The U.S. coronavirus death toll reached 40,628 by Monday morning as state governors publicly worried they won’t have the amount of tests needed to safely reopen parts of the economy.
“The administration, I think, is trying to ramp up testing. They are doing some things with respect to private labs,” Maryland governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “But to try and push this off to say that the governors have plenty of testing and [that] they should just get to work on testing–somehow we aren’t doing our job–is just absolutely false.”
Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, criticized the lack of a national testing system to coordinate the effort against the pandemic.
“It would be nice if we had a national strategy that was working with every state, so every state knew what was coming,” Whitmer said. Fellow Democratic governor Graham Northam of Virginia complained, “We’ve been fighting every day for PPE. We have supplies now coming in. We’ve been fighting for testing….We don’t even have enough swabs.”
On Saturday, President Trump criticized governors over lack of testing, saying states had enough tests and simply weren’t using them.
“They don’t want to use all of the capacity that we’ve created. We have tremendous capacity,” Trump said at a White House press conference. “They know that. The governors know that. The Democrat governors know that. They’re the ones that are complaining.”
Throughout the past week Trump has also vacillated between claiming that he retained the authority to open states’ economies, a position that drew bipartisan backlash, and recognizing governors’ authority to lift business closures imposed in the wake of the pandemic.