New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) has joined those publicly calling on the president to stop meandering around and invoke the Defense Production Act to help deal with crucial supply shortages around the U.S. amidst the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak. Supply shortages that the president has actively sought to tamp down reports of include basic medical items like personal protective equipment. At his Friday press conference, Cuomo insisted that the president should invoke the act specifically to order the production of needed Coronavirus testing supplies, which could be crucial to the careful prevention and mitigation efforts that would be necessary for a safe reopening of the economy, which has closed amidst social distancing measures.
Explaining that the state of New York, which has been the hardest hit in the entire country, itself only has the capacity for several thousand Coronavirus tests per week, Cuomo insisted:
‘We need an unprecedented mobilization where the government can produce these tests in the millions… We have 9 million people we want to get back to work. We need more than several thousand tests per week if this is going to happen anytime soon… Let’s get the testing up to scale quickly so we can start building the bridge to reopening the economy.’
The private sector has been conducting significant levels of testing for some time now, but shortages in crucial testing supplies have persisted anyway, months into the outbreak. The private organizations that have stepped up already and participated in the testing surge may not be enough to meet the virus-tracking needs that stand in the way of the economic reopening that Trump seems so desperately keen on.
Trump, for his part, has both dismissed the importance of ramping up testing capabilities and insisted upon prioritizing economic recovery to the point that he insisted the horrors of the virus “must be quickly forgotten” once the thick of the storm passes. More New Yorkers have died from the Coronavirus this week alone than died on 9/11, and Trump wants the situation quickly forgotten by society at large in favor of his supposed big beautiful economic recovery.
Once we OPEN UP OUR GREAT COUNTRY, and it will be sooner rather than later, the horror of the Invisible Enemy, except for those that sadly lost a family member or friend, must be quickly forgotten. Our Economy will BOOM, perhaps like never before!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 8, 2020
As for testing, he insisted:
‘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. 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.’
What, does he think that he can just wish the need for testing away? Every single American doesn’t need a test before the economy reopens. But reopening with current shortages, which make tracking the virus long-term difficult, could be disastrous.
So far, Trump has only invoked the powers of the Defense Production Act in fits and starts, frequently discussing the act getting used “against” companies as if it’s some kind of bludgeon for the president to use against his political opponents.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has called the president’s repeated dismissals of the problem in favor of focusing on his supposed greatness “deadly.”