April 16, 2020 | 2:02pm
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday panned President Trump’s accusation that New York City is padding its coronavirus death toll as “bizarre.”
“Why would New York City want to inflate a death toll?” asked Cuomo during an Albany press briefing.
“It’s bad enough as it is. It’s painful enough as it is.”
The city Department of Health on Tuesday began disclosing not just confirmed coronavirus fatalities, but “probable” cases in which the deceased exhibited telltale signs of the contagion, but were never formally tested.
The two counts are listed separately on the city’s coronavirus information page, and stood respectively at 6,840 and 4,059 as of Wednesday afternoon.
During a Wednesday press briefing in Washington, Trump cast doubt on the tolls.
“I see this morning where New York added 3,000 [sic] deaths because they died. Rather than [a] heart attack, they say heart attack caused by this,” he said.
The insinuation drew a swift rebuke from City Hall, and a raised eyebrow from Cuomo on Thursday.
“That doesn’t make a lot of sense,” said the governor, calling the president’s claim “even more bizarre than usual.”
As both Cuomo and top aide Melissa DeRosa pointed out, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention itself has advised state and local governments to start tallying both confirmed and probable coronavirus deaths.
“It was the president’s own CDC that put out this guidance,” DeRosa said Thursday.
New York State as of Thursday publicized only confirmed fatalities, but Cuomo said Wednesday that Albany is working to get in line with the CDC regulation.
He and Trump have traded barbs throughout the coronavirus crisis repeatedly and as recently as earlier this week, when the president said Cuomo and other governors were staging a “mutiny” by bucking his claim of “total” authority on when to reopen states for business.
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