Governors press for testing help as U.S. virus death toll hits 41,000

With President Donald Trump ready for states to re-open for business, a series of governors said this weekend that they still need more federal help in securing needed Coronavirus testing to pave the way for relaxed restrictions, as the White House said over 41,000 people have now died from the virus outbreak since the first death in late February.

"More than 746,000 Americans have tested positive for the Coronavirus. Fortunately, more than 68,000 Americans have fully recovered," Vice President Mike Pence said at a Sunday briefing. "But sadly, more than 41,000 Americans have lost their lives."

The Vice President said conditions seemed to be improving overall in terms of infection numbers in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island, and were seen as stable in Detroit, New Orleans and Denver.

"Areas that we continue to watch carefully on the task force include the Chicago metro area, Boston metro, and the Philadelphia metropolitan area," Pence added.

Pence said he would speak Monday with governors from around the nation about ways to help them bolster testing resources, as governors in both parties say they need help, and dismissed talk from the President that they have more than enough testing resources already.

"That’s just not being straightforward," Republican Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland told CNN on Sunday.

The big problems for the states right now are a lack of swab for testing, and then a shortage of the chemicals - known as reagents - which make it possible to accurately conduct the tests.

"They bought the machine, they have the machine, they have the test, but they need the reagents to do a higher volume of tests," said Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), who again this week publicly pestered President Trump to do more about testing.

"We can’t get these other chemicals that we need to test," Cuomo told reporters.

At the White House on Sunday, the President alternated between saying that the feds would help the states, and that the states were on their own when it comes to testing.

"It's a local thing," he said several times.

As has become almost a ritual for the Coronavirus briefing, the President sparred with reporters who did not ask questions that he liked.

"Just relax," he told one woman reporter, as he told her to 'keep your voice down.'

"You should say thank you very much for good judgment," as he said the news media was not giving him proper credit for fighting the virus.

"Report accurately, because you are one of the most inaccurate reporters," he said to another woman, who was pressing him about requests by Gov. Cuomo for testing help.

The President did not answer that query and others, making it clear to reporters that he wanted to hear them say positive things about the U.S. government work on the virus.

"Because you don't have the brains you were born with," the President said to another reporter. "You should be praising the people that have done a good job."

"They did say Abraham Lincoln had very bad treatment, too," Mr. Trump added later.