May 19, 2020 / 4:28 PM / 10 days ago

Vaccine not only for rich, Cuomo says, and decries leadership by tweet

(Reuters) - 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 U.S. crisis leadership based on competence and not Twitter posts.

FILE PHOTO: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo holds his daily briefing at New York Medical College during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Valhalla, New York, U.S., May 7, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

“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 U.S. 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 (MRNA.O) 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 honoring military personnel who died while serving in the U.S. 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 epicenter of the pandemic in the United States, remains under a strict lockdown.

Statewide, the 3-day rolling average for new COVID-19 hospitalizations fell to 335 on Monday from 373 the previous day, Cuomo said. The daily death toll fell by one to 105, he said.

Reporting by Nathan Layne in Wilton, Connecticut and Rajesh Kumar Singh in Chicago, Editing by Franklin Paul and Howard Goller

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