New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday said President Trump is right to say that testing for the new coronavirus should primarily be a state responsibility, but that the federal government can step in to help on supply chain issues for testing materials.
“The president is right … testing is up to the states, which will implement the tests and logistically coordinate the tests,” Mr. Cuomo said at his daily briefing on the COVID-19 outbreak in his state.
He said there are about 300 state-regulated labs in New York that simply can’t ramp up testing because they can’t obtain the necessary equipment from national manufacturers.
“This is a quagmire because it’s not just funding,” the governor said.
He said he’s offered money to national manufacturers but has been told they can’t get the proper chemicals that might come from overseas, or they can’t make vials and swabs fast enough.
“So I don’t know what’s right or what’s wrong with that national supply chain question, but that’s where the federal government could help,” Mr. Cuomo said. “Should the states take the lead on the tests? Yes … but we need the volume, and the volume will be determined by how well those national manufacturers provide the kits to the 300 labs in New York.”
He also said contact tracing, a labor-intensive process where people in proximity to a person who tested positive are tracked, should be a state responsibility as well.
“Anything that is granular and specific … leave that to the state government,” he said.
Mr. Trump on Monday said Democrats were playing a dangerous game by sounding the alarm on testing.
“States, not the Federal Government, should be doing the Testing - But we will work with the Governors and get it done,” the president said on Twitter.
Mr. Cuomo also said the coronavirus outbreak in his state has stabilized to the point where it’s likely time to start asking how long the “descent” from the apex of the crisis will be.
He reported 478 new coronavirus-related deaths in the state, though that was down from the daily numbers over the past week or so.
The governor also reported that hospitalizations and intubations were continuing to trend downward while cautioning that the state isn’t out of the woods yet.
“The question now is, assuming we’re off the plateau and we’re seeing a descent … the numbers would suggest we’re seeing a descent,” he said. “The question is now how long is the descent and how steep is the descent? And nobody knows.”
There are more than 240,000 positive coronavirus cases in New York and more than 14,000 deaths — both the most out of any U.S. state — among a population of close to 20 million people.
More than 600,000 people in the state have been tested.