Nine months ago, residents of New York learned that the coronavirus was conveyed by commercial jets from Europe and Asia.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday pleaded with federal officials to require travelers from the United Kingdom to test negative for the coronavirus before boarding a plane for the United States, demanding U.S. Health and Human Services Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention leaders “do their job.”
After going through this once, imagine the outrage and the worry you would go through knowing that these agencies of the federal government would again fail to contain a stronger, more infectious cousin of a disease that shut down the world and killed more than 300,000 Americans.
There is no doubt New Yorkers deserve better than this from the people we’ve trusted literally to keep us alive. Why would they dare to put people’s lives at risk? What is happening here? Did common sense leave government? Cuomo demanded three British airliners test the travelers from the U.K. before they got on a plane and arrived in the United States. We make the same demand.
Cuomo blasted HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield on Wednesday for failing to act and enforce the same mandate in the United States. Redfield and Azar are part of President Donald Trump’s administration, but Cuomo rightly said politics should not impact government action because November’s presidential election is over.
All New York state is asking for is to test travelers before they come. We’re not asking for an outright ban on travel. HHS and the CDC have not acted on this. This is totally unacceptable. Doing nothing when you know the virus is coming here is totally unacceptable.
After all, if a new, more powerful contagion emerges from this, it could spread faster than wildfire. It’s a bullet we may not be able to dodge. Nine months after the first infestation of COVID-19, more action is needed so we can fully recover. More action is needed so New Yorkers can feel confident that the same crisis won’t repeat with new and more formidable results.