Mar 28, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump considers quarantine for states near epicenter of U.S. coronavirus outbreak

President Trump speaks to the press on March 28 in Washington, DC. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

President Trump said on Saturday he is considering a "short term" quarantine of New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut — areas congruent with the New York metro area, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus in the U.S.

Reality check: These states have already taken steps to quarantine residents and promote social distancing to combat COVID-19. The governors of New York and New Jersey issued statewide stay-at-home orders last week, and non-essential businesses in Connecticut were ordered to close as of this Monday.

Details: The quarantine would not apply to "people such as truckers from outside the New York area who are making deliveries or simply transiting through," Trump said on Saturday as the hospital ship USNS Comfort departed for New York. He claimed the quarantine would not affect trade.

What they're saying:

"Some people would like to see New York quarantined because it’s a hotspot — New York, New Jersey maybe one or two other places, certain parts of Connecticut quarantined. I’m thinking about that right now. We might not have to do it but there’s a possibility that sometime today we’ll do a quarantine — short term — two weeks for New York, probably New Jersey, certain parts of Connecticut."
— President Trump said Saturday, per pool reporters
  • "I don't even know what that means," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Saturday in response to Trump's announcement, per the New York Times. “I don’t know how that could be legally enforceable. From a medical point of view, I don’t know what you would be accomplishing. I don’t even like the sound of it.”
  • "A decision will be made, one way or another, shortly," Trump tweeted on Saturday.

Background: The White House coronavirus task force has advised those who travel from the New York metro area to self-quarantine for 14 days.

  • The Trump administration is developing a plan to label counties across the country as "high-risk, medium-risk, or low-risk" areas to manage the spread of the coronavirus, Trump said on Thursday.

Go deeper: Updates on coronavirus in the U.S.

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