Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo referred to the coronavirus as the “European virus” Monday, despite the disease having originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
While discussing New York’s recovery at his daily press briefing, Cuomo claimed the coronavirus “came from Europe.” (RELATED: Gov. Cuomo Tells Unemployed Americans To ‘Go Take A Job As An Essential Worker’)
“We were really at a very, very bad place. Again, through no fault of our own. Virus came from Europe. Whoever would have figured that? Somebody should have, but above my pay grade,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo defended his lockdown policies, saying New York must “stay smart,” but he also announced that parts of upstate New York could reopen as early as this weekend. (RELATED: NYC Adds Nearly 4,000 People Who Never Tested Positive To Coronavirus Death Tolls)
“We changed the trajectory dramatically by what we did. And that was smart,” Cuomo said. “But we have to stay smart and we have to stay united.”
“If you had said, when we started this, ‘Yes, we had more cases than anyone else. Yes, we had this European virus attack us and nobody expected it. But we’re not only going to change our trajectory. We’re going to change the trajectory more dramatically than any place else in the nation,'” Cuomo continued. “People would have said it was impossible, but we did it. But we have to stay smart.”
The New York Times reported in April that most coronavirus cases that were brought to New York from overseas were from Europe. However, the first confirmed cases of the coronavirus were reported in the city of Wuhan, China.
Some Americans, including President Donald Trump, have been accused of racism for referring to the coronavirus as the “Wuhan virus” or the “Chinese virus.” Some pundits have defended usage of the term as a way to hold China’s government accountable for their alleged coronavirus cover-up.
Cuomo has earned high approval ratings for his handling of the crisis, but he has also faced increased scrutiny in recent weeks over his March decision to require nursing homes to admit elderly coronavirus patients. New York revealed late last month that over 3,000 coronavirus deaths have occurred in nursing homes across the state, and Cuomo announced Sunday that he was reversing his initial policy and now will require patients to test negative before they can be admitted to an assisted living facility.