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After Trump backs off quarantine idea, CDC issues domestic travel advisory for New York tri-state

So, what brought this on? Earlier in the day, Trump suggested he was considering a “quarantine” in the area. Of course, he floated this idea on Twitter.

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I am giving consideration to a QUARANTINE of developing “hot spots”, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. A decision will be made, one way or another, shortly.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2020

He said similarly to reporters, noting, “Some people would like to see New York quarantined because it’s a hotspot. … We might not have to do it, but there’s a possibility that sometime today we’ll do a quarantine, short-term, two weeks on New York. Probably New Jersey, certain parts of Connecticut.” Did the governors of these states have any heads up? Seemingly, no.

As Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal replied on Twitter, it all seemed deeply unclear… Which is far from ideal in a global pandemic.

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The specifics & impact of this new directive by tweet are unclear & uncertain. The effect may be more confusion than confidence. Gov. Lamont has been strong & effective in his leadership instructing CT’s people to self-quarantine & stay at home if possible. https://t.co/bn2tovqFJo

— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) March 28, 2020

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont expressed a similar sentiment.

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Further, if interstate travel is absolutely necessary, our state has directed travelers to self-quarantine to prevent against further transmission of the virus. (2/3)

— Governor Ned Lamont (@GovNedLamont) March 28, 2020

“It’s totally opposite everything he’s been saying. I don’t think it is plausible. I don’t think it is legal,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in reference to the quarantine idea in an interview with CNN. 

Eventually, Trump tweeted that he asked the CDC for the travel advisory. 

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On the recommendation of the White House CoronaVirus Task Force, and upon consultation with the Governor’s of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, I have asked the @CDCgov to issue a strong Travel Advisory, to be administered by the Governors, in consultation with the….

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 29, 2020

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….Federal Government. A quarantine will not be necessary. Full details will be released by CDC tonight. Thank you!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 29, 2020

“You don’t want to get to the point where you’re enforcing things that would create a bigger difficulty, morale and otherwise, when you can probably accomplish the same goal,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said in an interview with CNN on Sunday morning.

Several states outside of the tri-state area have already begun trying to discourage how many people visit from out of state. For example, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo issued an order on Friday that would allow police to stop cars (in an effort to get information) with New York license plates. Cuomo has said he will sue over that if Rhode Island doesn’t roll back the order, calling it “unconstitutional.” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gave a mandatory two-week self-quarantine order for anyone visiting the state from Louisiana. In Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker advised any person entering the state to self-quarantine for two weeks and to avoid traveling to the state if they have symptoms.

As my colleague Hunter argues, it’s unlikely we will all get “quarantined,” though the fear and confusion around it is understandable, given how much it’s discussed—and the point that Trump tossed the word out himself. What we can all do, however, is follow CDC and WHO guidelines to the best of our ability, including washing our hands, staying home when possible, and practicing responsible social distancing when we can’t. 

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