Gov. Cuomo: Public Health Is More Important Than Economy Amid COVID-19

The New York governor responds to Trump's pressure to restart the economy amid coronavirus lockdown.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo pushed back on the idea that Americans should pause self-quarantining to spur the economy on Monday evening, making clear that, in his opinion, "the only choice is public health." The discussion over how we as a nation should react to the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic began Monday when President Donald Trump signaled his eagerness to try to return to some economic normalcy by ostensibly putting an end to the 15-day coronavirus guidelines put forth roughly eight days ago.

A robust debate has emerged over how best to handle the many negative side effects of COVID-19. Medical professionals and virologists—such as Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases—have publicly argued that, until data emerges that shows the spread of the contagion has abated, the directed lockdown should continue, as it will save lives.

But we are also looking at the worst economic crisis this nation has faced since the Great Depression of the 1920s, President Trump has argued. During a White House press conference on Monday, the president said he believes that the U.S. can accomplish two things at once: staying safe via social distancing, but also returning to some version of a consumer economy to avoid another great depression.

Gov. Cuomo appeared on Cuomo Prime Time on Monday night, the CNN program anchored by his brother, Chris Cuomo, and addressed the issue. The anchor asked his politician brother if there is a public health strategy that can both keep people safe and healthy and bring them back to work to "restart the economy."

The New York governor refrained from making a direct political hit on President Trump and instead agreed that there are grave economic concerns that need to be addressed. He then suggested a nuanced public health strategy of returning young people to work as we learn more about the public health risk presented by COVID-19.

Watch the segment below via CNN:

Later in the evening, Gov. Cuomo reinforced the biggest takeaway from his CNN appearance on Twitter, saying that in a choice between "public health versus the economy, the only choice is public health."

Gov. Cuomo has received bipartisan praise for what many see as clear-eyed and dispassionate leadership. His ostensible agreement with President Trump on being concerned about the U.S. economy, while also expressing public health concerns, will likely only raise the already very high opinions so many have developed of him during this pandemic.

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