JB Pritzker, the state’s governor, appeared on CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront, and told the host that he’d given up on waiting for the federal government to help the state with coronavirus testing.
“We have gotten very little help from the federal government. It’s fine. I’ve given up on any promises that have been made,” he said. “I hope something will get delivered from the federal government, but I don’t expect it anymore.”
On Tuesday, Donald Trump said that testing was meant to be carried out by the governors, not by the federal government. However, many states have called on the federal government for assistance, thus far with little success.
The absence of a centralised, federal testing initiative has drawn criticism from health professionals.
The New York Times reported that researchers have found that coronavirus was spreading in New York for weeks before the US moved to stifle travel or enact stay-at-home orders or issue social distancing guidelines. They said that early and aggressive testing could have prevented the level of infection that eventually occurred in New York City.
Mr Pritzker said that when it comes to testing, “the President at this point is near irrelevant when it comes to this question of testing.”
Mr Trump’s insistence on state self-reliance does not extend to determining when states can lift their stay-at-home orders and social distancing rules.
The president insisted during a press briefing earlier this week that “when somebody is the president of the United States,” their “authority is total.” The statement came as he was questioned over whether he had the authority to force states to reopen.
The statement drew immediate criticism from both sides of the political spectrum, the majority of which pointed out that the 10th Amendment limits the government’s ability to dictate how the states conduct business.
On Tuesday, Mr Trump said he would be “authorising” the governors of all 50 states to make decisions on when to reopen. That authority is a power the governors already possess.
Though Mr Trump said he wants to see the states reopen “very soon,” Mr Pritzker is hesitant to send people back out en masse,arguing the “preconditions just aren’t there yet.”
“I know we all want this to end soon. We really do. But I’m not going to risk having another spike come and having more people hospitalised, having our hospital and health systems overwhelmed and more people dying,” he said. “So we’re going to do this very gradually. Very carefully. I want people to get back to work just as much as the President does. But we’ve got to be not expeditious about it, but very careful and rely most importantly on the science.