‘You played politics with this virus and you lost’


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks inside of the New York Stock Exchange after earlier ringing the opening bell as the building opens for the first time since March while the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID19) continues in the Manhattan borough of New York, May 26, 2020.

Lucas Jackson | Reuters

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo criticized other state leaders’ response to the coronavirus pandemic Thursday, saying some states who rushed to reopen their economies were playing politics.

Cuomo, a Democrat, was asked by CNN’s Alisyn Camerota about comments made by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, who said the state’s quarantine on New Yorkers earlier this year “saved lives” and reduced the spread of the virus. 

“I say to them all look at the numbers,” Cuomo said in response, referring to conservative states seeing a rise in Covid-19 cases. “You played politics with this virus and you lost. You told the people of this state, you told the people of this country, the White House, ‘don’t worry about it. Go about your business. This is all Democratic hyperbole.’” 

“Now you see 27 states with the numbers going up. You see the death projections going up. You see the economy going down,” Cuomo said. “It was never politics. It was always science.”

The U.S. reported more new coronavirus cases on Wednesday than on any single day before, according to a tally by NBC News. As of Tuesday, cases are growing by 5% or more in 30 states across the country, including Florida, Arizona, Texas, Montana and Idaho, according to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins University data. Coronavirus hospitalizations are on the rise as well.

On Wednesday, the World Health Organization said the coronavirus outbreak in the Americas, which includes the United States, still hasn’t reached its “peak” yet.

The same day, Cuomo announced that travelers arriving in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut from Florida, Texas and other states with spiking Covid-19 infection rates will be subject to a 14-day quarantine and fines if they don’t self-isolate. 

“We worked very hard to get the viral transmission rate down. We don’t want to see it go up because a lot of people come into this region and they can literally bring the infection with them,” Cuomo said at a news conference with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont. “Because what happens in New York happens in New Jersey and happens in Connecticut.”

On Thursday, Cuomo also criticized comments made by some state leaders and President Donald Trump that reported cases are only rising due to an increase in testing.

“I don’t even know what that means mathematically,” he said. “Forget that. Your hospital beds are filling up. Do you know what that means when hospital beds fill up? It means more people are getting sick.”

Cuomo said he is set to announce later Thursday the state now has the lowest hospitalization rate since the outbreak started at less than 1,000 people hospitalized. 

“This is after three months of everyone working hard and doing the right thing and taking this seriously,” he said. 

–CNBC’s Noah Higgins-Dunn contributed to this report. 


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