At a White House briefing Sunday, President Donald Trump highlighted the bipartisan nature of COVID-19 response efforts and addressed calls by state governors for more federal help to expand testing.
"This is being fought in this country, but it’s being fought in 184 countries all over the world. It’s terrible," Trump said, likening the response to a wartime effort.
Trump said Vice President Mike Pence would lead a call with state governors on Monday to explore ways to enhance the all-government response to the virus and "to develop locally tailored testing strategies."
It comes in response to calls for a national testing strategy to help secure in-demand supplies like testing swabs and chemical reagents.
"Many governors are doing this incredible work and they’re working with us very closely on testing and working in their states. And again, it should be a local thing because [...] it’s all these points within a state," Trump said, adding, "we’re helping them a lot and we want to help them a lot."
The president said he would be using the Defense Production Act with respect to one company to increase swab production for tests.
Officials and health experts say the country needs to dramatically scale its testing infrastructure if it is going to safely roll back restrictions and reopen businesses without risking a major spike in infections.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious diseases expert, told ABC's “Good Morning America” Monday morning that the nation is currently running about 1.5 million to 2 million tests per week. But, “we really need to get up to, at least, you know, maybe two times that, three times that.”
“So we really gotta help them to get to it. And that’s what’s being done right now, to try to make the connectivity between what’s unused capacity as well as tests within that capacity to help them," Fauci said. "We gotta keep going. It’s gotta be done together really in a partnership.”
Trump said that, so far, 4.18 million people have been tested for COVID-19 in America and called on governors to work together to enhance response efforts.
"We’re encouraging them to share their successful strategies with other governors. Some of the governors are doing a better job than others. The robust capacity that we’ve brought online will empower governors to deploy sophisticated strategies so they can safely reopen their states," Trump said.
The administration is engaged in a delicate balancing act between protecting people from the CCP virus and restarting economic activity so Americans have the means to keep a roof over their heads and get enough to eat.
Spurred by growing lockdown fatigue, more people took to the streets over the weekend calling for a faster end to the lockdowns.