New York's Cuomo pleads with Trump to acknowledge COVID-19 as 'major problem'

by Reuters
Monday, 6 July 2020 17:02 GMT

(Recasts to lead with Cuomo's comments on Trump, adds background)

July 6 (Reuters) - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday called on President Donald Trump to not be a "co-conspirator" of the coronavirus and acknowledge the "major problem" it poses as cases spiked in dozens of states after some rushed to reopen.

The number of U.S. coronavirus deaths exceeded 130,000 on Monday, following a massive surge of new cases that has put Trump's handling of the crisis under the microscope and derailed efforts to restart the economy.

"So, Mr. President, don't be a co-conspirator of COVID," Cuomo said at a news briefing. "Acknowledge to the American people that COVID exists, it is a major problem, it's going to continue until we admit it and each of us stands up to do our part."

Cuomo said Trump was "enabling" the virus if he failed to acknowledge the severity of the situation, and slammed the president's comments that the spike in U.S. cases was due to increased testing.

"He makes up facts. He makes up science," Cuomo said, citing several past Trump statements on the virus such it would disappear like a miracle as the weather got warmer.

"He said all those things, none of them were true," Cuomo continued. "And now we have a problem in 38 states because some people believe him."

Cuomo said coronavirus hospitalizations in New York dropped to 817 - the lowest since March 18 - and nine people died from COVID-19 on Sunday.

"The numbers have actually declined since we started reopening," Cuomo said.

Cuomo warned about complacency now that the worst seemed to be over in New York, pointing to reports of some July Fourth celebrations, including in Manhattan and on Fire Island and upstate, where revelers ignored social distancing and face covering rules.

"That curve was purely a function of what we did," Cuomo said. "If we change what we're doing, you're going to change the trajectory of the virus." (Reporting by Maria Caspani in New York, Editing by Franklin Paul and Bill Berkrot)

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