Trump says he disagrees with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s aggressive plan to lift restrictions

New York will launch a program that aims to test, trace and isolate people suspected of being infected with the novel coronavirus, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) said Wednesday.

In a news conference, the governor announced that he, Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) and Gov. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.) will coordinate on plans to build a “tracing army.”

“The virus doesn’t stop at jurisdictional boundaries,” Cuomo said. “The virus just spreads.”

Former New York mayor and recent Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg has volunteered to develop the “first-ever testing, tracing and isolation program” in the state, Cuomo said.

Bloomberg’s financial contribution to the coordinated effort with the state is upward of $10 million. He will design the new program and create systems to hire and train contact tracers.

Johns Hopkins University and Vital Strategies will coordinate work downstate and in the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The State University of New York and the City University of New York will draw from 35,000 students in medical fields who can serve as tracers, Cuomo said.

The move comes as New York’s death total continues to inch toward 15,000, with 474 people dying Tuesday.

Hospitalizations and intubations continue to trend downward, but the number of people walking into hospitals and testing positive is still “problematic,” the governor said.

Cuomo said that his conversation with President Trump on Tuesday was productive and resulted in the president agreeing to waive the requirement that the state pay part of the costs incurred by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to Cuomo.

“Normally, a state has to pay 25 percent of the FEMA cost. That would be a cruel irony for New York and adding insult to injury,” he said. “New York had the highest number of coronavirus cases in the country.”

Within the state, local politicians and officials have flooded his phone line about pressure to reopen, Cuomo said, adding that he would take the blame for the continued closings of many businesses and jobs.

“Don’t make a decision based on political pressure,” he said. “’I get the pressure, but we can’t make the bad decision. This is no time to act stupidly.”

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