Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont questioned the slow response of the federal government to dealing with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, warning that the country is not yet “close” to dealing adequately with the outbreak.
Lamont, like the governors of several other states and cities, ordered the closure of bars, restaurants, gyms and movie theaters on Monday morning. Speaking to CNN on Monday as well, the Democratic governor said he and the leaders of other states had “stepped up” to tackle the crisis, suggesting there was a lack of leadership from the federal government.
“Look, I don’t know where the federal government was. We should have been doing this, you know, eight weeks ago,” he said, discussing the lack of testing for coronavirus nationwide. “We could have isolated people early on, when we found out they were carriers.”
“But that said, I think the governors have stepped up,” he said, highlighting the steps his state has taken to roll out testing and impede the spread of coronavirus. “Are we close to where we ought to be?” he asked. “No. But we’re catching up.”
Asked if his state had enough tests, Lamont answered: “no.”
The Connecticut governor’s remarks echoed those of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo earlier in the day to CNN, as well as in a telephone press conference alongside Lamont and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.
“We need the federal government to do a better job. They have been behind from day one,” Cuomo said during the press conference. He complained that “the feds have been asleep at the switch.”
In comments to CNN, Cuomo said: “We knew it was in China in November and then we look like we got caught by surprise and we’re always playing catch-up.”
“The coming crisis is overwhelming our health care system. That is going to happen,” the New York governor added. “The federal government has to step up.”
President Donald Trump and his administration have drawn substantial criticism from health experts and Democratic lawmakers for their slow response to the pandemic. While South Korea, China and other countries quickly began carrying out thousands of tests per day as well as intensive quarantine measures, the U.S. has struggled to roll out testing.
As a result, health officials believe the number of confirmed cases is far below the national total. Amy Action, the director of Ohio’s Department of Health, estimated that there were at least 100,000 infections in their state alone last week, while the confirmed national total is currently just over 3,800, according to a tracking map created by Johns Hopkins University.
But Trump has also attempted to shift the blame for the mismanagement of the crisis to local officials.
“The individual Governors of States, and local officials, must step up their efforts on drive up testing and testing sights, working in conjunction with @CDCgov and the Federal Government!” he tweeted Sunday.
“Just had a very good tele-conference with Nations’s Governors. Went very well. Cuomo of New York has to ‘do more’,” Trump tweeted on Monday.