ALBANY, N.Y. — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, citing a recent report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, took President Donald Trump to task Thursday over the federal coronavirus response.
The governor touted the report because it backs his argument that the virus came to New York through Europe, not China. “It will be a double-barreled shotgun of incompetence,” Cuomo told reporters during an afternoon phone conference.
“You know what virus is worse than COVID? The virus of American division and federal incompetence. That’s the virus that’s wreaking havoc on this country.”
Trump has repeatedly downplayed the severity of the virus, attributing skyrocketing infection rates in states across the country to upticks in testing and contradicting federal health experts.
He has also repeatedly referred to coronavirus as the “Wuhan” virus and “the Chinese virus,” while downplaying the fact that travelers from European countries and Americans returning from abroad played a role in the spread of the deadly respiratory illness. He has also used the racist phrase “kung flu” several times while talking about the pandemic that has killed more than 130,000 Americans.
The CDC report, which studied 544 specimens collected by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene collected in March, found that 6.6% of specimens tested positive for COVID-19.
The report details how, using genetic sequencing, the agency determined most coronavirus-positive samples it studied from the Empire State resembled those circulating in Europe, “suggesting probable introductions of SARS-CoV-2 from Europe, from other U.S. locations, and local introductions from within New York.”
Cuomo and Trump have been at odds since New York became the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S. back in March and April. The two have publicly sparred over the federal response, reopening strategies and the role of states in battling the virus since the crisis began.
On Tuesday, the president attacked Cuomo directly during a rambling Rose Garden address.
“Thousands of people in New York died because of poor management by the governor,” he said. “And it’s a very sad thing to see and very sad to watch and very sad to look at those statistics.”
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