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White House Tells Everyone Who Recently Left NYC to Self-Quarantine for 14 Days

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White House Tells Everyone Who Recently Left NYC to Self-Quarantine for 14 Days

2020-03-25 11:33:041 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Mike Pence (Image source: (Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons)

New York City seems to have moved from a coronavirus cluster to an epicenter. While Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other officials are dealing with the health emergency, White House officials announced that anyone leaving the New York City metropolitan area to self-isolate for 14 days, noting that Donald Trump has referred to the area as a "hot spot" for the COVID-19 pandemic.

The situation in New York has snowballed in just a few weeks. A New Rochelle man dropped the virus around to his family, work, and synagogue, leading to a containment area closing around him. But the virus quickly spread to unimaginable levels. 

Cuomo said that COVID-19 cases have been doubling approximately every three days in New York, passing 25,000 by  Tuesday. This left more than 3,000 infected individuals needing to be hospitalized. It's estimated the state will need 140,000 hospital beds in two to three weeks.

Social distancing is tough in New York City. With 8.4 million people who call it home, it makes it the densest major city in the United States. 

"For anyone in the New York metropolitan area who has traveled, our task force is encouraging you to monitor your temperature, be sensitive to symptoms," advised Vice President Mike Pence, the chair of the coronavirus task force, during a press briefing. "And we are asking anyone who has traveled out of the New York City metropolitan area to anywhere else in the country to self-isolate for 14 days."

He was joined by task force coordinator Deborah Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci, another member of the task force and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. They said this cautionary step was necessary because of the high rate of infections in NYC. 

Birx also advised that the 14 days should begin the day the individual left New York, adding that with cases already showing in Long Island, it suggests these infected individuals left the city. Of course, for people who have already left, they have already infected many others. Isolation should have started before they left.

"It's a very serious situation, and they have suffered terribly through no fault of their own, but what we are seeing now is that understandably, people want to get out of New York," explained Fauci. "They're going to Florida. They're going to Long Island. They're going to different places." He added that about one in 1000 people are infected, and he finds that statistic "disturbing." 

"That's about eight to 10 times more than in other areas, which means when they go to another place, for their own safety, they've got to be careful, monitor themselves," Fauci reinforced. "If they get sick, bring it to the attention of a physician, get tested. Also, the idea of self-isolating for two weeks will be very important."

This just adds to mixed messages. It's known that there is a shortage of texts and that people needing to be tested haven't been able to do that. 

Earlier, Cuomo had harsh words for the government's response to the health crisis, reacting to the Federal Emergency Management Agency saying it will send the state 400 ventilators. "Four hundred ventilators? I need 30,000 ventilators. You want a pat on the back for sending 400 ventilators?" the governor complained.

He believes the situation in his state is going to show up in other states as well very soon. "New York is the canary in the coal mine," said Cuomo. "New York is going first. 

Yet, despite all these warnings about how much worse this is going to get in the coming weeks, Donald Trump said in an interview on Fox News that he wants everything to be opened up again by Easter, which is April 12, meaning he seems to be going against his own task force.

"I"d love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter," he said. "We'll assess at that time, and we'll give it some more time if we need a little more time, but we have to open the country up. ... We can socially distance ourselves and go to work. 

This was said out of a desire to repair the failing economy, yet University of Michigan economics professor Justin Wolfers tweeted, "As you read various arguments floating around that perhaps we should ease public health restrictions to help the economy, I want you to notice that IN NO CASE ARE THESE ARGUMENTS BEING MADE BY ACTUAL ECONOMISTS."

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