President Donald Trump says he is "looking at" quarantining New York, Connecticut and New Jersey, which have developed as "hot spots" of the coronavirus outbreak.
"We'd like to see New York quarantined because it's a hot spot — New York, New Jersey, maybe one or two other places, certain parts of Connecticut quarantined," Trump said Saturday outside the White House before departing for Norfolk, Va.
There, at Naval Station Norfolk, the president plans marked the deployment of the USNS Comfort, a hospital ship destined for New York Harbor. The ship will support the taxed medical resources of New York City — which, with more than 29,000 confirmed cases and more than 500 deaths linked to the virus, has become the epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday that statewide, "we have lost 728 New Yorkers to Coronavirus."
The governors of Florida and Rhode Island have already announced that they are requiring travelers from New York to go into a 14-day quarantine. Cuomo also said Saturday that the state is postponing its presidential primary — originally scheduled for April 28 — back to June 23.
New Jersey has also seen a big spike in cases recently — with more than 11,000 confirmed, in all, at least 140 of which have resulted in the patient's death.
"We might not have to do [the quarantine]," Trump told reporters Saturday, "but there's a possibility that sometime today we'll do a quarantine — short-term two weeks for New York, probably, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut."
He added that "we wouldn't" close the New York City subway and that "we're not going to need" the National Guard, explaining that he plans to speak with Cuomo later.
Cuomo, for his part, said that despite his recent conversations with the president about the hospital ship, he had heard nothing from Trump "about any quarantine."
"I haven't had those conversations," the governor said at a separate news briefing Saturday in New York. "I don't even know what that means."
Across the country, more than 105,000 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed — though experts suspect the true extent of the virus to be much larger, with the federal government still struggling to adequately supply testing kits, ventilators and personal protective gear for local health care workers.
For now, Trump tweeted that the decision on a possible quarantine of three states "will be made, one way or the other, shortly."
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