Virus Outbreak Trump

President Donald Trump

(The Center Square) – President Donald Trump said Saturday that he is considering quarantining New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut from the rest of the nation to try to prevent the spread of the coronavirus from those three states.

"We're thinking about certain things. Some people would like to see New York quarantined because it's a hotspot," Trump told reporters Saturday as he departed the White House. "We might not have to do it, but there's a possibility that sometime today we'll do a quarantine, short-term, two weeks on New York. Probably New Jersey, certain parts of Connecticut."

Upon hearing that, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo dismissed the idea as impractical and unenforceable.

“I don’t even know what that means,” Cuomo said during his daily briefing on the outbreak. “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. ... I don’t like the sound of it.”

The governor said that when he spoke to the president late Saturday morning, immediately before the start of the briefing, the topic hadn’t come up. Instead, their conversation had focused exclusively on the approval of more temporary hospital sites and plans for a U.S. Navy medical ship to come to New York.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy also told reporters at his daily press conference Saturday that he had a conversation with Trump but a quarantine was not mentioned.

"I literally saw the story as I was walking into the room," Murphy said. "There's no question the greater New York area is the number one hot spot in America right now. It's not the only hotspot, but it's the number one in terms of number of cases, and until we are further notified we are going to keep doing exactly what we are doing because we believe the data and the facts are on our side."

Trump was on his way to Norfolk, Virginia, for a send-off ceremony for the vessel when he told reporters about the quarantine idea.

Regional Editor

Dave Lemery is a veteran journalist with more than 20 years of experience. He was the editor of Suburban Life Media when its flagship newspaper was named best weekly in Illinois, and he has worked at papers in South Carolina, Indiana, Idaho and New York.