Governors in the northeastern and western coasts announced Monday they would roll out regional reopening plans after coronavirus danger has passed, but President Donald Trump tweeted that reopening the country was his job.
New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that a seven-state regional task force would work together to coordinate the post-COVID-19 reopening of the economy in the northeast. States included states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Rhode Island.
“Everyone is very anxious to get out of the house, get back to work, get the economy moving,” Cuomo said. New York’s governor stressed that reopening needed to be “smart” and “in coordination with the other states that are in the area.”
A 21-member task force consisting of members of each state’s governor’s office, a state health board member and an economic development officer, will begin hammering out the plan Tuesday, Cuomo said. He invited other states in the region to join the coalition.
The contagion appears to have peaked, Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday.
“We’re controlling the spread,” Cuomo said. “The worst can be over, and is over, unless we do something reckless.”
Last month, governors from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut coordinated to shut down non-essential businesses in the tri-state area.
On the West Coast, Washington’s Gov. Jay Inslee announced an agreement on Monday between himself and California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown. The pact calls for a “shared vision” for reopening their economies along the Pacific coastline.
While each state agreed they would develop their own plans, all three state governments agreed on a framework that emphasized the importance of residents’ health coming first.
“We need to see a decline in the rate of spread of the virus before large-scale reopening, and we will be working in coordination to identify the best metrics to guide this,” the governors said in a statement.
Meanwhile, after telling state governors they were on their own to obtain medical supplies for the coronavirus crisis, Trump announced on Twitter that he, not the governors, would be in charge of lifting the economic lockdowns.
“For the purpose of creating conflict and confusion, some in the Fake News Media are saying that it is the Governors decision to open up the states, not that of the President of the United States & the Federal Government. Let it be fully understood that this is incorrect….” Trump tweeted Monday morning.
“….It is the decision of the President, and for many good reasons. With that being said, the Administration and I are working closely with the Governors, and this will continue. A decision by me, in conjunction with the Governors and input from others, will be made shortly!” Trump continued.
During a briefing by the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Trump said the decision by the states would not undermine his plan to reopen the country and said he does not expect states to reopen.
Trump had originally said in March he wanted to reopen the country by Easter Sunday, but backed down after advice from federal health officials.
On Sunday, some administrators for federal agencies said the United States might be ready soon for a cautious re-opening of the economy.
Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn told ABC News ‘This Week’ that models showed the United States was “very close to the peak,” of the COVID-19 outbreak.
On CNN’s State of the Union, White House health adviser Anthony Fauci said a “rolling reentry” was necessary to decrease the possibility of a second wave of the virus.
“It’s going to be depending where you are in the country, the nature of the outbreak that you have already experienced,” Fauci said. “And the threat of an outbreak that you may not have experienced.”
The United States reported 572,587 cases of COVID-19 on Monday, with more than 23,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University online tracker.
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