New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Monday that President Trump is “enabling the virus” with his messaging on the pandemic.
The New York governor criticized Trump during his press conference, particularly for his claim in his Fourth of July speech that 99 percent of COVID-19 cases are “totally harmless.” Cuomo said the president “makes up facts” like this claim to “deny” that the coronavirus crisis exists.
“He is facilitating the virus,” the governor said. “He is enabling the virus by statements like that. And you’re seeing the infection rate go up, and you’re seeing the economy suffer, and he is part of that current debacle that we are in.”
“What he said to the American people is there’s no problem. And then they don’t wear a mask, and they don’t socially distance, and they don’t take any precautionary behavior, and then the virus goes like this,” he added, using his hand to mimic the rise of cases in the U.S.
Cuomo also cited instances when Trump compared COVID-19 to the flu and said that heat will kill the virus in warmer weather.
“And now we have a problem in 38 states because some people believed him,” Cuomo said, citing data that 38 states are experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases.
The governor said several of New York’s recent clusters originate back to a person from out of state who visited New York.
“An outbreak anywhere is an outbreak everywhere,” Cuomo said. “That’s the new mentality we have to have.”
“If we are in a state of denial, you’re going to see that curve continue to go up,” the governor added.
The U.S. infection rate has been rising in recent weeks reaching a high of 56,567 new cases confirmed last Thursday. Overall, more than 2.8 million cases have been confirmed, leading to at least 130,007 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
When the virus first reached the country, New York became the epicenter of the outbreak. But now other states are seeing dramatic rises in cases, including Arizona, Florida, California and Texas.
New York, New Jersey and Connecticut declared a 14-day mandatory quarantine for travelers from states where cases are rising. Sixteen states were on the list as of Friday, ABC7 reported.
In total, New York has seen 397,649 positive cases of the virus, reading to at least 24,913 deaths, according to the state health department.