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Trump, governors clash over path to reopening U.S. economy

President Trump and some state governors are arguing over who should decide how to reopen the U.S. economy after the coronavirus pandemic -- and when. Meanwhile, New York’s death toll from COVID-19 has passed 10,000, and meat-processing plants in Pennsylvania and South Dakota are closing after hundreds of their workers tested positive for the virus. Stephanie Sy reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    The COVID-19 pandemic is pushing past new milestones tonight. Some two million people have been infected worldwide, and 125,000 have died.

    The U.S. toll exceeds 26,000 dead. That includes 10,000 in New York City, where officials added hundreds of presumed victims who never tested positive.

    All of this as a struggle begins over what happens next.

    Stephanie Sy begins our coverage.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    A battle is brewing over who has the power to reopen the country, the states or President Trump.

    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo rejected the president's claim that he has absolute authority to make that decision.

  • Governor Andrew Cuomo:

    We don't have a king in this country. We didn't want a king, so we have a Constitution, and we elect a president.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    President Trump fired back over Twitter, writing — quote — "Cuomo's been begging for everything. I got it all done, and now he seems to want independence. That won't happen."

    The Democratic governor refused to take the bait in his daily briefing.

  • Governor Andrew Cuomo:

    The president is clearly spoiling for a fight on this issue. The worst thing we can do in all of this is start with political division. The president will have no fight with me. I will not engage in it.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    Cuomo wasn't the only governor to speak out. On Monday, Maryland's Republican Governor Larry Hogan told CNN that President Trump's claim of total authority was — quote — "not my understanding of the Constitution."

    While the federal government does have broad constitutional authority, the 10th Amendment grants states the powers not specifically delegated to Washington.

    Still, the Trump administration is working to form its own team to determine how and when to get the nation's economy back up and running.

    California Governor Gavin Newsom said today, his state is moving forward with its own plan to lift restrictions.

  • Governor Gavin Newsom:

    You may be having dinner with a waiter wearing gloves, maybe a face mask, dinner where the menu is disposable, where the tables — half of the tables in that restaurant no longer appear, where your temperature is checked before you walk in to the establishment. These are likely scenarios as we start to process the next phase.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    That comes a day after six Northeastern states announced they will work to coordinate their reopening plans.

    Today, the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, warned increased quality testing is key to determining when to reopen.

  • Anthony Fauci:

    We have to have something in place that is efficient and that we can rely on. And we're not there yet. Ultimately, the virus is going to determine when we really can safely reopen, not only in general, but in a particular location.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    Some help is on the way. Today, South Korea sent a shipment of kits to the U.S. that are capable of running some 600,000 tests.

  • President Donald Trump:

    We're winning our battle. We're winning our war.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    In the meantime, the president met with COVID-19 survivors at the White House.

  • President Donald Trump:

    They have minimum numbers of 100,000, and I think we're going to beat that — 100,000 deaths, can you believe that? That was a minimum. So we made the right moves. Now we have to get our country open again.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    But amid all the talk of reopenings, new closures have been ordered at meat processing plants in South Dakota and Pennsylvania, after hundreds of workers tested positive for the virus.

    One of those plants in South Dakota produces 5 percent of the U.S. pork supply, raising fears about possible meat shortages at supermarkets.

    With many out of work, food pantries nationwide are already seeing high demand. Like others, Ruby's food pantry in Green Bay, Wisconsin, has turned to drive-through distribution to keep staff and recipients at a safe distance.

  • Aaron Schaut:

    They will just pull right on through, and we have volunteers that will bring it right out. They just pop their trunk open. We set it right in their trunk for them, close the trunk, and away they go.

  • Man:

    You're all set.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    Overseas, Austria is one of the latest countries to ease its lockdowns, reopening small retailers and garden stores.

    In Spain, the number of COVID-19 infections and deaths rose slightly, after several days of declines.

    And the world's largest lockdown, in India, has been extended two more weeks for the country's 1.3 billion people.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Stephanie Sy.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Also today, the U.S. Treasury announced that the six largest U.S. airlines have agreed in principal to a payroll support package totaling $25 billion.

    And the International Monetary Fund warned that this pandemic will very likely cause the worst worldwide downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s. It predicted a partial rebound, but not until next year.

    Even so, Wall Street rallied today on talk of reopening businesses. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 559 points to close at 23949. The Nasdaq rose 323 points, and the S&P 500 added 84.

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