Cuomo Blasts Trump's COVID-19 Response as 'Worst Government Blunder in Modern History'
While the nation overall struggles with rising COVID cases, New York State is seeing the opposite. After peaking in March and April and implementing strict shutdowns of businesses, the state has seen its number of positive cases steadily decline as it slowly reopens. From coast-to-coast, Governor Andrew Cuomo's response to the crisis has been hailed as an exemplar of how to handle a public health crisis.
Seeing the numbers go the wrong way in other parts of the country has prompted Cuomo to rail against the federal response to the crisis, and, in particular, the dearth of leadership from the White House. On Monday, Cuomo called President Trump's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic "the worst government blunder in modern history," as The Times-Union in Albany reported.
During a press briefing in New York City, Cuomo passionately listed off a list of false statements and poor decisions that Trump and various White House officials made over the course of the crisis that underplayed the severity of the disease and resulted in many downplaying the risks and underpreparing for an outbreak.
"It was a mistake to say, 'It's just the flu,'" he said, as Gothamist reported.
In a video that Cuomo posted to Twitter, he asked the president to tell the truth and reiterated his list of grievances, writing, "The president has to tell the American people the truth. It was a mistake to downplay COVID. It was a mistake to say it would be gone by Easter. It was a mistake to say it will magically disappear. And it was a mistake to not set up a national testing program."
In his press conference, Cuomo said the nation should have learned the lessons New York did earlier and prepared better in the spring. He compared the deaths due to the virus to the loss of life in the Vietnam War.
"This was a colossal blunder, how COVID was handled by this federal government," Cuomo said, as Syracuse.com reported. "Shame on all of you."
He noted that states that opened too soon like Texas and Florida followed the federal government's lead in downplaying the pandemic.
"The reason they didn't (believe the gravity of the crisis) is because they were listening to the president," Cuomo said, as the Times-Union reported. "COVID kills Republicans and COVID affects red states. It is deadly serious."
According to Gothamist, he added: "This was not a political issue and it shouldn't have been politicized. This is public health, that's what this was, and it should have never been turned into a political symbol which is what this president did."
Cuomo also noted that medical experts were saying that the country needs to again "reset" by shutting down. And yet, he questioned if that would be effective if Trump did not change what he was saying about the seriousness of the infectious disease tearing through the country.
"If we don't tell the truth on the reset, COVID will never end," Cuomo said, according to the Times-Union. "And it will just bounce across the country."
The percentage of people testing positive in New York is around 1 percent. Hospitalizations reached a new low on Sunday after a peak of 18,000 in April. As Syracuse.com reported, 136 people were in intensive care units on Sunday and 62 people were intubated due to the virus, the lowest numbers since March.