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Cuomo blames Trump for 'every death in New York' from COVID-19

"He is the super-spreader that brought the virus to America," the New York governor said of Trump.

Updated: October 21, 2020 - 6:49pm

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday called President Trump a "super-spreader" and said he is "responsible for every death in New York state" from COVID-19.

The Democrat, whose handling of the pandemic has been heavily criticized, blasted the president for saying shortly after the virus arrived in the U.S. that it would be gone by Easter.

"I hold Donald Trump responsible for every death in New York state from Covid, because Trump lied," Cuomo said in a conference call with reporters.

"New York state had that big burst because it came from Europe and not China, and they never did a European travel ban because he was lying to the American people," Cuomo said. "He is the super-spreader that brought the virus to America."

Cuomo referred to Trump as "patient zero" and called him the top "super-spreader." The governor pointed to Trump's White House Rose Garden ceremony in September to announce his nomination of Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court, after which several staffers and attendees contracted the virus.

The White House responded quickly.

"Governor Cuomo failed to protect innocent New Yorkers from COVID-19 as he recklessly forced positive individuals into his state's nursing homes all while writing a self-promotional book," said White House spokeswoman Sarah Matthews. "His revisionist history cannot erase his grossly incompetent decisions or the fact that President Trump took bold, aggressive actions that saved lives in New York and every state across the country."

Trump made New York a priority in receiving ventilators to help virus patients when they were in short supply when the pandemic began and sent a military hospital ship to New York City to help hospitals with overflow cases.

Cuomo was criticized for his handling of COVID-19 in nursing homes. In March, Cuomo ordered nursing homes to accept people even if they tested positive for the virus. March 25 guidance from the state health department to nursing home administrators, directors of nursing, and hospital discharge planners directed:

"No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the NH solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19. NHs are prohibited from requiring a hospitalized resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission.

That order, which sent "6,300 infected people to nursing homes during the crisis," the Associated Press reported, "has been blamed in part for the higher death rate in New York.”

On May 11, Cuomo reversed the March 25 order that forced nursing homes to accept patients who tested positive for coronavirus despite testing deficiencies for both residents and staff.

The Justice Department in August said more than 6,500 nursing home residents in New York died of the virus, according to state data of presumed and confirmed cases.