President Donald Trump is exacerbating the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. by downplaying 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.
He 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,” he 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.”
Last month at a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Trump attributed the growing outbreaks across the country to increased testing, adding that he told officials to “slow the testing down, please.”
The Empire State governor 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 the beginning of 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-level hospitalization levels as outbreaks continue to surge. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said on CBS’s “Face The Nation” Sunday that the city’s hospitals are only weeks away from becoming overwhelmed.
Texas and Florida reported record surges in coronavirus cases over the Fourth of July weekend as state and local governments try to contain growing outbreaks.
Meanwhile, 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 Monday.