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Andrew Cuomo announces more than 2,000 new COVID-19 cases, the first time since May. Image via AP.

Coronavirus in Florida

New York, New Jersey, Connecticut to quarantine Florida COVID-19 travelers

Gov. Ron DeSantis quarantined them, now Cuomo is returning the favor.

Turnabout is fair play, apparently.

New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut will quarantine travelers from Florida starting at midnight tonight, asserted Gov. Andrew Cuomo Wednesday.

Cuomo had teased such a 14-day quarantine in recent days, and it apparently will come to pass, announced after another record day of positive tests in the Sunshine State.

New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut will, in a “regional collaboration” Cuomo described Monday on MSNBC, impose a two-week quarantine on Florida travelers until the state finally quells the recent uptick in infections.

“I get phone calls from people in Florida,” Cuomo groused, “who say ‘we want to come to New York because we’re afraid of the virus.’”

For Cuomo, who saw New Yorkers quarantined when traveling to Florida while his state’s caseload was the talk of the world, recent developments seemed to offer him some vindication, as he contrasted his state’s performance with that of Florida and other states, which reopened “politically” rather than heeding “the science.”

States like Florida, Cuomo contended, pushed to “reopen, reopen, reopen.” New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut were driven by the “science,” Cuomo said, taking a “political pounding” from the White House for doing so.

“We tested those theories … following the science,” Cuomo said, saying states that opened “quickly and recklessly without any controls” are “seeing the virus going up.”

“Florida, Arizona, Texas … 20 states,” Cuomo said. “That’s what happens when you reopen politically. And you see the virus go up.”

The Governor noted these states “didn’t do any favors for the economy,” as “the virus goes up, the markets go down.”

Cuomo castigated current messaging saying the increased positive tests are simply a function of more tests being administered.

“They gave us a whole line: it’s not that the virus is going up, it’s that we’re doing more testing,” Cuomo said. “That is just not true.”

“You look at Florida, more people are going into hospitals. It has nothing to do with testing. More people are going to ICU beds. It has nothing to do with testing.”

“The virus is up, more people are getting sick,” Cuomo continued. “The number of deaths keep going up.”

Despite feeling vindication, Cuomo said the decision to isolate travelers was not rooted in petty vengeance. The new quarantine decision is “just common sense,” Cuomo told reporters.

“It’s only for the simple reason that we worked very hard to get the viral transmission rate down. We don’t want to see it go up because a lot of people come into this region, and they could literally bring the infection with them. It wouldn’t be malicious or malevolent, but it would still be real,” he said.

Previously, Gov. Ron DeSantis had said that if Cuomo does quarantine Floridians, not to do it in New York nursing homes, where 6,300 have died from COVID-19.

The tri-state travel advisory, which goes into effect Thursday, will apply to states with a positive test rate of 10 per 100,000 residents on a seven-day rolling average, or a 10% or higher positivity rate, also based on a seven-day rolling average.

As of Wednesday, the quarantine applies to Florida — which had a seven-day positivity rate of 14.1%, according to data compiled by the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center — Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington, Utah and Texas, Cuomo said.

“The states themselves can change as the infection rate changes. And we will update daily what states are above that infection rate,” Cuomo said. “And again, it’s just common sense. It’s the spirit of community.”

The Florida Department of Health on Wednesday reported 5,508 new COVID-19 cases. Nearly 16 percent of all tests were positive, a jump from Tuesday’s rate of less than 11 percent.

___

The News Service of Florida contributed to this post.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at AG@FloridaPolitics.com

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