NORFOLK, Va. (AP) (Update) President Donald Trump is backing away from calling for a quarantine for coronavirus hotspots in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Instead, Trump is directing that a “strong Travel Advisory” be issued to stem the spread of the outbreak. Trump raised the idea of a quarantine in a tweet earlier Saturday, but governors in the three states pushed back. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was particularly critical, telling CNN that roping off states would amount to “a federal declaration of war.” Cuomo also said he believes that such a quarantine would be illegal, economically catastrophic and “preposterous.”
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump is raising the idea of what he’s calling a quarantine involving New York and parts of New Jersey and Connecticut, states hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic. But Democratic Gov. Andrews Cuomo of New York says he “doesn’t even know what that means,” and says the subject never came up in a conversation he had with Trump earlier Saturday. Trump tells reporters at the White House that he had just spoken with some governors and the idea of a quarantine was discussed. Trump says it would be for a “short period of time if we do it at all.”
The federal government generally doesn’t not have the power to impose such restrictions on states. They have the power and responsibility for maintaining public order and safety. Trump made the comments on his way to Norfolk, Virginia, to see off a U.S. Navy medical ship en route to New York City to help with pandemic response there.
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President Trump said Saturday he is considering declaring an “enforceable” quarantine of the New York metropolitan area, possibly including New Jersey and Connecticut. He called the region a “hot spot” of the coronavirus outbreak sweeping the country.
Speaking to reporters on the White House South Lawn, Mr. Trump told reporters that he had spoken to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis about the pandemic. Mr. Trump said DeSantis, a Republican, told the president he wanted to stop the flow of New Yorkers who may be infected with COVID-19 virus into the state.
“We’d like to see New York quarantined because it’s a hotspot — New York, New Jersey, maybe one or two other places, certain parts of Connecticut quarantined. I’m thinking about that right now,” Mr. Trump said. “We might not have to do it but there’s a possibility that sometime today we’ll do a quarantine — short-term two weeks for New York, probably New Jersey and parts of Connecticut.”
There are now more than 112,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States and over 640,000 worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. President Trump on Friday signed a massive $2 trillion stimulus package for American workers and businesses in response to the crisis.
States across the nation are seeing a surge in cases, and things are expected to get worse. New York could be just weeks away from reaching its peak in hospitalizations, and California Governor Gavin Newsom said his state’s cases grew 26% in one day, even with 65,000 test results pending.
“We are now seeing the spike that we were anticipating,” Newsom said Friday as he stood in front of Mercy, a 1,000-bed Navy hospital ship that arrived in the Port of Los Angeles.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards warned this week that if his state doesn’t start flattening its curve, New Orleans could run out of key medical supplies by early April.
Globally, the virus has killed more than 29,000 people, including over 1,800 in the United States. More than 137,000 people have recovered.
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