Cuomo demands equal access to vaccine, slams leadership by tweet

A patient arrives in an ambulance at the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York last month. (AP pic)

NEW YORK: Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Tuesday that any vaccine to prevent the coronavirus should be distributed fairly without regard for wealth and called for US crisis leadership based on competence and not Twitter posts.

“You have to know what you are doing now – not just look like what you are doing, not just sound like what you are doing,” Cuomo said without naming US President Donald Trump, a Republican who frequently attacks his critics on Twitter.

“You have to be smart. You are not going to tweet your way through this,” added Cuomo, a Democrat.

There was no immediate response from Trump.

Cuomo spoke following news on Monday that an experimental Covid-19 vaccine made by biotech company Moderna Inc produced protective antibodies in a small group of healthy volunteers.

“The vaccine must be available to all people,” Cuomo told a daily briefing.

“It can’t be a situation where only the rich, only the privileged can get the vaccine because one company owns the rights and they can’t produce enough for everyone.”

The governor said New York state would allow gatherings of up to 10 people for the coming Memorial Day weekend honouring military personnel who died while serving in the US armed forces.

Cuomo announced that the region including the state capital of Albany would on Wednesday become the seventh of 10 regions to start reopening after securing enough staff to trace contacts of infected people.

New York City, the epicentre of the pandemic in the US, remains under a strict lockdown.

Statewide, the three-day rolling average for new Covid-19 hospitalisations fell to 335 on Monday from 373 the previous day, Cuomo said. The daily death toll fell by one to 105, he said.