April 19, 2020

Trump has been doing his best to push governors across the country to lift stay-at-home restrictions, consequences be damned. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam gave CNN's Jake Tapper a dose of reality on what will be necessary for governors to safely start to open up their economies, and threw cold water on Trump's happy talk about the states having adequate testing capacity for that to happen any time soon:

TAPPER: This week, you said your state -- or, rather, your commonwealth was slowing the spread of the virus, but that the peak would likely not happen until the end of the month.

With coronavirus cases continuing to climb in Virginia, when do you think that the economy could potentially start to open back up?

NORTHAM: Well, it's a great question, Jake. And I think it's something that governors wrestle with every day.

Today, just as an example, we had close to 500 new cases, close to 20 new deaths. And while we're not seeing a significant increase, it looks like it's flattening out a bit. And so we would like to see at least two weeks of trending numbers going down.

We want to make sure that we have the PPE that we need in our hospitals and our penitentiaries and our nursing homes. We want to ramp up our testing capabilities. And, as soon as we see all these things coming together, we will open up our businesses just as soon as we can.

But we want to make sure that we do it responsibly, and we want to do it safely.


TAPPER: The president and vice president been saying over the past few days that the U.S. has enough testing capacity for states to begin opening back up, if you feel you're ready to go into phase one.

Is that the case in Virginia? Do you have enough tests to do the tests you need to do?

NORTHAM: Jake, that's just delusional to be making statements like that.

We -- we have been fighting every day for PPE. And we have got some supplies now coming in. We have been fighting for testing. It's not a -- it's not a straightforward test. We -- we don't even have enough swabs, believe it or not. And we're ramping that up.

But for the national level say that we have what we need, and really to have no guidance to the state levels, is just irresponsible, because we're not there yet.

Even members of Trump's own "task force" have admitted uncertainty about testing capacity, but that won't stop Trump and Pence from pushing every governor willing to use their constituents as guinea pigs to open things up before it's safe to do so.

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