ALBANY, N.Y. – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he had not spoken about a potential quarantine on New York when he spoke with President Donald Trump on Saturday morning.
“I haven’t had those conversations. I don’t even know what that means,” Cuomo told reporters during his daily briefing at the state Capitol.
Trump said Saturday he is considering imposing an “enforceable” quarantine on New York and parts of New Jersey and Connecticut, areas hard-hit by the coronavirus.
Asked more about Trump’s comments, Cuomo reiterated, “I don’t even know what means. I don’t know how that could be legally enforceable. And from a medical point of view, I don’t know what you would be accomplishing. But I can tell you I don’t even like the sound of it; not even understanding what it is.”
– Joseph Spector
Trump sends off naval hospital ship USNS Comfort
Speaking from a pier at Naval Station Norfolk on Saturday, President Donald Trump called the USNS Comfort “a 70,000-ton message of hope and solidarity to the incredible people of New York.”
The president and Defense Secretary Mark Esper were in Norfolk as part of a send-off for the Comfort, which is going to New York City to help the city combat coronavirus.
“We’re here for you, we’re fighting for you, and we always will be,” Trump said.
Trump said the naval hospital ship is equipped has 12 operating rooms, 1,000 hospital beds, a pharmacy, an optometry lab, radiology, CAT-scan equipment, two oxygen-producing plants and a helicopter deck. “It’s stocked to the brim with equipment, medicines and everything you can think of,” he said.
Coronavrius patients won’t be treated on the ship, Trump said. Instead, it will be used to treat New Yorkers who don’t have the virus but still require urgent care.
“By serving these emergency patients away from the hospital, beds will be opened up all over the city for those who are infected,” Trump said.
“We will stop at nothing to protect the people of New York,” he said.
Trump said the nation is engaged in a war against “a horrible, invisible enemy.”
But, “through it all, the world has witnessed the unyielding resolve of our American people,” he said. “We are a nation of colossal strength.”
“We will win this war, and we will win this war quickly – with as little death as possible,” he said.
After completing his brief remarks, Trump and Esper turned to face the massive hospital ship and then waved as it sounded its horn and pushed off from the pier. A tug boat pushed the ship toward the open sea.
The ship is scheduled to arrive in New York Harbor on Monday and begin treating patients the next day.
– Michael Collins
Esper: hospital ship is a symbol of ‘medical care and compassion’
President Donald Trump and Defense Secretary Mark Esper gave a send-off to the USNS Comfort, a naval hospital ship set to travel to New York City to help the city battle the coronavirus outbreak.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper called the Comfort “one of our most powerful symbols medical care and compassion.”
– Michael Collins
Trump says he may impose quarantines on NY, parts of Conn. and NJ
President Donald Trump said Saturday he is considering imposing a two-week quarantine on New York and parts of New Jersey and Connecticut to deal with the rapid spread of the coronavirus.
“Some people would like to see New York quarantined because it’s a hot spot,” Trump told reporters from the White House South Lawn as he departed for Norfolk, Va. “I’m thinking about that right now. We might not have to do it, but there’s a possibility that sometime today we’ll do a quarantine.”
Trump said he planned to speak to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo later Saturday. He said a quarantine would be “enforceable” if he decides to order one but that he has no plans to close New York City’s subway system.
A quarantine decision “will be made, one way or another, shortly,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Trump’s remarks come as a handful of states have put in place precautions for New Yorkers traveling to their areas.
Governors in Texas, Florida, Maryland and South Carolina this week ordered people arriving from the New York area – including New Jersey and Connecticut – and other virus hot spots to self-quarantine for at least 14 days upon arrival. Rhode Island State Police on Friday began pulling over drivers with New York plates so that National Guard officials can collect contact information and inform them of a mandatory, 14-day quarantine.
Meanwhile, Trump is traveling to Norfolk on Saturday to give a ceremonial send-off to a naval hospital ship departing for New York City to assist with the city’s coronavrius response.
The USNS Comfort is equipped with 1,000 hospital beds and will carry more than 1,200 medical personnel and supplies to New York, which has become the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. As of Friday, the state reported 46,094 confirmed cases of the deadly virus, nearly half of all cases reported in the U.S.
The doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, x-ray technicians, orderlies and other medical staff aboard the vessel will support New York City’s medical community and conserve hospital capacity by treating some coronavirus patients aboard the ship, the White House said.
The ship had been in maintenance and was not scheduled to leave for New York Harbor for another three weeks, but officials pushed up its departure date because of the rapid spread of the virus. It’s scheduled to arrive in New York on Monday.
Trump will give remarks before the ship’s departure from Naval Station Norfolk.
“I’ll kiss it goodbye,” he joked at a White House briefing on Thursday.
The 150-mile trip to Norfolk is Trump’s first outside of Washington since March 9 and has raised questions because it comes as his administration has advised other Americans to practice “social distancing” and to refrain from travel. But the 73-year-old president defended his decision to go to Norfolk, telling reporters at the White House on Friday that he thought it was important to send a message to the country.
“It’s right down the road, practically. Right?” he said. “It doesn’t mean I’m going to be hugging people, and it doesn’t mean that I’m going to be shaking people’s hands and everything. But I think it sends a signal when the president is able to go there and say thank you.”
Also Friday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a grim warning about what lies ahead for the city, saying that medical personnel already are working in what he described as “battlefield type conditions.”
“We’re going to need help from the outside to get through the sheer magnitude of the crisis ahead,” he said. “People need to be ready for battle.”
The USNS Mercy, another naval hospital ship, arrived Friday in Los Angeles to help in the city’s response to the global pandemic.
The U.S. on Friday became the first country to record 100,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
New York primary postponed from April to June
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday that he’s postponing the state’s presidential primary.
The primary originally set for April 28 has moved to June 23. It now corresponds with state and congressional primaries.
“I don’t think it’s wise to be bringing a lot of people to one location to vote,” Cuomo said during a press conference.
New York currently has the largest amount of coronavirus cases across the nation. At least a dozen states have postponed their elections due to the coronavirus pandemic.
– Rebecca Morin
Coronavirus spread:US coronavirus map: Tracking the outbreak