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New York Gov. Cuomo says the coronavirus pandemic has inflicted 'trauma' and PTSD on Americans

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wears a protective face mask as he arrives to speak during a daily briefing following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., July 13, 2020.

Mike Segar | Reuters

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that the coronavirus pandemic was a “profound transformational” moment in U.S. history that was so traumatic, it will leave many Americans with post traumatic stress disorder similar to war veterans.

“Covid was a trauma for this country. Covid was like being at war,” Cuomo said at a press conference on a boat off Long Island. “I don’t know that we’ve even fully appreciated all of the effects of the trauma that we’ve gone through. There’s going to be PTSD from Covid.”

Cuomo said he will provide more information on the mental health consequences of the Covid-19 outbreak next week. He highlighted the need to understand the psychological impact of the pandemic on school-aged children, domestic abuse and substance abuse.

“This is a profound transformational moment in society,” Cuomo said. “One of the lessons to me about Covid is it shows you how dangerous denial is. Well Covid, who would have known? Anyone who was paying attention would have known.”

He referenced previous viral outbreaks, including the SARS outbreak in China that was also a coronavirus that was similarly transmitted from animals to humans. 

Earlier in the press conference, Cuomo stood firm on his conservative approach to reopening businesses, even as restaurant groups apply pressure to expand indoor dining in New York City. Cuomo said the aggressive tactics New York employed to contain the spread of the virus allowed it to get the infection rate down to about 1%. 

“Our calibration now between managing Covid and opening businesses, that’s an ongoing tension,” Cuomo said. “We’re not yet at a point where we can get back to normal life.”

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