(CNSNews.com) - Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan told ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopolous” on Sunday that while the Trump administration is launching an economic task force focused on reopening parts of the country on May 1st, he hasn’t received “any kind of an artificial deadline on that” and it has to be done in “a safe manner.”
“We haven’t gotten any kind of an artificial deadline on that. I’m going to -- look, everybody wants to get the country back on track as quickly as we can, as long as we do it in a safe manner, because we’ve got this twin problem of this terrible health crisis where we’ve got, you know, tens of thousands of people dying, and yet we also have this incredible economic challenge where we've got, you know, millions of people that are unemployed and small businesses being hurt everywhere, we’ve got to balance those needs,” he said.
“But, really, right now the first thing is saving lives and keeping people safe. We do also have to think about how do we eventually ramp up and get some folks back to work, but you can’t just pick a date and flip a switch. I don’t think it’s going to be that simple,” Hogan said.
The governor said that widespread testing and contact tracing will be “absolutely essential to finding out exactly where we are” in the fight against the coronavirus.
“Dr. Scott Gottlieb is one of the smartest guys in America. He’s on our task force. I agree with him. I think most governors agree with that as well. It’s something that we’re all working hard to do. I believe we are making progress on increasing testing. The question is how fast we can get enough tests up to speed in order to help us get to the point where we are able to do all of those things,” he said.
Hogan said that the health disparity among blacks when it comes to COVID-19 infections “is very disturbing.”
“It’s why I called for the study. You know nobody was really tracking these things, and it was difficult to do, because none of the federal labs, the CDC, nobody was actually tracking these tests by race, and we went back and actually, individually, looked all this up, thousands of cases, and we are now -- we’ve got about 80 percent of those cases done, and it’s why you have the information that you’re reporting on. We did it better than any state in America,” he said.
“I also have been successful in convincing the federal administration to consider Baltimore and the entire Baltimore-Washington Corridor as a hotspot. We’ve been taking some of the earliest and most aggressive action in America,” the governor said.
“And a lot of our focus has been on those areas that you’re talking about. It’s where our highest population centers are. It is also where we have the highest concentrations of blacks and Hispanics. And so, it’s Baltimore City. It’s the Prince George’s County, Montgomery County right outside of the Washington area, and those counties in between. It’s about 5 million people in that corridor,” Hogan said.