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Why Larry Hogan is proud of fellow governors’ response to COVID-19

Governors across the country are working together to ensure frontline medical workers receive the protective gear that can keep them from contracting or transmitting COVID-19. Maryland’s Larry Hogan is the chairman of the National Governors Association, and he joins Judy Woodruff to discuss the ongoing effort to “catch up” to the crisis and why he feels proud of how U.S. governors are responding.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    As hospitals in coronavirus hot spots brace for difficult weeks ahead, governors across the country are working together to ensure front-line medical workers get the critical protective gear.

    Maryland's Governor Larry Hogan is the chairman of the National Governors Association. And he joins us now from Annapolis.

    Governor Hogan, welcome back to the "NewsHour."

    Your state of Maryland, we believe, has now passed 4,300 cases, surpassed 100 deaths. In any way, do you feel you're getting your arms around this?

  • Governor Larry Hogan:

    Well, it's very hard to ever feel like you're getting your arms around it.

    I mean, I feel like we're as prepared as we possibly could be. I was one of the first in the country to declare a state of emergency. And we have taken unprecedented actions every single day for the past 33 days.

    But, like everyone, we're trying to play catchup and try to stay one step ahead of it, but it's a very difficult crisis, for anybody to say that, you know, you — we have got our arms wrapped around it.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    What do you most need right now?

    As you know, so much conversation about governors having a hard time getting the equipment, getting the supplies they need. What is the most critical to you now?

  • Governor Larry Hogan:

    Well, it's the same for every governor, I think, Judy.

    It's the same thing that you keep hearing about. And it's — the most difficult thing, I would say, right now is ventilators. And we were successful in getting a couple of hundred ventilators from the administration, a commitment of 200 more ventilators.

    That's what New York is being faced with right now. It's just — but it's PPE. It's all the protective equipment that we need for our hospitals and our health care workers. It's testing and testing kits. And that's just something that all of us are dealing with. We're searching for these things all over the domestic market, all over the world.

    And we're asking our federal partners for their help as well. But no governor is sitting by just waiting for these things to arrive. Everybody's working very hard to try to ramp up these availabilities.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Well, as you know, governors are speaking out and saying they're having to not only compete against each other. They are competing with the federal government, with FEMA. They're competing with other countries.

    Is that just the way it's going to be for the duration of this pandemic, or is there a fix in sight?

  • Governor Larry Hogan:

    I think it's improving, Judy, to tell you the truth.

    I mean, I — look, it's not a perfect situation. But it's getting better, rather than worse, I would say. We're having ongoing discussions, all the governors, with the administration. There are new laboratories that are ramping up with new tests and more availability of tests.

    We're certainly playing catchup. It's not where we need to be. But I think we're better off today than we were last week. And we're catching up. But it's certainly not where anyone needs to be today.

    But it's a lot better than it was. And we have got more testing going on in our state, and I think in most states, than we did last week.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Just moments ago at the briefing at the White House, President Trump told reporters — he said — among other things, he said, if your governor is failing to get you what you need, he said, "I'll protect you."

    I mean, is that the way it now works?

  • Governor Larry Hogan:

    Well, look, I think what we really need right now — the real enemy here is the virus. That's the common enemy we're all fighting.

    And it's going to take the federal, state, and local governments all working together to try to fight this common enemy. And we don't need finger-pointing from anywhere. I don't think there are any governors failing anywhere in America. I can tell you, as somebody who has been leading discussions with the governors on an ongoing basis, and many of them with the president and vice president, and many with just the governors, I'm really proud of the job that they're doing.

    And I don't think we need finger-pointing about any governor's failing. I think every governor is doing the best job they can. And I think the federal government is doing their best job to help us.

    But we ought to just do a lot more figuring out how to fix these problems, rather than finger pointing from any direction.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Governor, you announced today the first-in-the-nation, I believe they're so-called strike teams to go into nursing homes in Maryland.

    Tell us how that works.

  • Governor Larry Hogan:

    Well, so, this is a problem across the country.

    You remember, this — the first crisis happened in the state of Washington with this nursing home that we all were shocked to hear about. And now we have got 90 nursing homes here in our state where we have at least one case, but several of them with really dramatic outbreaks. A number of other states do.

    We are sending in strike teams with members of the National Guard, with doctors and nurses from our local health departments and from local and regional hospitals to go in on an emergency basis to try to wrap our arms around this and to identify the situation, to triage the situation, and send people when they need to, to hospitals, or to take care of the situation right there with both testing to find out, you know, exactly where that facility is and what help they need, because, you know, this is our most vulnerable population.

    And we're having these outbreaks across the country. So, we took actions about a month ago to limit visitors and to stop — to make sure we're checking staff members. But, still, we have got these outbreaks. And we have got to make sure we stop them before they become widespread.

    And the strike teams are just one new tool that we're unleashing today.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And just quickly, finally, I read that you also announced that the state is going to start reporting — or launching what they call a coronavirus rumor control page on your Web site.

    Is that because of so much bad information being out there?

  • Governor Larry Hogan:

    I think there's just a lot of people that are just relying on a lot of random rumors that they pick up on social media, and that it just runs rampant.

    So, we're just going to try to — you know, I think facts are really important. And that's why we have tried to be as transparent as possible, have the doctors and the experts talking. And so we want to separate fact from fiction.

    I think, at a time like this, it's particularly important that people are hearing from the scientists and the doctors, and not running rampant with things that just aren't — that aren't true.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland, thank you very much.

    And, again, we wish you the very best in dealing with all this.

  • Governor Larry Hogan:

    Thank you, Judy.

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