New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) was asked during a press conference if there was more he could have done to help mitigate the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus in the early stages of the pandemic.
Cuomo said the state and New York City acted quickly as the threat became apparent but in terms of predicting and knowing how devastating it would have been, that is above his pay grade.
"If this country knew more and knew it earlier, I think we could've saved many, many more lives. I mean, when you think about it in retrospect, the virus is in China, November, and December, everyone knows that. We do China travel ban February 1, the president did and some people said at that time...he was criticized that it was too early," Cuomo said.
In contrast, Cuomo said the European travel ban that came later in March was implemented too late since COVID-19 had spread within Europe, where New York City got a majority of its cases from.
"Who knew the virus left China? Who knew the virus went to Europe? Who knew the virus was already here January, February, March? Now, who should have known, it's above my pay grade as governor of one state. But what federal agency, what international health organization, I don't know. It's not what I do. It's not my responsibility," he added.
Cuomo has faced intense scrutiny, except from CNN, for the state ordering nursing homes in March to accept COVID-19 positive patients to ensure hospitals had enough bed space. The order was rescinded in May, but not after nursing homes in the state experienced over 4,000 deaths.
New York has seen over 20,000 deaths from COVID-19, with the vast majority occurring in New York City.