Gov. Cuomo questions comprehensive lockdown strategy

By Art Moore

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (New York state website)

New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose handling of the coronavirus has been in the national spotlight, is questioning the unprecedented policy of quarantining the entire population to combat the pandemic.

Echoing President Trump’s emphasis on restarting the economy, Cuomo expressed doubt for a third straight day during his daily briefing Thursday about the comprehensive lockdown strategy, the New York Post reported.

“We closed everything down. That was our public health strategy,” Cuomo said. “If you re-thought that or had time to analyze that public health strategy, I don’t know that you would say, ‘Quarantine everyone.'”

On Wednesday, he said the shelter-in-place policy may be backfiring by confining vulnerable older people with younger family members.

“I don’t even know that that was the best public health policy. Young people then quarantined with older people, [it] was probably not the best public health strategy,” he said. “The younger people could have been exposing the older people to an infection.”

The Post reported Cuomo’s office said the governor’s remarks were based on a study by Yale professor David Katz espousing a theory of “risk stratification.”

Katz advises isolating only the vulnerable people rather than everyone.

Cuomo cited Katz at his Monday briefing in Albany.

“And if you isolate all people, you may be actually exposing the more vulnerable people by bringing in a person who is healthier and stronger and who may have been exposed to the virus, right,” the governor said.

‘County by county’

Cuomo, nevertheless, has pushed back against Trump’s desire to restore commerce and public life by Easter, arguing the apex of the pandemic in New York is still two to three weeks away.

But the White House told governors in a letter Thursday it will provide them with health data “on a county by county basis” as guidance, urging them to make the best decisions for their states.

Vice President Mike Pence, in an interview Friday with the Fox Business Network, said new guidance will be issued next week, when the current “15 Days to Slow the Spread” is scheduled for review.

“There’s going to be areas of the country where we have to support our governors and mitigation efforts have to stay very strong and in some cases even become stronger,” he told host Stuart Varney.

“But for much of the country, where the outbreak is very limited, the president is anxious to give guidance based on the data to our governors,” the vice president said, “so that they can decide — whether it be reopening businesses or reopening schools — about the best way to open our country up again.”

On the New York state website, a message at the top of the home page says: “Governor Cuomo has put NY State on PAUSE: All non-essential workers are directed to work from home, and everyone is required to maintain a 6-foot distance from others in public.”

See Vice President Mike Pence’s FBN interview Friday:

‘We have to do both’

Cuomo said Wednesday that any “restart” of commerce “would be conditioned upon the FDA approving tests that would allow doctors to determine if patients have immunity to the deadly disease.”

“Younger people can go back to work. People who have resolved can go back to work,” he said. “People who — once we get this antibody test — show that they had the virus and they resolved can go back to work.

“That’s how I think you do it. … It’s not [that] we’re going to either do public health or we’re going to do economic development and restarting. We have to do both.”

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