New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday slammed the federal government’s response to the outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus, which has infected at least 108 people in suburban New Rochelle alone, claiming that when officials someday look back on the nation’s actions, “the retrospective is going to be damning.”
“When they do the retrospective on this one, they are going to say, ‘Why did it take the United States so long to bring up the testing capacity?’ We knew this was happening in November and December. We watched China,” said Cuomo on The TODAY Show. “The retrospective is going to be damning.”
Cuomo was just one of several local and state leaders who have called on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to improve access to testing, and to point fingers at the federal government for its alleged shortcomings in the response to the deadly outbreak that originated in China’s Hubei province and city of Wuhan in December.
The AP reported Wednesday morning that U.S. cases have now topped 1,000.
Meanwhile, Cuomo defended the one-mile containment zone he imposed in New Rochelle, where National Guard troops have been brought in to help enforce a ban on large gatherings. The outbreak in the area ostensibly began when a Manhattan lawyer who lives in Westchester County contracted the 2019 novel coronavirus on a trip, then brought it home, where his wife, son, daughter, and several neighbors became infected, too. The lawyer has since been hospitalized at the New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center in Manhattan, according to health officials.
“New Rochelle is the hottest spot in the country, the most dense cluster,” said Cuomo. “Our action in New Rochelle is just no large gatherings. People can come, people can go. There’s no limitation on movement, but no large gatherings because the large gatherings are where it spreads.”
“It sounds more dramatic than it is,” he added.
The lawyer’s wife, Adina Lewis Garbuz, wrote a Facebook post on Tuesday afternoon, urging the public to “stay rational and calm.”
“I hope the Garbuz name becomes associated not as the ones with coronavirus but the ones who were instrumental in helping get this contained,” she wrote. ”I have not wanted to speak out as I have no urge to be in the limelight and I am sure my husband would be most horrified knowing he was, but I am willing to if it in any way can be helpful to others, to allay fears and restore feelings of calm.”