NY Governor offers evidence that the virus entered the US from Europe
China has been in the sites of many as the world tries to apportion blame of the origins of Covid-19, including some world leaders.
Now New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has laid out some research showing that the strains of the novel coronavirus arrived in New York from Europe, not China. He also claimed that travel bans enacted by the US President Donald Trump were too late to halt its spread.
Cuomo cited research from Northeastern University in Boston estimating that more than 10,000 New Yorkers could have contracted the disease by the time the state of New York had its first confirmed case on March 1. The research indicates that Italy was the likely source.
“We closed the front door with the China travel ban, which was right. But we left the back door open because the virus had left China by the time we did the China travel ban.”
The comments thrust Cuomo into the middle of a heated and politically-charged debate about from where and when and the virus first entered the US and whether the country’s leadership could have saved more lives if they had acted sooner.
But he also supported President Trump, who halted US contributions to the World Health Organisation this week after accusing it of promoting China’s “disinformation”, saying he was right to question whether the WHO responded properly to the crisis.
The US put a ban on flights from China on February 2, then from Europe a month later.
Cuomo pointed out the slow reaction by US leadership, even as increasingly disturbing reports emerged out of China in January and February, about the speed the virus was spreading, and then beyond China. The Governor showed that up to 2.2 million people flew from Europe to New York and New Jersey airports in January and February, some of them likely carriers of the highly contagious respiratory virus.
“We acted two months after the China outbreak. When you look back, does anyone think the virus was still in China waiting for us to act two months later? The horse had already left the barn by the time we moved.”
Cuomo said it was important that the country learns from the mistakes as the pandemic shows signs of peaking in the some US states, but warns of a second wave in the country’s autumn.
“It will happen again. Bank on it. Let’s not put our head in the sand.”
New York remains in a lockdown, of sorts, until at least May 15. He said the 3-day average for new cases of Covid-19 was holding stubbornly around 1,300 people per day, “a worrisome sign”.
But on a positive note, he said hospitalizations for COVID-19 totaled 14,258 on Thursday, declining for the tenth straight day. He reported 422 additional deaths, the lowest daily total since March 31.
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