Cuomo bashes federal government for lack of travel restrictions from U.K.

Robert Pelaez
More than 10,000 people throughout the North Shore had tested positive for the coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic as of Wednesday, according to figures from the Nassau County Department of Health. (Chart by Robert Pelaez)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo criticized the federal government on Sunday for not imposing travel restrictions from the United Kingdom after reports of a new coronavirus variant that health experts have said could potentially spread faster than others.

Cuomo said six flights arrive at Kennedy International Airport from the United Kingdom every day. With 120 countries already having imposed travel restrictions from the United Kingdom, Cuomo expressed displeasure with the federal government not following in others’ footsteps.

“One hundred twenty countries demand that before you get on a flight in the U.K. to come to their country, you have to have tested negative,” Cuomo said. “The United States does not require it. As I mentioned before, other countries are just banning people coming from the U.K. We have about six flights a day coming in from the U.K. and we have done absolutely nothing. Now, to me this is reprehensible because this is what happened in the spring.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the new variant is around 70 percent more transmissible.

Cuomo then announced on Monday that Virgin, Delta and British Airways all agreed that they will test people before getting on a flight in the U.K. en route to New York.  

“The people who now fly into New York will be negative, but we’ll have flights into Chicago, we’ll have flights into other parts of the country and then those people can get on flights and come back to New York or infect other states,” Cuomo said. “This whole notion that any one state can protect itself was foolish from the beginning. New York has one of the lowest infection rates in the United States, but that doesn’t stop the virus from coming in from other states.”

The travel restrictions come at a time when more than 10,000 people on the North Shore have tested positive for the coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic in mid-March as of Monday night.

The figures were the most up-to-date ones that the Nassau County Department of Health provided on Wednesday.

More than 2,000 people on the Great Neck peninsula had tested positive for the virus as of Sunday, according to county figures, which continues to lead the areas analyzed.  The Village of Great Neck’s 627 coronavirus cases were the most throughout the peninsula, followed by the Village of Kings Point’s 436 and the Village of Great Neck Plaza’s 369. After the Village of Lake Success saw an increase of 17 cases over the past week, a total of five of the peninsula’s nine villages had over 100 recorded cases as of Wednesday.

The Port Washington area’s 964 cases account for almost 10 percent of the North Shore’s positive tests. More than 200 people in the Village of Manorhaven had tested positive for the virus, according to county figures.

The New Hyde Park area accounted for 2,078 of the North Shore’s cases, with North New Hyde Park having the third most confirmed positives, 777, out of any analyzed area.  The villages of Floral Park, with 626 cases, and New Hyde Park, with 508 cases, were also among the top seven villages or unincorporated town areas in terms of positive tests, according to Health Department statistics.

Municipalities and unincorporated areas that stretch into more than one North Shore area such as Flower Hill, Herricks, Albertson, Garden City Park, Searingtown and North Hills were counted separately and accounted for 1,358 cases, according to county statistics.

The Village of Mineola saw the highest increase of cases over the one-week period with nearly 100 new cases. Mineola’s 916 cases and Garden City’s 798 cases accounted for 1,714 of the 2,093 cases in the area that also takes in the Willistons.

Manhasset, which has remained comparatively low since the beginning of the pandemic, had 639 cases, with around half coming from town-governed areas.  It is the only analyzed area with fewer than 700 cases.

The Village of Roslyn’s 194 cases may not seem high compared with other North Shore areas, but the cases per 1,000 residents, 68.02, is one of the highest rates in Nassau County, according to Health Department figures. Despite this, the village has seen one of the lowest one-month increases of any analyzed municipality, with fewer than 30 new confirmed cases since Nov. 11, according to county statistics.

A total of 77,968 Nassau County residents had tested positive for the virus as of Wednesday, and 2,337 had died since the pandemic began. More than 500 Nassau residents remained hospitalized due to the virus, with 60 in intensive care units and 35 on ventilators, according to county figures.  The county’s seven-day positivity rate was 5.7 percent as of Wednesday.

Throughout New York, more than 871,000 people had tested positive for the coronavirus as of Wednesday, according to state figures. Of that total, more than 36,000 people had died. In New York City, 392,000 people had contracted the virus, and 24,768 had died. 

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