WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday he was working with state governors to make sure they had the resources needed to ramp up coronavirus testing and added that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo would visit the White House to discuss the response to the pandemic.
At a White House briefing, Trump urged Americans to continue social-distancing efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus, even as protesters across the country demanded an end to mandatory lockdowns and a quick reopening of the economy.
“During this time, Americans must maintain strict vigilance and continue to practice careful hygiene, social distancing and the other protective measures that we have outlined,” Trump said.
Vice President Mike Pence had a call with governors to discuss the response on Monday. Trump, who has been criticized for not offering states enough support in testing for coronavirus, said it was “a great call, very positive.”
“Prior to the call, we provided each governor with a list of the names, addresses and phone numbers of labs where they can find additional testing capacity within their states,” Trump said.
Cuomo, who has been one of the most outspoken critics of Trump’s coronavirus response, will visit the White House on Tuesday afternoon, Trump said.
“They’re getting it together in New York,” Trump said of the state, which has been an epicenter for the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan told reporters after the call with Pence that she had asked the vice president for federal officials to speak out in support of social-distancing restrictions imposed by state leaders.
She said Pence, who is leading the Trump administration’s pandemic response, vowed on the call to do as she requested.
At the White House briefing, Pence said the United States had enough testing nationwide to allow any state to start lifting lockdown orders forced by the coronavirus, if they have met other criteria including 14 days of declines in infections and enough hospital capacity to treat everyone who gets sick.
(Reporting by Amanda Becker and Jeff Mason in Washington; Editing by Chris Reese and Peter Cooney)