Cuomo and governors from 5 different states break from Trump to launch coronavirus ‘council’

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday gathered the Democratic governors of five neighboring states to form a coronavirus ‘council’ to tackle how to reopen the country in a direct insult to President Trump who earlier tweeted that it was his decision and his alone. 

Cuomo was joined on a televised conference call by the governors of New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Rhode Island where they revealed they were creating the first multi-state database in order to share information about the virus and help come up with reopening plan that would happen ‘within weeks’.  

A health official, economic official and the governor’s chief of staff from each state will work on the plan. They all sit along what one of the governors described as the ‘COVID corridor’ – the I-95 highway which runs along the east coast from Florida to Maine.

Massachusetts and Maryland, which both also sit along the I-95 but are not yet part of the council, have Republican governors. 

The governors gushed over one another and of Cuomo’s leadership both of New York and of the country throughout the pandemic. 

It was an unmistakable response to President Trump’s remarks that ‘it is the decision of the President’ when to reopen businesses. 

Cuomo, when asked about the president’s remarks, challenged him to produce a plan and said wryly that it was ‘interesting’ that the federal government shrugged the responsibility of shutting down the economy at the start of the crisis but wanted to be the authority to reopen it. 

Cuomo was joined on a televised conference call by the governors of New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Rhode Island where they revealed they were creating the first multi-state database in order to share information about the virus and help come up with reopening plan that would happen ‘within weeks’.

‘He left it to the states to close down and that was a state by state decision, without any guidance really. He took the position that it was a state’s decision and that the states were responsible for purchasing supplies. 

‘That was the model of management for this disaster emergency. 

‘If they want to change the model, they can change the model. He’s the President of the United States. He’s the federal government. 

‘Let him change the model. But change the model and explain it,’ he said. 

He went on to challenge Trump by listing all of the things he would have to consider and come up with answers for if he wanted to implement a reopening plan for all 50 states. 

‘Are you going to say when each state will open and should open? Are you going to set a formula that says when this jurisdiction has this infection rate it can reopen? This is what can be on public transit, this is what can be on the roads. 

‘Anyone that is on the roads has to follow these precautions..

‘Testing. States don’t have the capacity to test. It is not as simple as saying, “states should.” They can’t without the federal government. 

‘You want to change the management model? You can do it as president. But what’s the model? Let’s learn from the past. This was not smooth sailing, let’s be honest,’ he said.  

Later, when asked about whether he found Trump’s remarks frustrating, Cuomo said: ‘It’s not about an emotion. 

‘I just want clarity. It is an interesting construct that it wasn’t the fed responsibility to close the economy but it is to open the economy,’ he said. 








He said he invites ‘anyone in the northeast’ to join. 

All of the other five Democratic governors on the call gushed over Cuomo and his leadership. 

Gina Raimondo, the governor of Rhode Island, said: ‘Throughout the crisis, the governors are the ones who have been showing great leadership and taking action. 

‘I think it’s only appropriate that we take leadership now.’ 

Governor John Carney of Delaware said thanked Cuomo for his leadership ‘on a day to day basis under very difficult circumstances across the country’.  

Many have praised Cuomo as the voice of reason and stand-out leader throughout the coronavirus crisis across America. 

While deaths continue to rise in New York, the new death toll across the state is 10,056 – it is rising at a slower rate. On Sunday, there were 671 new deaths as opposed to more than 700, which was the figure over the last few days. 

The number of new cases across the state rose by another 6,129 to 195,031. 

There were 18,825 new hospitalizations on April 12 which was an increase of more than 100 from the previous day but when taken as a three-day average, shows the curve flattening.  

‘I believe the worst is over if we continue to be smart and we can start on the path to normalcy and we can have a plan when you start to see some businesses reopening understanding the balance.

‘We have to understand on the reopening, as much as we have this emotion that we want it to happen and that we can’t take this anymore, it is a delicate balance,’ Cuomo said.    

When asked if the pandemic peak had been and gone in New York, Cuomo clarified: ‘I’m not confident the worst is over. 

‘If you look at the numbers, the numbers suggest a plateauing. 

‘That’s what the numbers say I also say whatever those numbers say is a direct result of what we do,’ he said. 

He went on: ‘Facts are facts and numbers are numbers,’ and added that he would not ‘gloss’ or ‘sweeten’ any of the data he receives. 

While Cuomo said that some cities will be able to reopen to varying degrees, he does not believe the crisis will be completely over until a vaccine has been found which will take between 12 and 18 months. 

First, he said, people could ‘start on the path to normalcy’. 

‘[Then] there’ll be an announcement that we have a medical treatment that they found an antiviral medication that can treat the disease so take another deep breath when we get to that point, then we’ll get to the point where they announce we have a proven vaccine. 

‘That’s when it’s over. That’s really when it’s over. But there will be points between now and then when we should feel more confident. I want it to be over tomorrow. I get it. 

‘That’s not the reality so let’s calibrate our expectations and, in the meantime, stay the course,’ he said.  

Cuomo said his plan would not involve a ‘hallelujah’ or ‘epiphany’ that would let people suddenly get back to work and socialize again. 

Instead, he said he would look to widen the scope of what are deemed essential businesses to allow some workers back into their jobs, but that it would have to be done gradually and while monitoring the rate of new infections. 

‘People want it to be over so badly. It’s not going to be over like that. 

‘I’d love to say it’s going to happen. It’s not going to happen that way. It can’t happen that way. Is that going to happen here? 

‘Is that going to happen in any community that has a significant issue? There is going to be no epiphany. No morning where the headline says “hallelujah it’s over.” 

‘That’s not going to happen. That will happen is there’ll be points of resolution over time,’ he said.