As cases of COVID-19 continue to pop up throughout the country, the state of New York has identified itself as the epicenter of the pandemic within the United States. On Tuesday, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, gave a clear directive for New Yorkers leaving the state to self-quarantine for 14 days.

“To everyone who has left New York over the last few days, because of the rate of the number of cases, you may have been exposed before you left New York,” Dr. Birx said at a White House press briefing. She added that self-quarantining is the only way to ensure that the virus doesn’t continue to spread to other people. 

Dr. Birx: "Everybody who was in New York should be self-quarantining…"

Dr. Birx: "Everybody who was in New York should be self-quarantining for the next 14 days to ensure that the virus doesn't spread to others, no matter where they have gone, whether it's Florida, North Carolina or out to far reaches of Long Island." Full video here: by C-SPAN on Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Dr. Deborah Birx says the administration is concerned about New York City, which currently represents 31 percent of the nation’s fatalities from the coronavirus. Still, the administration has yet to intervene.

The news comes as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo grows increasingly frustrated over the White House’s response to the crisis, saying on Tuesday to the administration, “You pick the 26 thousand people who are going to die.” Cuomo has estimated that the state could be essentially shut down for up to nine months and that New York is likely just two weeks away from hitting the apex of its outbreak.

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“The president said it’s a war. . .then act like it,” said Cuomo, clearly agitated, during a morning news conference at the Javits Center in Manhattan. “They’re doing the supplies? Here’s my question: Where are they?” The governor has been specifically concerned about ventilators. 30,000 are needed, but only 7,000 have been secured.

“We remain deeply concerned about New York City and the New York metro area,” Dr. Birx insisted on Tuesday. “About 56 percent of all the cases in the United States are coming out of that metro area, and 60 percent of all the new cases are coming out of the metro New York area.” Birx also added that New Yorkers make up 31 percent of this nation’s people succumbing to this disease. 

The warning from the White House comes a day after a beloved Brooklyn principal died from coronavirus complications. Brooklyn Democracy Academy’s Dezann Romain was just 36 years old.

ESSENCE is committed to bringing our audience the latest facts about COVID-19 (coronavirus). Our content team is closely monitoring the developing details surrounding the virus via official sources and health care experts, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Please continue to refresh ESSENCE’s informational hub for updates on COVID-19, as well as for tips on taking care of yourselves, your families and your communities.