President Trump said he was considering a quarantine as early as Saturday for coronavirus hotspots in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, though it wasn't clear whether he had the power to order state residents to stay put, the AP reports. Trump told reporters that he had spoken with Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, among others, and that "a lot of the states that are infected but don’t have a big problem, they’ve asked me if I’ll look at it, so we’re going to look at it.” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who criticized the federal government’s response as his state became the country's virus epicenter, said the issue did not come up in a conversation he had with Trump earlier Saturday. "I don’t even know what that means," the Democrat said in New York.
"I don't know how that could be legally enforceable, and from a medical point of view, I don’t know what you would be accomplishing. ... I don't like the sound of it," Cuomo added. Trump made his remarks while on a trip to Norfolk, Virginia, to see off a US Navy hospital ship heading to New York City to help with the pandemic. At the event, he spoke to a sparse crowd and cautioned Americans to take virus protections. The federal government is empowered to take measures to prevent the spread of communicable diseases between states, but it's not clear that means Trump can ban people from leaving their state. It has never been tested in the modern era — and in rare cases when any quarantine was challenged, the courts generally sided with public health officials. (Meanwhile, four states have targeted fleeing New Yorkers.)