Governor Andrew Cuomo is scheduled to meet with President Donald Trump in Washington, DC, Tuesday afternoon where he told reporters he would negotiate for federal support for expanded COVID-19 testing through the leveraging of the national manufacturing supply chain.
Whether this will solve the capacity problems in deploying widespread testing across New York State, Cuomo said he was not certain. However, the governor did acknowledge the president’s point that the unprecedented effort to identify infected individuals and trace their contacts would yield unavoidable torrents of criticism.
“This is all new and, look, it’s a situation that is very difficult and it is a situation that however you do it, it’s going to be a blame game afterward,” Cuomo said. “This is one of those thankless tasks, trust me. It is one of those tasks that when you get to the end of it, everybody is going to be able to say, you didn’t do enough… but it is a situation where you need everybody to work together and understand who is in a better position to do what.”
Cuomo said New York has a 200-lab capacity for testing and is doing testing at a higher rate than other states, likening testing to crossing a swamp stone-to-stone and then knowing when the state is on firm enough footing to take the next step, which would be reopening the economy and public spaces.
Cuomo said it should not have been necessary for Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to work directly with South Korea to buy 500,000 test kits. Other governors should not be blamed for not doing the same, Cuomo said.
“God bless Governor Hogan, but you shouldn’t expect all these governors to go around the international supply chain while they’re trying to put together a testing protocol in their state,” the governor said. “Just don’t give me guilt and make me look bad to my family and my state when Governor Hogan goes to South Korea and buys all the test kits.”
Deaths attributed to COVID-19 across New York State on April 20 numbered 481 and new hospitalizations remained relatively flat at 1,300, approximately the level seen over the past several days.