Cuomo Slams White House Stance on Controlling Virus Spread: ‘They Surrendered'

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said the country's federal response cannot control the pandemic

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the Trump administration has surrendered to the pandemic after comments made by the president's chief of staff suggest fewer efforts should be pursued to curb the spread of the virus as the country reports record numbers entering a third peak of its spread.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Sunday morning on CNN that the country's federal response cannot control the pandemic and should be focusing efforts on vaccine and other treatment solutions.

"What we need to do is make sure that we have the proper mitigation factors, whether it's therapies or vaccines or treatments, to make sure people don't die from this," Meadows said on CNN before getting into a back-and-forth with Jake Tapper over calls to "quarantine all of America."

Rather than focusing efforts and resources to try and control the spread of COVID-19, Meadows says the administration is prioritizing finding effective therapeutics and vaccines.

The comments from Trump's chief of staff follow back-to-back record-breaking daily coronavirus numbers, with over 80,000 new cases of the virus reported Friday and Saturday.

On a teleconference call with reporters on Sunday, Cuomo said the stance from the administration encapsulates their handling of the pandemic from its start.

"They have believed from the beginning that they can't control the virus, that's the only rational that explains the denial and the lying. If you believed you could control it, then you try to control it. If you don't believe you can control it, then you lie about it, deny it and minimize it," Cuomo said. "Meadows spoke the truth today, as to their opinion."

The New York governor pointed to progress made by his own state, which has maintained low infection rates for months after accounting for the country's largest numbers of cases and virus-related deaths in the spring. Cuomo countered Meadows's point, saying that "flattening the curve," which New York did in June, is a way to control the spread of the virus.

"They surrendered without firing a shot. It was the great American surrender," Cuomo said of the federal government's response.

In New York, the state reported 1,632 new cases of the virus, down a few hundred from 2,061 reported on Saturday. Both New York and New Jersey posted daily totals on Saturday that hovered around 2,000, totals not seen in each state since May.

The average positivity rate in the realigned micro-cluster zones was 3.18 percent as of Saturday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, while the rate outside those areas hovers just above one percent. Total hospitalizations ticked down to 1,015, a 30-person decline from the previous day. The daily death toll was once again in the double digits, albeit the low ones (12), continuing the trend of recent weeks.

"To give you an idea of the progress we've made with New York's micro-clusters, the positivity rates in Brooklyn, Rockland and Orange Counties are all down this week," Cuomo said Sunday. "That is great news. It says the focus works, and it says we can get the positivity under control. As we saw in Queens this past week, we get the numbers down and we then open up the areas."

More reopenings in New York are expected next week as more than 100 public schools resume in-person learning on Monday, following Cuomo's lift of restrictions in certain cluster zone areas.

Copyright NBC New York
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