New York's Cuomo says 'time to wake up, America' as other states see COVID-19 spikes

News conference at LaGuardia Airport's new Terminal B in New York

(Reuters) - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday criticized states that reopened their economies before getting the novel coronavirus under control, saying there was "undeniable, irrefutable evidence" those states made a mistake.

Cuomo told a briefing that states that followed guidance from the White House are now seeing a spike in cases, arguing that New York was able to get the virus under control by taking a scientific, rather than a political, approach.

"What's going on in this country is now frightening and revealing at the same time," Cuomo said. "I say it is time to wake up, America, and look at the undeniable facts."

Earlier on Friday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered bars to close down again and restaurants to scale back service, reversing course due to a surge of new infections.

The jump in cases and hospitalizations in Texas are part of a nationwide resurgence in states that were spared the brunt of the initial outbreak or moved early to lift restrictions. Also reporting record rises in cases this week were Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wyoming.

In contrast, Cuomo said the seven-day average of the percentage of positive tests in New York was at 1.3 percent, a big improvement from an earlier peak in the state of 50 percent and the lowest rate in the United States.

New York, where hospitals were overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients and lacking resources just weeks ago, is ready and willing to assist states with surging outbreaks by sending volunteer staff and equipment, Cuomo said.

"Our offer is open-ended," Cuomo said. "Equipment, staff, knowledge, ventilators, National Guard assistance, whatever they need."


(Reporting by Gabriella Borter in New York and Nathan Layne in Wilton, Connecticut; Editing by Franklin Paul and Jonathan Oatis)