(The Center Square) – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo blasted the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, calling on the Trump Administration to “tell the truth” about COVID-19. His remarks during a news briefing Monday came as the country reported more than 40,000 new cases for the fourth straight day.
Cuomo also called on President Donald Trump to sign an executive order mandating the use of face masks in public and to show leadership by starting to wear one himself. The governor cited the state’s mask policy as a primary reason why the number of cases continues to drop there while case numbers increase elsewhere.
“All the political nonsense we heard, now they're doing a 180 and you have the same states now wearing masks,” Cuomo told reporters. “Let the president have the same sense and do that as an executive order, and then let the president lead by example and let the president put a mask on it, because we know it works.”
While the COVID-19 numbers continue to look good for New York, Cuomo said Monday there are a couple of complications with New York City as officials try to move the metropolis into phase three of the state’s COVID-19 reopening plan.
The city is eligible to go into the next phase next Monday. However, Cuomo said a lack of social distancing is an issue and that city leaders need to step up enforcement.
“You can see it if you walk down the street,” he said. “You can see the crowds in front of bars. You can see the crowds on street corners. It is undeniable.”
The other problem isn’t tied to New York but to the rest of the country. Cuomo said he wants to avoid what happened earlier in the year when millions of European visitors arrived in New York to help lay the foundation for what would become the biggest COVID-19 hot spot in the United States.
“We don't want to climb this mountain again,” said Cuomo as he unveiled a display showing the state’s daily COVID-19 caseload in the image of a mountain. It showed a steep rise to the peak which occurred six weeks into the emergency before gradually and consistently declining over the next 10 weeks.
To avoid another jump, Cuomo said the state may hold off on allowing New York City restaurants to open indoor seating during the first part of phase three. Under the state’s guidelines, phase three currently allows restaurants to open inside dining at half capacity.
However, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio earlier Monday morning said his office had some concerns after seeing a number of states experience increased cases tied to restaurant visits. He cited a restaurant in Michigan where 85 people tested positive after visiting.
Later in the day, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced he was holding off on allowing indoor dining citing concerns about increased caseloads elsewhere.
Cuomo said a decision on the issue would come by Wednesday.