New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday claimed that the novel coronavirus entered his city from Europe, not China. He also added that travel bans enacted by US President Donald Trump were too late to contain to spread of the epidemic.
According to the reports, Cuomo mentioned research from Northeastern University, which estimated that more than 10,000 New Yorkers may have contracted the disease by the time the state had its first confirmed case on March 1. He claimed Italy as the likely source of the coronavirus.
President Trump acted late on travel ban
The New York governor noted that Trump ordered a ban on travel from China only February 2, which was more than a month after the coronavirus outbreak had already emerged from the city of Wuhan. President Trump decided to restrict travel from Europe the following month, but, by that time, the virus had spread widely in the United States, he said.
“We closed the front door with the China travel ban, which was right,” Cuomo said to the media. “But we left the back door open because the virus had left China by the time we did the China travel ban,” he added.
Cuomo’s comments have now stoked new controversy over the origin and transmission of the virus into the United States and whether the administration could have saved more lives if they had acted sooner.
New York reacted much faster against the coronavirus
Defending his own actions, Cuomo pointed out that the 19 days between New York’s first confirmed case and his lockdown order, arguing that he had moved faster than any other state. He also said Trump, who last week halted US contributions to the World Health Organization after accusing it of promoting China’s “disinformation” about the outbreak, was right to question whether the WHO responded properly to the crisis.
Cuomo attacked for what he referred to as “slow reaction” by the United States, even as increasingly disturbing reports emerged out of China in January and February about the faster transmission of the virus.
Cuomo said as many as 2.2 million people took flights from Europe to New York and New Jersey airports in those two months, many of them likely carrying the coronavirus.
“We acted two months after the China outbreak. When you look back, does anyone think the virus was still in China waiting for us to act two months later?” Cuomo added. “The horse had already left the barn by the time we moved,” he added.
Cuomo cautioned that it was important that the country learns from the mistakes that were made because the virus could surge again in autumn or a new virus could emerge. “It will happen again. Bank on it. Let’s not put our head in the sand,” he said. He said it was too early to reopen his state, which is in lockdown until at least May 15.
On a positive note, he said hospitalizations for coronavirus stood at 14,258 on Thursday, declining for the tenth straight day. He reported 422 additional deaths, the lowest daily total since March 31.
Coronavirus in New York
The United States has recorded 2,494 more coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours. The country now has an overall death toll of 53,511, with 936,293 confirmed infections, according to figures reported Saturday night by Johns Hopkins University. New York has been worst affected in the US which as reported over 2.86 lakh coronavirus cases.