US coronavirus update: Cases approach 1 million
President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and members of the coronavirus task force briefed the nation’s governors Monday afternoon on a new testing blueprint.
According to audio of the call obtained by CNN, Trump said the US has now completed 5.4 million tests and the number of tests being performed each day has “began to skyrocket,” citing more than 200,000 tests performed last Wednesday. He praised governors who have implemented testing strategies and contracted with the public and private sector to get what they need.
“As the rate of new cases continues to decline, we’re glad to hear more than half of our nations governors have announced plans to begin as a phased opening up of your states. I hope that’s going to continue because people want to see these states open,” he said. “There is a thirst to get back to business, and whatever you can do. Make them safe but I think you have a lot of people wanting to see this open.”
Trump noted newly-released funding for the Paycheck Protection Program.
He then told the governors that as long as they continue to combat the virus with “unity, strength and resolve” – “for the most part… not in all cases but for the most part we have” — that the US would get “safely and confidently back to work.”
Trump turned the call over to Pence, who said that Monday’s blueprint announcement is a “continuation” of the April 16 phased reopening guidelines.
“It is science-based and, hopefully, will give you great confidence going forward,” Pence said, noting that the task force believes there is currently the testing capacity for every state to meet the testing criteria for phase one.
“We’ve seen a rapid expansion of testing,” Pence said.