New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo claimed people are moving into New York to escape surging coronavirus cases in other states and threatening to cause another spike.
Cuomo said that his state is now seen as a “safe” state while speaking at a Monday press conference. He declared a major victory in the ongoing fight against the virus after New York reported zero deaths from coronavirus on July 12, the first time hitting that benchmark since March.
The Democratic governor now says that New York’s progress in fighting the virus has outpaced other states and that people are moving to New York looking for a safe haven from the pandemic. The people moving into the state may cause the virus to increase again, he said.
“The problem is you have it now increasing in 40 states across the nation. How do you keep the virus in 40 states from coming into New York? We now have people coming to New York fleeing from the other states because it’s the ‘safe’ state,” Cuomo said.
“We have people coming here just for the purpose of fleeing the virus in their state. Really the only answer is those other states have to get the virus under control,” Cuomo added. In May, a team of geneticists traced the origins of strains of the coronavirus from all over the country and sourced almost all of them back to New York.
“We now have enough data to feel pretty confident that New York was the primary gateway for the rest of the country,” Yale School of Public Health epidemiologist Nathan Grubaugh said at the time.
Cuomo also attacked President Donald Trump’s response to the virus and blamed the federal government in part for coronavirus cases that are rising across the South and West.
“The federal government has been incompetent on this situation. The federal government has been in denial on this situation. The federal government has pressured these other states to reopen recklessly, which they did,” Cuomo said.
“President ‘Liberate, Liberate, Liberate.’ All the protests against New York, how many times did I get into confrontations with protesters? ‘President Trump says you should reopen the economy,’” Cuomo continued. “I said if I reopen the economy recklessly, all it’s going to do is increase the virus, and if the virus goes up the economy is going to have to close back down. No, no, no, which is exactly what happened to these other states. Their mistake was they listened to the president.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: "We now have people coming to New York, fleeing the other states because it's the 'safe' state." pic.twitter.com/fLHqDwbe3P
— The Hill (@thehill) July 20, 2020
New York continues to have the highest total number of cases of the virus among U.S. states at roughly 435,000. It also has the highest total number of deaths from the virus at nearly 33,000 and the second highest number of deaths per 1 million people, behind only New Jersey.
Cuomo has aggressively denied accusations that a measure he took early on that led to coronavirus-positive patients being forced into nursing homes with uninfected residents led to his state’s relatively high death toll. His administration conducted a study of New York’s response to the virus and blamed nursing home workers for spreading the virus among the state’s elderly, not his controversial policy.
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