New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Friday he needed federal government help to ramp up testing for the novel coronavirus and reopen his state’s economy, and accused President Donald Trump’s administration of failing to provide funding to states.
“Is there any funding so I can do these things that you want us to do? ‘No,'” Cuomo told a daily briefing on the coronavirus. “That is passing the buck without passing the bucks.”
The broadside came one day after Trump outlined guidelines for a phased reopening of the devastated U.S. economy, an effort that is expected to require mass testing for COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the virus.
Cuomo said New York, the epicenter of the country’s crisis, would need federal funding to significantly ramp up testing capacity and to fill a $10-$15 billion budget shortfall that is hampering the state’s ability to fund such efforts on its own.
“The federal government has passed three bills to address this crisis. Of those three bills the state governments have gotten precisely zero, zilch, nada in unrestricted aid,” Cuomo said.
“Okay, it’s up to the states, but then don’t ask the states, don’t give them this massive undertaking that has never been done before and then not give them any resources to do it.”
He said Trump should pay as much attention to the states as “your big businesses and your airlines.”
Responding to criticism from Trump about state requests for federal aid, Cuomo said: “If he is sitting home watching TV maybe he should get up and go to work.”
On Thursday, Cuomo extended the closure of businesses and schools in his state until at least May 15, but he has started to plan on a phased reopening that would hinge on keeping hospitalizations and other key metrics on a downward trend.
Cuomo said on Friday that a total of 17,316 people were hospitalized across New York because of COVID-19, down from 17,735 a day earlier and the lowest since April 5. Intubations and admissions to intensive care units also fell, he said.
Cuomo said that about 2,000 infected people were newly admitted to hospitals on Thursday, hovering at a high level, while the state recorded an additional 630 deaths, up from 606 deaths the previous day.