Less friction between Cuomo and Trump as White House testing meet proves civil

President Donald Trump fielding questions from the White House press corps on April 21, 2020. (Photo via Flickr/The White House)

Governor Andrew Cuomo and President Donald Trump had a productive meeting in the Oval Office Tuesday afternoon discussing increased COVID-19 testing capacity and the movement of the USNS Comfort from New York Harbor back to Virginia.

Major cities across the nation are seeing a similar flattening of the curve that New York City has witnessed in recent days, according to a Trump administration official. Cuomo seeks expanded antibody testing as the next benchmark to restoring public health and restarting the economy.

After his meeting with Trump, the governor told MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace that New York will have a more difficult time coming out of isolation and revamping commerce.

“We talked about the issues, we had a broader conversation about the coronavirus, et cetera. He wanted to know what was working in New York, what was not working in New York, what are our challenges ahead were, what we needed from the federal government, how we could see the state and federal government working together,” Cuomo said. “This issue of testing and who does what on testing, we had to get this ironed out, so to speak. This is a very big issue. It’s important for states that have a more difficult time reopening, like New York.”

During a White House press conference Tuesday afternoon, Trump said that he and Cuomo cleared the air on the roles of state and federal government in testing the public — something has been a point of friction between the two over the course of the pandemic.

So it may have been surprising to some Americans watching the conference to hear Trump tell a reporter that he is “proud” of the rapport chiseled out with New York state.

“They’ve been terrific to work with,” Trump said. “The FDA has now authorized more than 50 diagnostic tests including as of late last night the first test that a patient can take home… We also have four different antibody tests already authorized. The tests will help identify individuals who can donate convalescent plasma thus providing potentially life saving antibodies to American patients.”

According to the state, the city has lost up to 10,657 patients who were confirmed, but the estimated figure taking into account suspected cases runs to about 15,522.

Deborah Birx with the State Department said the situation in large metros across the country were similar to downstate New York in the curve was flattening for the time being. The Detroit area and New Orleans are where they started at the “baseline” of cases, Birx said, but Washington D.C. is still lagging behind in improvement.

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