New York is by far the hardest-hit location in the US in regards to the coronavirus.
As of March 29, 2020, there were some 53,000 cases in New York alone, a higher overall total than most countries, including Iran, France and the UK.
On Saturday, US President Donald Trump suggested that there might be an “enforceable” quarantine imposed on people who leave the New York metro area, including parts of New Jersey and Connecticut, in order to reduce the possibility of the virus spreading.
However, later that same day, Trump backed away from that proposal, instead calling for a “strong travel advisory” in those states, adding that “a quarantine will not be necessary.”
Trump reportedly made the decision after talking it over with members of the White House Task Force in charge of leading the government’s response to the crisis as well as the governors of the three states.
The advisory, channeled through the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “urges residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately,” adding that the governors of those states have “full discretion” of how the advisory would be implemented and enforced.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been critical of the White House’s response to the coronavirus in recent weeks, but has shown a willingness to work with the federal government to mitigate the crisis.
However, when asked to respond to Trump’s proposal of a quarantine, Cuomo made it clear that he thought it was a bad idea.
“It would be chaos and mayhem,” Cuomo said on Saturday. “It’s the totally opposite of everything [Trump’s] been saying. I don’t think it is plausible. I don’t think it is legal. This would be a federal declaration of war on states,” adding that “from a medical point of view, I don’t know what you would be accomplishing.”
In Wuhan, China, the initial epicenter of the coronavirus, Chinese authorities eventually implemented a quarantine of the city, stating that the measures successfully limited the spread of the virus to other parts of the country.
Other states take action
Although a quarantine of parts of the northeast looks unlikely in the near future, other states are taking measures to prevent the virus from spreading across state lines.
On Friday, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said there would be a mandatory 14-day quarantine for anybody entering the state.
Likewise, Florida’s Ron DeSantis announced that anyone coming into the state from Louisiana, an emerging virus hotspot, would have to be quarantined, and Rhode Island law enforcement officers are being told to pull over drivers with New York license plates to take down their information when entering the state.
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