VICE President Mike Pence said all the states have enough coronavirus tests to enter phase one of reopening – but it’s up to the governors.
Pence made the comments during a COVID-19 press briefing Friday, saying “states today have enough tests to implement the criteria of phase one, if they choose to do so.”
As of Thursday, the US has done more than 3.78 million tests – with over 1.2 million tests reported just in the last week – according to the White House Coronavirus task force.
Echoing Pence’s statement, President Trump said governors should take responsibility and slammed “false reporting” on the testing situation.
“Everything is perfect,” he declared. “It’s going to be up to the states to use that capability.”
“Certain states are going to come online and start the early stages of the puzzle we’re putting together.
“At some point, in the not too distant future, we’re going to get our country back.”
Dr Deborah Birx and Dr Anthony Fauci explained the difference between being tested for currently having the infection versus antibody testing, while emphasizing the need for contact tracing in stopping the spread.
Despite Trump’s push to reopen the country and restart the economy, some governors are reluctant to lift their emergency orders.
Hours before the press conference, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the federal government shouldn’t “pass the buck without passing the bucks.”
Senator Chuck Schumer – who wants $30 billion more for testing – said “Trump needs to get testing under control NOW” on Twitter during the president’s address.
As testing ramps up around the country, protests exploded in at least nine different states as people decry strict stay-home measures and COVID deaths overwhelm medical facilities.
“These are people expressing their views. I see who they are,” Trump said.
“They seem to be very responsible people to me, but it’s clear they’ve been treated a little bit rough.”
The president presented his “Opening Up America Again” guidelines yesterday.
If certain states meet 14-day “gating” criteria with declining patients, confirmed cases, and hospital readiness, they can start the phased process.
Phase One retains social distancing, allows no gatherings of more than 10 people, and avoiding unnecessary travel.
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In Phase Two, regions – that have twice met the criteria with no “rebound” in infections – implement limited social distancing, avoid large gatherings but non-essential travel is allowed.
After meeting the criteria three times, vulnerable people will be allowed to go out in public, bars, gym, restaurants, and movie theaters, while churches and sports venues will reopen at a reduced capacity.
There have been 686,991 infections as the death toll surged to 36,721.
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