New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) dismissed calls Tuesday from President Donald Trump, Republican lawmakers and some conservative pundits for the United States to end its social distancing measures in an effort to spur the economy.
Several states have issued stay-at-home orders, mandated business closures and suspended large public gatherings since the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic. During a Tuesday press conference, Cuomo decried Trump and his conservative allies who, in recent days, have argued the financial costs of these protective measures are too great.
“My mother is not expendable. And your mother is not expendable. And our brothers and sisters are not expendable. We’re not going to accept a premise that human life is disposable,” Cuomo said. “We’re not going to put a dollar figure on human life.”
Several reports have said Trump’s concerns about the economy ― rooted in concern about being reelected in November ― inspired his dismissal of the virus and the disease it causes, COVID-19, throughout the early stages of the outbreak in January. Trump reportedly views a strong economy as his most likely route to victory.
As recently as February, Trump referred to the coronavirus as a “hoax” designed by Democrats, and he has repeatedly downplayed its threat to Americans. As the number of reported cases has risen throughout the country, the Trump administration has tried to coordinate a belated federal response to supplement individual state efforts.
Cuomo said Tuesday that New York is in need of 30,000 more ventilators as it prepares for the peak of the crisis in the next two weeks.
“Where are they? Where are the ventilators?” Cuomo said, after calling on Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to release a federal stockpile.
- Coronavirus live updates: Tokyo Olympics delayed; UK begins lockdown
- Why lifting coronavirus restrictions could kill millions
- The world is facing a crucial test this week in flattening the curve
- European governments are taking these unprecedented steps to save jobs
- How to make a face mask that is effective against coronavirus
- How to grocery shop for a quarantine
- How to disinfect your food and your kitchen
- The HuffPost guide to working from home
- What coronavirus questions are on your mind right now? We want to help you find answers.