New York governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday slammed New York City mayor Bill de Blasio’s suggestion that the city may implement a “shelter in place” order mandating residents remain at home except for essential visits to grocery stores and other necessary trips, in the wake of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.
“Look at your words, ‘shelter in place,’ you know where that came from? That came from nuclear war,” Cuomo told reporters at a press conference. “What it said is people should go into an interior room of their home with no windows, stay there until they get the all clear sign. Now, that’s not what people really mean, but that’s what it sounds like.”
Cuomo has repeatedly rejected the idea that he would approve a quarantine or lockdown of New York City, and on Thursday he again said a lockdown was not on the table.
“Look, I would know, I would have to authorize those actions,” Cuomo said. “It’s not going to happen.”
Fear of the coronavirus is “as contagious or more contagious than the virus,” Cuomo continued. “Misinformation, emotion, fear, panic, [are] truly more dangerous than the virus.”
De Blasio had told New Yorkers earlier this week to prepare for a possible shelter in place order within 48 hours, and lamented the economic damage the pandemic could cause.
“In terms of the economic dislocation, I think it’s fair to say we are going to quickly surpass anything we saw in the Great Recession and the only measure or the only comparison will be the Great Depression,” de Blasio said.
Several top health officials in de Blasio’s administration reportedly threatened to resign if the mayor did not close the city’s public schools and implement other measures designed to counter the coronavirus outbreak.