New York (Web Desk) New York Governor Andrew Cuomo pointed to research showing that strains of the novel corona virus entered his state from Europe, not China, and said that travel bans enacted by US President Donald Trump were too late to halt its spread.
Cuomo cited research from Northeastern University estimating that more than 10,000 New Yorkers may have contracted the disease by the time the state had its first confirmed case on March 1. He said he believed Italy was the likely source.
The governor noted that Trump ordered a ban on travel from China on Feb 2, more than a month after news reports had emerged about an outbreak in the city of Wuhan, and decided to restrict travel from Europe the following month. By that time, the virus had spread widely in the United States, he said.
“We closed the front door with the China travel ban, which was right,” Cuomo told a briefing. “But we left the back door open because the virus had left China by the time we did the China travel ban.” With his comments, Cuomo thrust himself into a heated and politically fraught debate about when and how the virus first entered the United States and whether officials like Trump and himself could have saved more lives if they had acted sooner.
Cuomo defended his own actions by pointing to the 19 days between New York’s first confirmed case and his lockdown order, arguing that he had moved faster than any other state.
He also said Trump, who last week halted US contributions to the World Health Organization after accusing it of promoting China’s “disinformation” about the outbreak, was right to question whether the WHO responded properly to the crisis.
But Cuomo took aim at what he described as a slow reaction by the country’s leaders, even as increasingly disturbing reports emerged out of China in January and February about how quickly the virus was spreading and killing people.