an interview.

    You're a millennial, we get it!


    The Australian state of Victoria on Tuesday that military personnel will be deployed to enforce Covid-19 lockdown orders, amid growing concerns about attacks on police.

    Mr Andrews said an additional 500 unarmed military personnel will this week deploy to Victoria to assist police in ensuring self-isolation orders are being complied with.

    The latest military deployment will join about 1,500 troops already in Victoria and engaged in contact tracing, testing and assisting police at check points. Australia has deployed almost 3,000 troops to help in virus logistical operations.

    1. How far away are they bringing those troops from? And sending them back to when they're done?

    2. Unless someone describes the quarantine as 'mostly peaceful', I don't know how I'm supposed to feel about Federal no-shit Troops getting involved.

    3. I can't get over how awesome your screen name is. But that's not your fault it's mine.

    4. Australia looks at NY and says "that's nothing, hold my beer".

  7. The city reports that 20 percent of new cases are coming from outside the state, which necessarily means 80 percent of calls are coming from inside the house.

    I wonder where the 95 percent that have disappeared since April are coming from.

  8. Perhaps they should build some kind of wall around New York.

    1. Just blow up the bridges.

      1. What are the tunnels, chopped liver?

        1. Flood them.

        2. And before you ask about port facilities, the Lebanese have shown us the way.

          1. h/t Timothy McVeigh

      2. Where's Bane or the Joker when you actually need them?

    2. I wish Kurt Russell was up for Escape from New York 2, but he’s earned retirement.

      1. Big Trouble in Little China 2?

      2. He's probably in a moderately high risk demographic at this point.
        And America really can't afford to lose Kurt Russell

    3. Phase 1: Announce that Liam Hemsworth has died of COVID.
      Phase 2: Secretly cast him to reprise the role of Plissken.
      Phase 3: Profit.

      1. Liam Hemsworth had to be married to Miley Cyrus; I’m split between saying he’s suffered enough, and saying that he might want to pretend he’s dead. It’s convincing him to come back that might be hard.

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  9. De Blasio stressed that travelers' civil liberties would be respected and the main purpose of the checkpoints would be to enforce and give information about the quarantine requirements, along with assistance to those who need it.

    Until someone decides to use their civil rights and refuses to answer questions.

    1. Again, I'm interested to know how contact tracing is supposed to work for political opposition.

    2. I’m curios about what they will do when those with the UN that have diplomatic immunity tell them to f themselves and drive on? I mean they can’t even get them to pay their parking tickets.

  10. The goal is to damage the economy so people demand socialism. It's very cynical. The virus just has to burn itself out as it did in NYC. It's not herd immunity, but once the networkers in a community have immunity, that's enough to dampen the spread. Now other parts of the country are catching up (with high contagion but much lower death tolls). Meaning, the US will be in good shape in a month whereas Europe will be dry tinder (except Sweden).

  11. Just to be certain, de blasio sets up papers please check points, uses the laws to target jews, calls for the legislature to nationalize production and housing, wants to criminalize what he conciders wrong think, and calls other people nazis? Am I reading this right, or is he just that unaware?

    1. I was going to say something about the lack of camps, but then I remember their Governor forced prisoners to manufacture hand sanitizer for the state to sell.

      I'm half expecting one of those fuckwits to propose a Final Solution to the Coronavirus Question.

    2. Don’t forget, his birth name IS Wilhelm.

  12. So.... The masks aren't working?

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  14. Everything is great with fewer cases so we must clamp down even more. Maybe they are not telling us something

    1. Either it's incompetence and they simply don't know how to convey their messaging which leads to suspicion or they really are hiding something. I'm leaning the former but the latter is possible.

      What if Covid-19 is a ZOMBIE VIRUS?

      1. Too late.
        The left has already turned all the vulnerable

  15. Actung, Papers please!

    1. Beat me to it. I was trying decide how to spell it.
      Peppers pleess?
      Paypuhs pleese?

      1. Papiere, bitte!

  16. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution, which gives Congress the power “to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states.

    Just a reminder.

    1. Your point being?

      1. There will be no enforcement because there can't be enforcement . these are "suggestions "

  17. Ah look at those beautiful goalposts rolling majestically into the sunset. It started out that all these restrictions weren't to stop the disease, they were to "flatten the curve" and keep the healthcare system from being overwhelmed. Then, when the hospitals weren't overwhelmed it changed into preventing all deaths. Then, when people stopped dying it changed into preventing anyone from possibly bringing cooties entering into the lord's realm. Next stop checkpoint: "We must continue brutally oppressing people indefinitely to prevent COVID-19 from reappearing in the future."

    1. Here's the punchline: This virus is not going anywhere. Ever.

      Either people give themselves a shake and realize they have to learn to live with it or tolerate this pointless theatre. Wake up already you pant shitting sheep.

      De Blasio and Cuomo are appalling. How the media fawns over Cuomo is beyond this little mind to grasp.

      Imagine that. We planned to come out in the fall to NYC and take in a concert at Lincoln Centre.

      Sigh. I can wait.

  18. Judging from what I’m seeing in the media, nobody In the US seems to understand how to control the pandemic without lockdowns.

    Contact tracing and mandatory isolation is how successful countries get the pandemic under control.

    That’s why Trumptards pretend it doesn’t exist. Shit, fucking laughing stocks.

