Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer defended her response to the state’s coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday.
The segment follows a briefing from the White House coronavirus task force on Saturday, where President Donald Trump called on all governors to "unlock the vast testing capacity that exists in their states.”
However, in Sunday’s Meet the Press, Whitmer and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said they are unable to ramp up their states’ COVID-19 testing due to the lack of swabs and reagents -- a mixture used for chemical analysis in the test. The governors said that the states could increase the number of tests conducted by two or three times, but first require assistance from the federal government to acquire the needed supplies.
“We have the capacity to double or triple the number of tests that we’re doing, but we need some of these supplies," Whitmer said. "If the federal government would use the Defense Production Act and say ‘we’re going to make every swab people need and we’re gonna expedite creation of the reagents,’ we would be able to know how prevalent COVID-19 is. It would take down the risks associated with taking action to reengage parts of our economy, because we would have a lot more data about how prevalent COVID-19 still is in our states.”
Across the country, states are facing a critical shortage of supplies needed to increase their COVID-19 testing capabilities. Experts say that testing must increase significantly to contain the virus.
In addition to supply shortages, Whitmer is facing backlash for her stay-at-home order amid the state’s COVID-19 crisis.
Thousands of Michigan residents congregated in Lansing on Wednesday to protest the order, claiming its restrictions are excessive.