In a letter sent to governors on Thursday, President Trump said new coronavirus testing will identify "high-risk, medium-risk, and low-risk" counties, and his administration will be able to release new social distancing guidelines based on this information.
These guidelines will help governors decide on "maintaining, increasing, or relaxing social distancing and other mitigation measures they have put in place," Trump wrote. A person with knowledge of the matter told CNN not everyone on the White House Coronavirus Task Force saw Trump's letter before it was made public, and the plan is still being developed.
Health experts have warned that it is way too early for people to ease up on social distancing, especially as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise every day in the United States and hospitals warn that they do not have adequate protective equipment, ventilators, or ICU beds. Trump held a conference call with governors on Thursday, and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) told Trump his state is in desperate need of medical supplies, four people with knowledge of the call told The Washington Post.
Subscribe to The Week
Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.
Inslee reportedly snapped when Trump said his administration serves as "backup" for states, asking Trump to invoke the Defense Production Act and order private companies to make masks and ventilators. The president became defensive and said in recent days, the government has done a lot for Washington. Trump has been urged by business leaders and conservative advisers not to use the Defense Production Act, the Post reports, because it looks too much like socialism.
Continue reading for free
We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.
Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.