Trump condemns criticism for politics tests

Trump condemns criticism for politics tests on Monday, President Trump chuckled at governors calling for more extensive coronavirus research, accusing them of playing politics or simply wasting money in their own states.

Trump and other officials in the administration dedicated a significant portion of the regular coronavirus press briefing to detailing plans to scale up the production of research materials as governors across the country warn that more federal assistance is needed to develop capacity.
The briefing seemed at times intended to specifically condemn the criticism, with Trump arguing that his administration had already done a commendable job and that those who disagreed were trying to score political points.

“Not everybody believes we should do so much testing,” Trump told reporters. “You don’t need so much. We’re talking about maximum, maximum. The reason that the Democrats and some others, maybe, because they don’t know, they want maximum because they want to be able to criticize, because it’s almost impossible to get to the maximum number, and yet we’ve been able to do it already.”

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Democrat, has been called out by Trump many times for criticism. Hogan announced earlier Monday the state had invested around $9 million to buy 500,000 South Korean coronavirus tests.
In the off guard briefing the transaction seemed to capture officials. Vice President Pence, when asked, said that he would follow up with Hogan as Trump went on the offensive.
“I guess he did not need to go to South Korea,” Trump said. “I think he wanted to get some information-it would have been beneficial.” On Monday, Pence and the Coronavirus Task Force of the White House held a call with governors and discussed clinical laboratory locations in each state.

Coordinator of the Pence and Task Force Deborah Birx said states are not making full use of their research resources and both said the call with governors was intended to remedy that.
Yet laboratories around the country complain they face chronic shortages of research materials, such as swabs and reagents, meaning not all analytical devices can be used to their maximum potential.

Coordinator of the Pence and Task Force Deborah Birx said states are not making full use of their research resources and both said the call with governors was intended to remedy that.

Yet laboratories around the country complain they face chronic shortages of research materials, such as swabs and reagents, meaning not all analytical devices can be used to their maximum potential.

Hogan said on Monday that he thought that the White House was not telling him anything new about his situation.
“We already knew where the laboratories were. Some of those on the list were government laboratories,” Hogan said, like the National Institutes of Health (NIH). “We have been working for more than a month now to get NIH to support us with research.”

Hogan said he welcomed some of the administration’s attempts to alleviate the research shortage, such as producing swabs using the Defense Production Act.
“But the administration has made it clear time and again that they want the states to take the lead, so we need to go out and do it ourselves, and that’s exactly what we’ve done,” Hogan said.
Trump also complained about Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, claiming that the Democrat had “not grasped” the testing potential of his own Government.

Trump faced criticism for downplaying the virus threat early in the pandemic and his administration also took heat from research delays that hindered the ability of the country to respond to the outbreak. Authorities previously announced tens of millions of tests will be available by the end of March, but so far there have been only 4 million tests.
Officials attributed the pause to a lack of supplies but the administration has projected more confidence about its growing potential in recent days.

Brad Smith, who works at the Medicare and Medicaid Services Centers, said Monday that the government was expecting millions of additional swabs, cartridges and collection tubes needed to conduct testing in the coming weeks.
White House officials meanwhile reiterated on Monday that states have enough coronavirus tests to enter into phase one of the government’s program to re-open the economy.
Adm. Brett Giroir, the research czar of the administration, said the aim of going past phase one would be to check “someone who’s asymptomatic” and overestimate the susceptible population to get a better understanding of whether the virus is prevalent.

The administration said it is currently studying about 150,000 individuals a day, a number of experts said it would increase significantly to safely ease back steps of social distancing.
Researchers at Harvard University on Monday said the U.S. would need to conduct 20 million mid-summer coronavirus tests per day to safely eradicate the economy.
Scott Gottlieb, former head of the Food and Drug Administration, said Monday that the country would need about 3 million tests each week. A separate report from Harvard researchers said the U.S. would have to start reopening between 500,000 and 700,00 tests a day by mid-May.

Trump, who seldom admits any errors or accepts that the federal government can do more to fight the virus, has turned his attention to the research issue in recent days.
He has consistently made governors responsible for overseeing their own test sites and purchasing their own resources while the federal government plays a secondary role.
“What you heard from the Radical Left last month, Do Nothing Democrats was, ‘Fans, Ventilators, Ventilators.’ They screamed loud and simple, and thought they had us cold, as though it was the job of the State,” Trump tweeted earlier Monday.

“So everybody had their Vs, with plenty to spare. They’re now shouting ‘Testing, Testing, Testing,’ playing a very dangerous political game again,” he concluded. “States should be doing the Monitoring, not the Federal Government-so we will collaborate with the Governors to get it done.”

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