(The Guardian) – Donald Trump and Andrew Cuomo once again clashed in their handling of the coronavirus outbreak on Saturday, with New York’s governor saying he was unaware the president was weighing a regional quarantine.
The clash emerged at Cuomo’s daily press briefing in Albany when he was asked about comments made by Trump as he left the White House for a visit to Norfolk, Virginia.
Trump said: We’re thinking about certain things. Some people would like to see New York quarantined because it’s a hotspot – We might not have to do it, but there’s a possibility that sometime today we’ll do a quarantine, short-term, two weeks in New York. Probably New Jersey, certain parts of Connecticut.
I’d rather not do it, but maybe we need it.
Cuomo said he spoke to Trump earlier about a US navy hospital ship being deployed to New York City and four temporary hospital sites. But he added: I didn’t speak to him about any quarantine.
Cuomo also said of the potentially enforceable quarantine – I don’t even know what that means. I don’t know how that could be legally enforceable. And from a medical point of view, I don’t know what you would be accomplishing.
But I can tell you I don’t even like the sound of it. Not even understanding what it is, I don’t even like the sound of it.
Shortly after that, Trump tweeted – I am giving consideration to a QUARANTINE of developing hot spots, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. A decision will be made, one way or another, shortly.
In Norfolk to say farewell to the USNS Comfort, he said “this great ship” was “a 70,000-ton message of hope and solidarity to the incredible people of New York, a place I know very well, a place I love.
We are with you all the way, and always will be.
But the president added: “We will stop at nothing to protect the health of New Yorkers and the health of people in our country.
I am now considering and will make a decision very quickly, very shortly, a quarantine because it’s such a hot area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, we’ll be announcing that one way or another fairly soon.
This does not apply to people such as truckers from outside the New York area. It won’t affect trade in any way.
Cuomo also addressed the need for ventilators in New York, which with more than 52,000 positive coronavirus tests has more known infections than any other state.
According to the guardian: The need for ventilators has been another point of conflict with Trump, who this week told Fox News – I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators.
Cuomo held a bag valve mask, effectively a manual ventilator.
This is the alternative if you don’t have the ventilators, he said. We are actually buying these. We bought about 3,000. We’ve ordered an additional 4,000 of these bag valve masks.
We’re even talking about training national guard people to learn how to operate this device, which is relatively simple to operate but you need a lot of people to operate this 24-hours-a day for each patient.
If we have to turn to this device on any large-scale basis that is not an acceptable situation. We’re planning for that worst-case scenario.
The governor said Trump had approved temporary hospitals in the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island, and Brooklyn.
He also called for unified purchasing of medical supplies – either federally or a consortium among states – to prevent price increases and permit states with the most need access to equipment and protective gear.
Earlier, Trump continued to attack favorite targets including the governor of Michigan and the mainstream news media.
At the White House briefing on Friday, a reporter asked the 73-year-old president: Given that older Americans are advised to stay at home and avoid travel, is it absolutely necessary for you to go to Norfolk, Virginia tomorrow to wave goodbye to the ship?
“No,” Trump replied, “but I have the spirit for the country. I mean, we have sailors, we have doctors on that ship. We have everything. I mean, I’m not going to be jumping around in a huddle, but yeah, I think it’s a great sign.”
Trump downplayed the risk, saying he could avoid close contact.
And I think it’s a good thing when I go over there and I say thank you, he said. It doesn’t mean I’m going to be hugging people and it doesn’t mean that I’m going to be shaking people’s hands and everything, but I think it sends a signal when the president is able to go there and say thank you. So, we’ll be careful.