While several governors said that they are facing shortages of critical supplies to conduct coronavirus tests, the United States President Donald Trump reportedly blamed the governors for not making full use of testing capacity in their states. On April 18, during a briefing at the White House, Trump said that the governors don’t want to use all of the capacity that the authorities have created. He said that the US has ‘tremendous capacity’ and the governors know that.
The federal government has been repeatedly pressed for more help to address testing shortages. Trump also said that his administration is working with governors to help them ‘find and unlock’ the cast unused testing capacity that exists in their states. The US President criticised the governors and said that it was their fault for not making use of the capacity. He said that the private labs with testing capacity are ‘waiting for business from these governors’.
Though the US President lambasted governors, his own health experts have acknowledged shortfalls in testing around the country. Both, Republican and Democrats, have said that they are facing shortages of crucial testing supplies, which has hampered their ability to dramatically scale up testing to the point that is needed. Meanwhile, Trump has repeatedly deflected criticism of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and reportedly said that he doesn’t take ‘any responsibility at all’ for his administration’s slow rollout of nationwide testing during the early weeks of the virus’s spread.
Trump’s comments come after White House released a three-phase plan to re-open America for ‘rejuvenation of economy’, once states fulfill a particular set of conditions. Phase one included vulnerable individuals to remain at home and public gatherings will be restricted to 10 people, with employers encouraging to work remotely and allowing limited essential travel. While bars will remain shut, gyms will be allowed to open along with hospitals resuming the elective surgeries.
In phase 2 states showing ‘no evidence of a rebound’, the number of people allowed will be increased to 50, keeping vulnerable people confined to their homes, but opening schools and youth activities, along with bars. In phase 3, states showing no cases of re-infections, vulnerable individuals will be allowed in public, staffing at full capacity and bars will be allowed to operate with a larger capacity. Currently, the US has 738,913 cases with around 39,015 deaths.