News and Commentary

Cuomo Questions Quarantine: Probably Not The Best Public Health Strategy
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a press conference at his Midtown Manhattan office, September 14, 2018 in New York City.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

On Thursday, Democratic Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo publicly questioned the full-quarantine measures his state implemented nearly two weeks ago.

The Democrat mused during a presser that quarantining everyone might have actually led to infections of the elderly, as young people were forced to live in close quarters with older folks.

“We closed everything down. That was our public health strategy,” Cuomo said, as reported by the New York Post. “If you re-thought that or had time to analyze that public health strategy, I don’t know that you would say ‘Quarantine everyone.’”

“I don’t even know that that was the best public health policy,” the governor admitted. “Young people then quarantined with older people, [it] was probably not the best public health strategy. The younger people could have been exposing the older people to an infection.”

When the Post inquired about Cuomo’s public quarantine-questioning, his office directed the outlet to an article posted in The New York Times opinion section by Dr. David Katz, last Friday. At a press conference on Monday, the Post noted, Cuomo specifically referenced Dr. Katz when similarly questioning quarantine measures.

“There’s a theory of risk stratification that Dr. Katz who’s at Yale University is working on, which is actually very interesting to me,” the governor said Monday. “Isolate people but really isolate the vulnerable people. Don’t isolate everyone because some people, most people, are not vulnerable to it.”

“And if you isolate all people, you may be actually exposing the more vulnerable people by bringing in a person who is healthier and stronger and who may have been exposed to the virus, right,” Cuomo added.

Dr. Katz piece, titled “Is Our Fight Against Coronavirus Worse Than the Disease?” illustrated that the damage being caused to the economy in anti-coronavirus efforts as “possibly graver than the direct toll of the virus itself.”

“I am deeply concerned that the social, economic and public health consequences of this near total meltdown of normal life — schools and businesses closed, gatherings banned — will be long lasting and calamitous, possibly graver than the direct toll of the virus itself,” Katz argued. “The stock market will bounce back in time, but many businesses never will. The unemployment, impoverishment and despair likely to result will be public health scourges of the first order.”

“Worse, I fear our efforts will do little to contain the virus, because we have a resource-constrained, fragmented, perennially underfunded public health system,” the doctored added. “Distributing such limited resources so widely, so shallowly and so haphazardly is a formula for failure. How certain are you of the best ways to protect your most vulnerable loved ones? How readily can you get tested?”

Still, Cuomo has yet to throw out any timeline with regard to quarantine policy change. Currently, all so-called nonessential business is closed. In fact, the only dates Cuomo has thrown out were in reference in continuing quarantine measures, and they have been extreme, ranging up to nine months.

Related: Cuomo: Two Pieces Of Good News Out Of NY: Hospitalization Rate Drops, PPE Need Filled

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