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Larry Hogan, governor of Maryland, personally shipped half a million test kits for the state when COVID-19 had already infected 12,308 residents. In an editorial published in The Washington Post, Mr Hogan said he would never have been able to contain the infections without mass testing.
He criticised Mr Trump for promising to supply tests to anybody who wanted one in March when in reality only 2,252 Americans had been tested when the president made the announcement.
In Maryland there are more than six million residents alone and Mr Hogan said his fellow governors desperately needed tests.
Mr Hogan warned he would not let Washington stop him from helping Marylanders.
But he said taking matters into his own hands “should not have been necessary” and added: “I’d watched as the president downplayed the outbreak’s severity and as the White House failed to issue public warnings, draw up a 50-state strategy, or dispatch medical gear or lifesaving ventilators from the national stockpile to American hospitals.”
The governor said waiting for Mr Trump’s response to the coronavirus was “hopeless” because “if we delayed any longer, we’d be condemning more of our citizens to suffering and death”.
In January when coronavirus first came into America, Mr Trump said “we have it totally under control”.
He added: “It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”
Mr Hogan explained how Mr Trump’s comments continued into February “minimising the outbreak’s severity and the need for Americans to do much of anything”.
He added: “So many nationwide actions could have been taken in those early days but weren’t.”
In the early days of the outbreak in America, Mr Hogan said the test used by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was “fraught with inaccuracies” and “onerous regulations hindered the nation’s private labs”.
There was a dramatic contrast between the medical experts’ warnings and the US president’s public dismissals.
Mr Hogan said he was jarred by the “unfiltered truth” given to him by experts compared to Mr Trump’s brushed-off comments.
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He said: “It was a harrowing warning of an imminent national threat, and we took it seriously, at least most of us did.”
When Maryland was hit by the coronavirus, Mr Hogan said “the president was all over the place.”
In March, Mr Trump announced America was “now doing more testing than anybody by far” including South Korea whose testing was being praised worldwide.
But, as Mr Hogan highlighted, America had tested far fewer people per capita than South Korea.
At the time, America had only tested 1,048 people per million when South Korea tested 6,764 per million.
Mr Hogan said it was “hopeless” waiting around for Mr Trump to help with testing.
He added: “Governors were being told that we were on our own. It was sink or swim.
“And if I didn’t do something dramatic, we simply would not come close to having enough tests in Maryland.”
Together with his South Korean wife, Yumi Hogan, the governor organised the plan to ship 500,000 test kits to Maryland.
So far there have been 138,000 reported deaths due to the coronavirus in the US.
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