(The Center Square) – President Donald Trump on Monday struck an optimistic tone about the country’s efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, saying federal guidelines and efforts to ramp up testing are working.
“It’s clear that our aggressive strategy to slow the spread is working and is saving thousands of lives,” Trump said. “We’ve launched the most ambitious testing effort than anywhere on earth.”
The president thanked private businesses that have stepped up to produce new ventilators, personal protective equipment and testing products. The CEOs of several companies, including Walmart, Quest Diagnostics, Rite Aid, Kroger and others that adjusted to help with the U.S. fight against the novel coronavirus, were asked to offer brief comments about their efforts.
Quest Diagnostics Chairman and CEO Steve Rustkowski said his company will have conducted 10 million tests by the end of May, for example.
“Every day it gets better,” Trump said, standing near a sign that read “Opening up America again.” “We are continuing to rapidly expand our capacity and confident that we have enough testing to begin reopening and the reopening process. We want to get our country open. And the testing is not going to be a problem at all. In fact it’s going to be one of the great assets that we have.”
State officials under stay-at-home orders say that increased testing and tracing will be key to reopening their economies.
More than 55,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the U.S. as the number of confirmed cases nears 1 million.
On Monday, Colorado’s stay-at-home order expired and has been replaced with what Gov. Jared Polis calls a safer-at-home order. Polis’ order allows for counties to adopt the safer-at-home guidelines, extend the stay-at-home orders, or apply with the state for early rollback of guidelines. Pitkin, Chaffee, Las Animas and Huerfano counties are enforcing stay-at-home orders until April 30. San Miguel County said Monday it was extending its order until Friday, May 1.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday that he was easing restrictions beginning Monday.
Stay -at-home orders that closed “nonessential” businesses have led to more than 26 million people in the U.S. filing for unemployment benefits over the past five weeks.