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Stay up to date with the latest news on the coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. We'll post regular updates from NPR and regional news from the WRVO newsroom. You can also find updates on our live blog.

Cuomo criticizes federal response to travelers from the UK

Governor Andrew Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is concerned about the variation of the coronavirus that has been seen in the United Kingdom recently and whether it will be coming into New York City from regular daily flights.

During a Sunday news conference, Cuomo noted that a number of other countries have either required people flying from the U.K. to get a COVID test first before flying to their nations, or in some cases, issued an outright ban on those travelers. The governor asked why the U.S. has not taken similar action.

“Right now this variant in the U.K. is getting on a plane and flying to JFK,” Cuomo said. “Right now, today. 120 countries require a test, we don’t. Other European countries have done a ban, we haven’t. This is the mistake we made. Where is HHS? Where is CDC? Where is the NIH? This is the same mistake and literally, six flights a day, and all it takes is one person.”

The new variant of the coronavirus is said to be more easily transmissible than the strain that has been prevalent. But President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for surgeon general said there is no reason to believe that vaccines that have been developed against COVID-19, will not be effective against the new mutation.

With the Buffalo Bills clinching the AFC-East title Saturday, Cuomo was asked by reporters whether the state might allow fans in Bills Stadium.

Cuomo said that decision will be up to state Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker.

“It’s going to be Dr. Zucker’s call, but it’s also going to depend on the circumstances that western New York is in at that time; what’s the infection rate, what’s the hospitalization rate,” Cuomo said.

The state health department is now reviewing the proposal for allowing fans in Bills’ stadium. Zucker said he has more concern about the transmission of the coronavirus in tailgate parties than he does in the stadium itself, but the state has not yet made a decision on those plans. 

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's Director of News and Public Affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.