On Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave remarks on the updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that say people do not necessarily need to get tested for COVID-19 after coming in contact with people who have tested positive.
A rush transcript of the governor's remarks is available below:
“Talking about the hyperpolitical nature of this administration; the CDC put out new guidance that really strains credulity. The CDC on Monday changed the guidance to say if you have been in close contact with a person who was infected with COVID, you do not need to get a test. OK? This reversed their previous guidance, which was if you were in close contact with a COVID-positive person, you needed to get a test. They reversed their own guidance: If you are in close contact with a person, you don't need to get a test.
“I've spoken to health experts from around the globe. None of them will say that this 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. 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. But it totally violates public health standards and rationale and just fosters his failed policy of denial – ‘COVID's not a problem. It's going to be gone when the weather gets warm. It's going to be gone by Easter. There's only a COVID problem because we take tests.’
“He now has CDC carrying forward his political agenda and it is frightening and it is alarming. And when you can politicize public health, which is actually politicizing national security. Now, he's consistent in his politics over government, because he is politicizing national security when he nominates Chad Wolf to be the head of the Department of Homeland Security who was just a political operative. The Department of Homeland Security is what the president uses to build his wall, to put children in cages – that's all done by the Department of Homeland Security. So, he made the Department of Homeland Security a political operation and now he's making the CDC a political operation. It is frightening. It should be frightening. This is the same CDC that was supposed to guard public health. And was supposed to track the virus that was in China last December. It's the same CDC that showed that they either lied to the American people or they're incompetent, because they didn't track the virus in China. And they didn't track the virus leaving China and going to Europe in January, February, March. And that's why New York was ambushed.
“That is a fact. It's not a political statement, it's not hyperbolic, it's not rhetorical – it's a fact. And that's why New York had the number of cases it had. Because the flights from Europe came here. It's not the China virus. It's the European virus, because it came here from Europe. And the CDC either totally missed it or they were ordered not to speak about it. And this just evidences once again political control over what is supposed to be a public health organization.
“The history books are going to record this. Shame on the people in the CDC. These will be indefensible actions in the light of history. Indefensible. 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 asymptomatic spread and then totally reversed themselves. 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 and said, ‘Whoops; they can also transfer it if they're asymptomatic.’ When, by the way, doctors around the world were already saying that. And how do they rationalize their position where you can have asymptomatic spread by now saying you don't even have to have a test? 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. On what theory? Why would you reverse yourself on the quarantine order? Because they don't want 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. ‘The economy is doing great and we're going to focus (on the) economy.’ And that's his reelection strategy. So, he's using the CDC as a campaign, rhetorical device. This is all his political/public relations.
Dr. Howard Zucker added, “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.”
Cuomo also said, “Today is day 179. New York did 71,000 tests yesterday and it's continued good news for New Yorkers who are continuing to act smart and united and disciplined. .79% is the infection rate. …
“We still have a caution flag for Western New York, which is at 1.4% today. It's better than it was, but not where it should be, so we're focusing on Western New York and we'll continue to do that.”