New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is continuing his war of words with federal agencies, this time calling out the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for its new announcement on testing for COVID-19 and mandatory quarantines for some travelers.
The CDC reversed course this week, now saying that anyone who comes into close contact with a person with COVID-19 no longer needs to be tested, while also altering guidance on travel quarantines.
Instead of mandatory quarantines and testing, the CDC is now saying that it’s only recommending people get tested if they are considered high-risk for the virus or are instructed to get tested by a doctor.
"Either they are schizophrenic, or the CDC is admitting error in their first position, or it's just political dictation," Cuomo said. "I would urge people to follow the state guidance."
Cuomo said that despite the guidance from the CDC, New York will continue to adhere to its measures put into place that have kept the COVID-19 infection rate under 1 percent statewide for nearly three weeks.
“These will be indefensible actions in the light of history. Indefensible,” he said. “What possible rationale is there to say, ‘You're in close contact with a COVID positive person and you don't need a test.’ What plausible rationale?
“And this from the same CDC that already disgraced itself when they said there's no such thing as an asymptomatic spread and then totally reversed themselves,” Cuomo continued. “This is the same CDC that said the transmission is when a person who is symptomatic coughs or sneezes. And then did a full 180.”
According to Cuomo, who has touted "following science, not politics,” the “full 180” is a political move being guided by President Donald Trump and his administration.
He said that he has spoken to health experts from around the globe, none of whom said that the move makes any sense from a health point of view.
“The only plausible rationale is they want fewer people taking tests because, as the President has said, 'if we don't take tests you won't know that people are COVID-positive and the number of COVID-positive people will come down',” Cuomo said.
“Yes, that is true. That is his policy of ‘deny the problem.’ If you don't take your temperature, you won't know that you have a fever. Yes, that is true,” he added. “He now has CDC carrying forward his political agenda and it is frightening and it is alarming. And when you can politicize public health, (you’re) actually politicizing national security.”
Cuomo went on to compare Trump using the Department of Homeland Security to help “build the wall,” to what he’s doing with the CDC, calling it a “political operation.”
“They also did a 180 on the quarantine rule, where no they say you don't have to quarantine if you're coming in from a country that is a hotspot,” he said. “On what theory?
"Why would you reverse yourself on the quarantine order? Because they don't want the publicity that there is a COVID problem. Because the president's politics are that COVID isn't a problem, we're passed COVID and it's all about the economy.”
Howard Zucker, New York’s Health Commissioner echoed the words of Cuomo and other health experts, saying that “regarding the CDC situation, this is indefensible from a public health point of view and I have to say it makes absolutely no sense and I've spoken to the scientists at the CDC and they say it's political, so I concur with all you're saying that this is just indefensible.”
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