New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Monday referred to the Chinese-origin coronavirus as the “European virus” during his daily press conference on his state’s efforts to combat the ongoing pandemic.
Cuomo made the remark as he vowed to defeat the deadly virus that has infected over 335,000 New York residents and killed 21,478, according to data tracked by Johns Hopkins University.
“If you look at what we’ve done, New York cases are on the decline,” Cuomo said. “You look at the rest of the nation, outside of New York, the cases are still on the incline. We took the worst situation in the nation and changed the trajectory.”
“If you had said when we started this, yes we had more cases than anyone else, yes, we had the European virus attack us and nobody expected it, but we’re not only going to change our trajectory, but we’re going to change the trajectory more dramatically than anyplace else in the nation,” he added.
The New York governor’s misnomer was first noted by journalist Jordan Schachtel.
In late April, Cuomo said coronavirus came to New York from Europe — not Wuhan, China, citing recently-published research.
“The virus that came to New York did not come from China. It came from Europe,” Cuomo began as he explained new research tracing the early spread of coronavirus. The research, conducted by NYU Langone Health, found roughly 13,000 flights landed in New York and New Jersey from Europe between January and March, carrying at least 2.2 million people.
“We closed the front door with the China travel ban, which was right, but we left the back door open,” he said, referring to President Donald Trump’s travel ban on Europe on March 12.
Cuomo’s Monday comments also came as he announced that several update regions will begin reopening May 15th.
The “Pause” declaration, which closed all non-essential businesses, will expire on Friday and it will be replaced by a system in which officials in 10 New York regions will make reopening decisions based on health criteria.
“A new chapter starts today,” he said. “This is the next big step of this historic journey.
“We’re on the other side of the mountain. It’s an exciting new phase we’re all anxious to get back to work.”
Several of New York’s upstate regions, including the Finger Lakes region around Rochester, will partly reopen this weekend. The relaxation will allow for limited amounts of manufacturing, construction and curbside retail. Recreational outdoor activities and low-risk business like landscaping, gardening and drive-in movie theaters will also be allowed.
The UPI contributed to this report.