Sweeping statewide quarantine orders may not have been the most effective strategy to combat the coronavirus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo conceded on Thursday, as he weighed plans to restart the economy.
“We closed everything down. That was our public health strategy,” said Cuomo during an Albany press briefing. “If you re-thought that or had time to analyze that public health strategy, I don’t know that you would say ‘Quarantine everyone.’”
It’s the third day in a row that Cuomo has publicly mused about quarantines and how best to eventually restart the Empire State’s shattered economy.
But Wednesday, Cuomo’s answer during an hour-long news conference about quarantines — which are backed by city and state health officials — took a new turn as he speculated it might have spread the disease.
“I don’t even know that that was the best public health policy. Young people then quarantined with older people, [it] was probably not the best public health strategy,” he said. “The younger people could have been exposing the older people to an infection.”
So far, New York has clocked 37,258 confirmed cases and 385 deaths from COVID-19.
Cuomo has frequently countered his quarantine remarks by criticizing President Trump’s push to get business reopened by Easter, warning the apex of the coronavirus pandemic in New York is still two to three weeks away.
“Why all of this? Because it’s 1 percent or 2 percent of the population. It’s lives, it’s grandmothers and grandfathers and sisters and brothers,” Cuomo said Tuesday, defending the lockdown. “And you start to see the cases on TV. It’s a 40-year-old woman who recovered from breast cancer but had a compromised immune system and four children at home. That’s what this is about. It’s about a vulnerable population.”
And he’s said that any restart would be conditioned upon the FDA approving tests that would allow doctors to determine if patients have immunity to the deadly disease.
“Younger people can go back to work. People who have resolved can go back to work,” Cuomo again said Wednesday. “People who — once we get this antibody test — show that they had the virus and they resolved can go back to work.
“That’s how I think you do it. … It’s not [that] we’re going to either do public health or we’re going to do economic development and restarting. We have to do both.”
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