White House adviser Kellyanne Conway is blaming New York Mayor Bill de Blasio for making his city the epicenter of coronavirus spread in the US.
“I’m not playing politics,” the counselor to President Trump told reporters Thursday, “but you have a mayor saying, ‘Look at me, I’m on the subway, go out on the town.’”
Conway paraphrased a tweet from the mayor this month that people should watch “The Traitor” at Lincoln Center instead of staying home to prevent spread of COVID-19.
“He told people through a tweet on March 2, ‘Go live your lives and go out on the town,’ and then recommended what show everybody go see,” Conway said. “So it’s very unfortunate that we now have the spread in the whole New York metro area, which as you all know includes many parts of New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania.”
She added: “I personally know people who commute from Pennsylvania into New York for work — into New York City for work.”
Conway said the city should have gone into lockdown sooner, which de Blasio resisted. She said that decision resulted in the virus spreading to neighboring states, citing a surge in New Jersey diagnoses.
Of about 75,000 cases in the US, New York has half — passing 37,000 Thursday — and New Jersey is second with more than 4,400 cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus tracking database.
In New Jersey, Conway said, “that obviously includes heavily the commuting counties in and around New York City, which didn’t go into lockdown until almost a week ago, unfortunately.”
In his defiant March 2 tweet, de Blasio wrote: “Since I’m encouraging New Yorkers to go on with your lives + get out on the town despite Coronavirus, I thought I would offer some suggestions. Here’s the first: thru Thurs 3/5 go see “The Traitor” @FilmLinc. If “The Wire” was a true story + set in Italy, it would be this film.”
De Blasio press secretary Freddi Goldstein pointed The Post to her tweeted criticism of Trump on Thursday for projecting the reopening of the country for business by Easter.
The mayor by contrast “rose to the seriousness of this crisis [and] made incredibly difficult decisions” to close restaurants and schools, Goldstein wrote. “On 3/3 we were pre-community spread. We were isolating the few positive cases, tracing their contacts & encouraging anyone w/ symptoms to seek help.
De Blasio ordered restaurants and schools closed on March 15 after resisting calls to do so.
The Trump administration faced blame of its own for a botched COVID-19 test and a subsequent slow rollout of testing capacity. White House coronavirus task force member Anthony Fauci called the US testing response “failing.” Trump has blamed antiquated health care policies.
With New York as the nation’s coronavirus epicenter, Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the Trump administration’s response, on Tuesday urged anyone who recently visited the metro area to self-quarantine.
“Everybody who was in New York should be self-quarantining for the next 14 days to ensure that the virus doesn’t spread to others, no matter where they have gone, whether it’s Florida, North Carolina, or out to far, far reaches of Long Island,” Birx said at a White House briefing.
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