In the wake of criticism, President Trump has walked back his comments about a potential quarantine of New York and the “Tristate area,” which included New Jersey and Connecticut.
Of course, the most verbal critics of the possible measure was New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo said on Saturday that he does not believe that the president has the authority to impose such a quarantine.
After Cuomo likened the quarantine to something akin to “a civil war,” Trump wrote in a series of tweets that “A quarantine will not be necessary,” reasoning that a “travel advisory” would suffice.
Said advisory was posted, with little fanfare, on the CDC website. “The CDC urges residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately,” it said.
The advisory stated it does not apply to such critical industries as trucking, public health, banking and food supply.
Trump had said that he was considering imposing an “enforced” two-week quarantine and travel ban on New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut in hopes of protecting the rest of the nation from the epicenter of the outbreak.
“We’d like to see New York quarantined because it’s a hot spot,” he said in a surprise announcement that blindsided Cuomo — who ripped the idea as “a Civil War kind of discussion.”
“This would be a declaration of war on states,” the governor said on CNN. “If you start walling off areas all across the country, it would just be totally bizarre, counter-productive, anti-America, anti-social,” he said.
Adding that, “We would be Wuhan, China, and that doesn’t make any sense.”
An unnamed City Hall spokesperson said, “We don’t have any details and aren’t sure what the president means by his comment…”
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said they, too, had not been consulted by the White House.
“Confusion leads to panic,” Lamont said.
The potential ring-around-the-epicenter had loomed as the pandemic’s toll continued its alarming rise.
Data released over the weekend showed the death rate from the coronavirus sharply accelerating in the Big Apple, with one person dying every six minutes.
More than 700 are dead statewide, and more than 1,700 are on ventilators, the vast majority in city ICUs.
As of this writing, the United States remained the pandemic’s hardest-hit country, with more than 119,000 cases and some 2,000 deaths.