NEW YORK CITY — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday lambasted President Donald Trump and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for how the coronavirus has been handled, calling it a "failed policy of denial."
Cuomo zeroed in on a recent modification to CDC guidelines saying that a person does "not necessarily need a test" unless they're in a vulnerable population group or told to do so by a health provider.
A federal health official told CNN the change in guidelines came "from the top down" as directed by the White House.
In a call with news reporters, Cuomo discussed the recent about-face, suggesting the move is intended to deflate positive case numbers and was motivated by politics, not health experts.
"The only plausible rationale is they want fewer people taking tests because, as the president has said, if we don’t take tests, you won’t know that people are COVID-positive, and the number of positive people will come down," the governor said.
Cuomo suggested the "CDC is carrying forward with [Trump's] political agenda, and it is frightening."
New York on Wednesday reported its 19th consecutive day with a positive infection rate below 1 percent.
Cuomo said of 71,189 tests completed on Tuesday, only 566 returned positive results, reflecting a positivity rate of 0.79 percent.
Cuomo also announced that three additional New Yorkers have died from the virus, another 492 were hospitalized, 136 were placed in an ICU unit and 54 were intubated.
Although case numbers are largely under control in New York today, they ranged as high as 71 percent during the height of the pandemic in March. Cuomo said he sees the early spike in cases as an ambush.
"It’s the same CDC that showed that they either lied to the American people, or they’re incompetent because they didn’t track the virus in China, and they didn’t track the virus leaving China and going to Europe," he said. "That’s why New York was ambushed. It’s not hyperbolic; it’s not rhetorical. It is a fact, and that’s why New York had the number of cases it had."