Government/Health/US National

Trump not considering national lockdown as he declares New York a disaster zone over coronavirus

President Donald J. Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence and members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, takes questions from the press at a coronavirus update briefing Saturday, March 14, 2020, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

(USA Features) President Donald Trump on Friday said that he was not considering a implementing a national lockdown even as he declared New York City a disaster area as coronavirus cases rise there.

The decision comes as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo decided to “close the valve” and order 100 percent of the state’s non-essential workforce to remain at home or face civil penalties. That order is similar to one issued earlier by California Gov. Gavin Newsom for his state’s 40 million residents.

Trump administration officials and health professionals agreed with those decisions.

“Gov. Newsom made some very important, difficult decisions. Today, Gov. Cuomo did the same thing. And I want to say, I strongly support what he’s doing,” said Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-diseases scientist, at a White House briefing. “As a New Yorker, I know what New Yorkers can do. We’re tough.”

Meanwhile, Trump and administration officials said they will continue to allow states to take the lead in making decisions about their own populations regarding the outbreak.

The president, in praising coastal governors in Washington state, California, New York and Florida, noted that the Midwest and other places aren’t seeing a huge burden, so he’s not considering a “national lockdown” order.

The coronavirus was discovered in Wuhan, China, in December. It’s infected nearly 260,000 people worldwide, resulting in over 11,200 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.

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