Health and Science

NY Gov. Cuomo says President Donald Trump is 'enabling' the coronavirus pandemic

Key Points
  • President Trump is exacerbating the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. by playing down the problem, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters. 
  • He said Trump could help curb the outbreak by simply acknowledging the problem and by wearing a mask in public.
  • "We know there's a model that says you can contain the virus. We did it," Cuomo said.
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Gov. Cuomo: 'Mr. President, don't be a co-conspirator of Covid', just wear the mask

President Donald Trump is exacerbating the coronavirus pandemic by playing down the problem and telling Americans they don't have to wear a mask, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday. 

Trump "says a lot of things, right? They're not necessarily facts, they're not necessarily true," Cuomo said at a press briefing in Albany.

"He wants to deny the Covid virus. He has from day one. 'Well it's just like the flu. Well it's going to be gone by Easter. It's going to get warm and disappear like a miracle.' He's said all of things, and none of them were true," Cuomo said. 

The Democratic governor said Trump could help curb the outbreak in the U.S., the worst in the world, by simply acknowledging the problem and by wearing a mask in public. If he doesn't, then "he's facilitating the virus. He's enabling the virus," Cuomo said. 

"He won't wear a mask. Vice President Pence says wear a mask. All the health officials say wear the mask. He won't wear a mask because he doesn't want to admit that there's a Covid virus. Why? I have no idea," Cuomo said. 

Cuomo ridiculed Trump's claim that if the U.S. didn't conduct more tests then it wouldn't find additional cases. Trump has previously said that "anybody who wants a test gets a test."

At a campaign rally last month in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Trump attributed the growing outbreaks across the country to increased testing, and said he told officials to "slow the testing down, please."

Cuomo pointed to his own work in New York as an example for other states to contain the virus. There were 817 people hospitalized with the coronavirus in New York, he said, which was the lowest level of Covid-19 hospitalizations since early in the outbreak. 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a news conference on July 1, 2020 in New York City.
Byron Smith | Getty Images

"We know there's a model that says you can contain the virus. We did it," Cuomo said. "And by the way, we did it in the worst case scenario. That's what's really breathtaking here. We didn't have seven cases, we had the highest infection rate in the country."

Some states like Texas are reporting record levels of hospitalizations as outbreaks surge. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Sunday on CBS's "Face The Nation" that the city's hospitals are only weeks away from becoming overwhelmed. 

Texas and Florida reported record spikes in coronavirus cases over the Fourth of July weekend.

In New York, the number of new infections have declined since the state started reopening businesses in mid-May, Cuomo said. The state reported 518 additional cases on Sunday, less than 1% of the total tests conducted. 

"We're not the United States of denial. We have never been a nation that's excelled because we refuse to admit the problem," Cuomo said. 

New York has slowly reopened its economy in phases, allowing New York City to begin its phase 3 reopening on Monday, which allowed for nail salons, spas, tattoo parlors, among other businesses, to return.

However, the city has delayed reopening indoor dining spaces at restaurants as other states that reopened their restaurants and bars saw cases spike and were forced to walk back those decisions.

"An outbreak anywhere is an outbreak everywhere," Cuomo said. 

Cuomo warned that some New Yorkers have become "complacent" and could threaten the state's reopening progress.

"You look at the festivities over July Fourth, you see gatherings that are not socially distanced, they're not wearing masks. You see it in Manhattan, you see it on Fire Island. There are reports upstate of gatherings where people aren't socially distanced and people aren't wearing masks," he said.

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