ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo blasted guidance recently altered by the Centers for Disease Control Wednesday, calling the federal agency’s policy changes “shameful” and “schizophrenic.”
On Monday, the CDC altered previous guidance saying it is no longer mandatory to require individuals to get a coronavirus test even if they’ve been in close contact with a person who has tested positive for the virus.
The new recommendations still encourage individuals to “consider” getting a COVID-19 test if they have been within six feet of a person who has tested positive for the virus.
“The CDC put out new guidance that really strains credulity,” the third-term Democrat explained to reporters during a Monday conference call.
“The only plausible rationale is they want fewer people taking tests because, as the President has said, if we don’t take tests you won’t know that people are COVID-positive and the number of COVID-positive people will come down. Yes, that is true. That is his policy of ‘deny the problem,’” he charged.
Cuomo has consistently touted New York’s own robust testing capacity.
The state completed around 71,000 tests as of Tuesday, recording a .79 percent positive infection rate in total.
The statewide infection rate has also been below one percent for 19 straight days.
New York has been hit with the most deaths in the United States — over 32,000 confirmed and presumed deaths according to Johns Hopkins University.
“The history books are going to record this. Shame on the people in the CDC. These will be indefensible actions in the light of history. Indefensible. What possible rationale is there to say, “You’re in close contact with a COVID positive person and you don’t need a test.” What plausible rationale?” he seethed.
Another reporter asked Cuomo if the plans on following another set of recently edited CDC guidance saying a two-week quarantine for travelers flying from high infection states no longer need to isolate.
“We’re not gonna follow the CDC guidance, I consider it political propaganda,” the governor declared, backing up his rule requiring individuals flying or driving into New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to self-isolate for 14 days.
“I would caution private companies against following the CDC guidance. I think it is wholly indefensible on its face, I think it is inherently self contradictory. It is the exact opposite of what the CDC has been saying.”
“So either the CDC is schizophrenic or they’re admitting error in their first position, or this is just political dictation. In any of those events, I would urge people not to follow the CDC guidance, I’d urge them to follow the state guidance,” he added.
Cuomo has admitted he too has made mistakes handling the pandemic, chiefly that he didn’t issue a mandatory mask order earlier.
He has also walked back nursing home policy previously defended as a product of CDC replication, nursing home policy, defending a controversial March 25 order barring long term care facilities from denying patients based on their COVID-19 positive test results.
This order was changed in early May.