Cuomo slams Trump coronavirus response as ‘virus of American division and federal incompetence’

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a daily briefing following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Manhattan in New York City, New York, July 13, 2020.

Mike Segar | Reuters

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday slammed President Donald Trump’s coronavirus response, describing the pandemic in the U.S. as a “virus of American division and federal incompetence.”

“It will be a double-barreled shotgun of incompetence,” Cuomo told reporters during a press briefing in Albany. “You know what virus is worse than Covid? The virus of American division and federal incompetence. That’s the virus that’s wreaking havoc on this country.”

Cuomo pointed to a recent report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that he said proved one of his longstanding claims: The coronavirus came to New York, which was once the epicenter of the global outbreak, predominantly from Europe and not China.

The report, which studied 544 specimens collected by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene collected in March, found that 6.6% of specimens tested positive for Covid-19.

Using genetic sequencing, the CDC determined most of the Covid-19 positive specimens resembled those circulating in Europe, “suggesting probable introductions of SARS-CoV-2 from Europe, from other U.S. locations, and local introductions from within New York.” 

“By the time the president did the China travel ban, it was too late because the virus had left China and went to Europe,” Cuomo said. “By the time they did the travel ban to Europe March 13 it was too late. The virus was in New York it had been in New York for weeks.”

Cuomo said that between Feb. 6 and March 16, which was the period that authorities believe the virus came from Europe and moved through New York, more than 2,700 flights from Europe landed at John F. Kennedy airport in New York City and nearly 1,200 landed at Newark Airport. 

“It was a terrible failing on behalf of the federal government because this was their job,” he said. “This country’s public health system is monitored by the federal government, it’s managed by the federal government.”

New York City is set to begin its phase four reopening Monday, which would allow malls and cultural institutions to reopen, but indoor operations will remain closed.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates. 

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