There is much to be done that can mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, but pretending it's not happening is not a solution.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo urged local governments on Monday to blame him if it makes it more palatable to enforce state laws on face coverings and social distancing.
Gov. Cuomo acknowledged that enforcement of his state's draconian restrictions is "not politically pleasant," but he said it is critically important to keeping New York on track in its economic recovery.
No U.S. state has endured more coronavirus-related deaths than New York's near-32,000. But with cases of the virus increasing in 38 other U.S. states, Cuomo says simple precautions, like mask-wearing and social distancing, are as necessary as ever.
"We've been there, done that. This is a frightening situation across the country," he said. "An outbreak anywhere is an outbreak everywhere. That's the new mentality we have to have. We can't protect ourselves as an island. We have people coming in and out all day long."
While it is believed that COVID-19 arrived in New York from Europe, Cuomo says the threat is now mostly coming from inside the U.S. New York coronavirus tracers have investigated numerous cases of travelers bringing the virus from out-of-state.
Whereas New Yorkers have taken the virus seriously, Cuomo says other states have flouted recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and they are now paying the price.
Cuomo has for months urged fellow lawmakers to keep politics away from the pandemic, but he says the lack of leadership is causing people to get sick.
The governor continued, taking aim at President Trump for repeatedly contradicting his own experts, confusing the facts on the deadly virus and refusing to wear a face mask in public to show skeptical Americans that the threat is real.
Denying that COVID is real or downplaying the threat it poses is one of the leading factors in its ongoing spread, Cuomo added.
"If we do not as a nation acknowledge the COVID viral increase, it is going to continue. Those upward numbers don't change on their own," he said. "They only change when you change them. The bend doesn't happen naturally. The bend happens when people change their behavior..."
Despite mounting evidence depicting increasing infection rates around the country, including more positive tests, more hospitalizations and more COVID-related deaths, Trump has written off the increase as a function of more tests being administered.
The president also asserted that America should do fewer coronavirus tests to bring down the unpleasant numbers.
Cuomo lambasted the assertion as akin "enabling the virus," saying the president wants to deny the problem and hope that it will go away.
"What he's really saying is if we didn't test, we wouldn't find the cases and if we didn't find the cases, we wouldn't have a problem," Cuomo said.
Cuomo added that by the same logic, America should stop doing mammograms, prostate exams, TB checks and HIV tests.
New York's success in flattening the coronavirus infection curve, he said, is proof that people will make the right choices for themselves and the health of their families and communities if they are empowered with facts about the pandemic.
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