NEW YORK — U.S. President Donald Trump is doing the public a disservice by downplaying the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo said during a press conference held here on Tuesday.
“(Over) 210,000 people died (in the United States). More people died in this country than countries around the world who were doing much worse than we were. … From a public service point of view, ‘Don’t be afraid of COVID?’ No, be afraid of COVID. It can kill you. Don’t be cavalier,” said Cuomo.
The governor was responding to Trump’s tweet on Monday afternoon when he was about to leave hospital for White House. “Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life,” he tweeted.
While wishing Trump and his wife well, Cuomo fiercely criticized the president’s attitude toward the pandemic, saying that “I think the president has an opportunity that he is missing and I think he has an opportunity to do a public service and I think he’s right now doing the public a disservice.”
The president “is not analogous to the average person in this country.” If the average person gets COVID-19, they don’t get flown by helicopter to Walter Reed Medical Center, nor can they access the same high-level medical care as the president has had, said the governor.
He also accused the White House and the president of causing confusion about the facts and situation of the pandemic in the country.
“That confusion cost this nation many unnecessary lives and expense and pain and hardship,” he added.
“Denial doesn’t work … Acknowledge the problem: it’s a frightening virus. Be smart, be careful. Don’t hide under your bed,” he added.
According to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. coronavirus death toll stood at 210,716 as of Tuesday evening, and the number of confirmed cases almost reached 7.5 million.