April 13, 2020
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on April 10 that millions of COVID-19 tests must be administered nationwide, if the country’s economy is going to reopen safely and effectively, according to a report by The Hill.
“This is going to be a horrendous transformational period for us,” Cuomo said in an appearance on MSNBC‘s Morning Joe.
“I don’t think we ever get back to normal. I think this is one of the new normals now in public health,” he said.
“This is such an important period for government and the political discussion,” Cuomo said. “Nothing is pre-charted here. It’s all a function of what we do.”
He added: “How good are we at getting this testing up? Are we better than we’ve been in the past? Is it going to take us months to come to scale on rapid testing? That’s the only way to get people back to work. You have to have millions and millions of tests, frankly, better and faster than we’ve done to date.”
This isn’t the first time that Cuomo has signaled that widespread testing to see who has had the virus is essential to America’s ability to get its people back to work, The Hill said.
Cuomo has said that New York State has developed a test that sees whether a person has developed antibodies to fight COVID-19. It has been well-documented that not everyone who contracted the virus will show outward symptoms consistent with the disease.
“We cannot restart life as we knew it without testing,” he tweeted earlier this week.
But Cuomo’s stance on testing differs from President Trump’s opinion on the matter, The Hill noted. In his daily coronavirus press briefing Thursday, Trump punted when asked about the need for widespread testing—saying that it would be nice but not required.
“We want to have it and we’re going to see if we have it. Do you need it? No. Is it a nice thing to do? Yes,” Trump said. “We’re talking about 325 million people. And that’s not going to happen, as you can imagine, and it would never happen with anyone else either.”
Trump has expressed optimism that the country could start to ease social distancing recommendations by early May. The White House’s social distancing guidelines run through the end of April.
Cuomo isn’t alone in his call for comprehensive testing, though.
“In a setting where there will still be spread and we’ll still be slowly exiting the epidemic; we need capacity to test several million people a week (and probably more) to get broad enough coverage in community to detect outbreaks early and make case containment strategies work,” Scott Gottlieb, Trump’s former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, tweeted Thursday.
According to the COVID Tracking Project, the United States has tested about 960,000 people in the past week.
Research contact: @thehill