    1. That’s why Trumptards pretend it doesn’t exist.


    2. Resident Nazi heard from.
      Fuck off and die, you pathetic piece of shit.

      1. I'm not shocked he uses the same language as Jeff, sarcastic, dol, etc

      2. Booga booga.

      3. Be nice

    3. Mask look like they're pretty effective, without the nastiness of becoming a surveillance state.

      1. Thing is that a virus doesn’t care about your political perspective. In fact it will spread faster and kill more unless people make the necessary effort to control it.

        The US is not. The next pandemic may spread faster and be even more deadly and those who demonstrate that the freedom to be stupid and petty is worth hundreds of thousands of lives today will have learned nothing to prevent millions tomorrow.

        1. Kind of like your holocaust history?

        2. Unless you have the freedom to be bitter and petty, you don’t have freedom. But, somehow, I’m not sure that you’re concerned with freedom, just the glory of Der Vaterland. That IS how you’d say it in the original German, right?

        3. The virus also doesn't seem to care much about lockdowns. The way to reduce deaths is to have healthy people develop immunity, as soon as possible. Which means attempts to limit it's spread are counterproductive. New York is lucky in a way that the lockdowns were too late there to really slow things down much. Their epidemic is over. Not because of measures taken, but because of the failure of such measures. Probably over half the city has been infected or exposed. The lesson that needs to be learned here is how to let that happen without getting so many old, sick people infected.

    4. Nobody is pretending that it doesn't exist.
      Sane people just aren't panicking over a virus which 99% of those who catch it survive, and most people don't even know they have it until they are told they tested positive. And many of those who tested positive weren't actually tested.

      1. And many tested got false positives and false negatives, and the Nazi scum doesn't care:
        Papiere, bitte!

    5. Once every 100-120 years there may be a benefit to living in a society like Taiwan's where contact tracing and lockdowns are unilaterally imposed without regard for the rights of its inhabitants.
      The rest of the time? I'll take the United States thank you very much, even as f###ed up as we are in our current form.
      In the US violating individual rights is SUPPOSED TO BE HARD even when it is in the name of the common good. Liberty is complicated. Servitude (or worse) is easy. One day this virus will not be as big of a deal as it is now. The damage to our individual liberties that took place as part of our "patriotic virus response" in 2020 will still be a big deal on that day.

      1. Hopefully when this pandemic is over US citizens will look at the utter failure of the nations response and consider if the freedom to be stupid and petty was worth hundreds of thousands of lives.

        The rest of the world is watching.

        1. So exactly WHY do I care about the opinion of the rest of the world? Is this junior high, and the countries of the world are the mean girls, whom I desperately want to like me?

        2. I suspect when all is said and done, we will see the pointlessness and destructiveness of pretty much all of the response. Places that haven't had big outbreaks yet will have them sooner or later. You can't eradicate this kind of virus. It will eventually be part of the normal background of viruses that we always deal with. And it won't be a big deal because immunity will be widespread.
          Why are people acting like this is something totally different from every other cold and flu virus ever?

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  20. Hey Scott. Serious request: please do not report numbers of deaths or cases in a state, but infection rate. You cite NJ and ND cases, but the better figure would be rate, so ND is running about 100 (+) new cases per million per day (and increasing) whereas NJ is about 40 (and dropping) (excuse me, I may be a few days out of current, I've had other stuff to do than crunch numbers the past few days). In any event, it is the rate that effects the chance of any individual bringing the disease into a locale, not the number of cases in the locale.

    But certainly, just about everyone here will agree that DeBlasio is an arrogant hypocrite.


  21. Make sure you trade contact info with everyone on any subway car you ride in, and index them all by date/time/route/stop. Gotta be ready to help those contact tracers if someone gets sick.

    1. You can just tell the cops you belong to some preferred prog identity group and have fled Trumpland for asylum in NYC, so how dare they tell you that you have to quarantine.

    2. You have no clue what contact tracing is.

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  23. What kind of braindead citizens would elect the likes of Cuomo, DeBlasio, AND Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?

    Oh yeah.

  24. Imagine the uproar from the Left if, back in April, Trump had decided to quarantine New York State and New Jersey due to their soaring coronavirus infections and deaths (N.Y. and N.J. lead the country in deaths per capita by a large margin),

    1. You have no clue what contact tracing is.

      Viruses do well in an environment of ignorance.

      1. So, are you a virus farmer?

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  26. The medical point of view suggests checkpoints do work and are necessary. You paint this as the big bad government Democrats just want to take away our freedoms.

  27. I am looking at all this as an opportunity.

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    Taking a cue from the prez we are going to call it

    Yo! Semites!

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  28. Are they managing the outbreak better, or is it just over? I suspect the latter. There is quite a bit of evidence to suggest that there is very little correlation between how this has been managed and death rates. This epidemic is just like every other respiratory virus epidemic, it comes, it peaks and it goes. But our fuckhead leaders seem determined to pretend that this is something completely new that we've never seen before. In a just world, every politician who went along with this shit would receive the Mussolini treatment.

    1. That is right Zeb. I recommend that folks download a Mussolini hanging by his feet image from the internet, print it out, and send it to their favorite authoritarian. Maybe scrawl a comment. I have also been toying with the idea of wearing a Cross of Lorraine armband as a sign of The Resistance.
      Nice comment Zeb!

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