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NY governor refutes U.S. president's vaccine claim, gears up for more severe scenario

(Xinhua)    09:33, November 15, 2020

NEW YORK, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Saturday that COVID-19 vaccines are created by drug companies, not by U.S. president and the government, targeting President Donald Trump's latest tweet saying that "the Trump Administration has produced a great and safe VACCINE far ahead of schedule."

"The president made some comments yesterday and was tweeting today. The president says he created the vaccine -- that is not a fact. There is still something called reality and truth," the governor was quoted as saying in an official press release.

"The federal government did not create the vaccine. Private drug companies, pharma companies are creating the vaccines. He has created problems for the vaccine because the vaccine is only relevant if people will take it, and we want people to take it," he said.

"The bottom line is the president has been unhappy with New York. He was unhappy with New York the day he took office. He was unhappy that he lost New York. He was unhappy that New Yorkers criticized him. New York is home to media that criticized him," he added.

Meanwhile, the governor showed his determination to earn respect and guarantee rights and interests for New York.

He also confirmed that his state will set up an independent panel of experts headed by Nobel Prize winner to review the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) approval of vaccines and build confidence for New Yorkers.

"New York set up such a panel. Seven other states set up such a panel. We are ready now to receive the vaccine and then simultaneous with the FDA approval our panel will be looking at it. So, there's no delay. We're ready now. Send me a vaccine today, I will distribute it this afternoon," said Cuomo.

"UNTRUE" CLAIM

On Friday, the governor refuted Trump's claim about New York State's preparation for COVID-19 vaccination, telling CNN's Situation Room that "What the president says is just untrue. ... We trust the drug companies."

A number of states, New York included, have set up separate scientific panels that will review the FDA's approval to give people confidence in the vaccine approval process, he asserted, adding that half the American people said "they don't trust the approval process."

Earlier on Friday, Trump said that a COVID-19 vaccine would not be delivered to "New York until we have authorization to do so."

Cuomo "doesn't trust where the vaccine is coming from. ... These are coming from the greatest companies anywhere in the world, greatest labs in the world, but he doesn't trust the fact that it's this White House, this administration," Trump said during a press conference from the White House Rose Garden.

Cuomo "will have to let us know when he's ready for it because otherwise, we can't be delivering it to a state that won't be giving it to its people immediately," added the president.

Soon after the president made the remarks above, Cuomo told MSNBC's Live with Katy Tur, "It's not that people don't trust the vaccine companies, the pharmaceutical companies. ... An overwhelming percentage of Americans are worried about political interference in the vaccination process and the approval process by the president."

He added, "The day they distribute the vaccine, we will be ready to start the distribution. Our review of the FDA protocol will be simultaneous (and) concurrent with their delivery."

RISING FIGURES AND MORE RESTRICTIONS

In the past weeks, Cuomo has repeatedly criticized the federal government's COVID-19 vaccination program, saying it relied too much on private entities and overlooked the minorities and the disadvantaged groups.

In a parallel development, New York suffered from continuous rise of COVID-19 cases statewide and New York City is even planning an overall closure of its schools for the coronavirus infection rate has been edging up to 3 percent.

Cuomo tweeted on Saturday that the COVID-19 test positivity rate in the focus areas under the micro-cluster strategy, where the pandemic has been the most severe in New York State, was 4.83 percent on Friday, up from 4.58 percent one day earlier.

The statewide positivity rate excluding these focus areas was 2.57 percent, up from 2.29 percent on Thursday; of the 184,162 tests reported on Friday, 5,388 were positive, or 2.92 percent of the total, up from 2.65 percent one day earlier, he added.

"If we all take more precautions, COVID will spread less and there will be fewer restrictions. If we all take fewer precautions, COVID will spread more and there will be more restrictions. It's that simple," said the governor in another tweet on Saturday.

The state has limited indoor gatherings at private residences to 10 people, and any gym as well as other establishment with a state liquor license, including bars and restaurants, should close at 10 p.m. Both orders took effect at 10 p.m. Friday.

As of Saturday afternoon, the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University reported 34,003 coronavirus deaths so far in New York State, the worst in the country. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Sheng Chuyi, Bianji)

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