Vice President Mike Pence says he’s confident that states are moving “in a responsible way” in their plans to reopen their economies, despite the failures of many governors to follow federal guidelines.
Pence made the comments during a visit to deliver personal protective equipment to a nursing home in Alexandria, Virginia.
Pence told reporters it was just “one installment of deliveries that will go from FEMA to 15,400 nursing homes across the country.”
Asked how he feels about so many states reopening their economies without meeting federal guidelines and as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise, Pence said the task force guidance was just “recommendations.” And he said he believes governors are acting appropriately.
“They’re following the data, they’re following the science. And they’re implementing the kind of of testing and and resource assessment that is contemplated in the president’s guidelines to open up America again,” Pence said.
As of Thursday about half of the 50 states are easing their shutdowns, to the alarm of public health officials. Many have not put in place the robust testing and contact tracing that experts believe is necessary to detect and contain new outbreaks.
And many governors have pressed ahead with reopening before their states met one of the key benchmarks in the Trump administration’s guidelines — a 14-day downward trajectory in new infections.
Despite that trend, Pence said he has “great confidence” the states “taking the guidance from federal level, they’re applying it to their unique circumstances in their states.”
Researchers recently doubled their projection of deaths in the U.S. to about 134,000 through early August. So far the U.S. has recorded over 70,000 deaths and 1.2 million confirmed infections.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover from the new virus.