(CNN)Dr. Anthony Fauci, a key member of the White House coronavirus task force, said the federal government is still trying to connect the dots with states on testing and that “we need to have a productive partnership” as the US grapples with the novel coronavirus.
“We can’t just leave them on their own, on the one hand, and the federal government can’t do it by itself, on the other hand,” Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead” Tuesday in regard to large-scale testing.
“So we really got to be having a productive partnership, and I believe most of the governors have resonated with that. We haven’t gotten it perfectly for sure, we know that,” he continued. “Obviously, you call around, a lot of people feel OK about what’s going on but others still need to connect those dots.”
His comments come as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the US tops 1 million, with researchers saying the number of deaths could rise in coming weeks.
Governors have been pleading for federal help with testing for more than a month, as a shortage of supplies and a backlog in private labs have made it nearly impossible for the states to reach the level of testing needed to reduce social distancing guidelines.
And while President Donald Trump has attempted to paint states’ requests for help with testing as a partisan issue, it hasn’t been only Democrats who have asked for federal assistance. Governors on both sides of the aisle have said that without greater testing capabilities, businesses in their states will not be able to reopen.
Asked about those pleas, Fauci posited that with “people like that who in good faith are calling out for help, I tend to believe them and resonate with them.”
The country, he said, is “going in the right direction, but we need to continue to partner in a very active, collaborative way with the states.”
“We need to help them the same way they need to do the execution. And we’re going to get there.”
Speaking at a National Academy of Sciences Covid-19 Update webcast on Saturday, Fauci estimated that the US is conducting about 1.5 million to 2 million Covid-19 tests per week and said that “we probably should get up to twice that as we get into the next several weeks, and I think we will.”
In a new set of documents unveiled by Trump on Monday, the administration offered a blueprint for coronavirus testing, laying out where it sees the boundaries between federal and state responsibilities.
But the White House said the federal government should act as the “supplier of last resort” for the tests as it works with states to ramp up a regime that health experts say is necessary before a national reopening.
Instead, states should “develop testing plans and rapid response programs” and “maximize the use of all available testing platforms and venues,” according to the copy of the blueprint.
States are also instructed to “identify and overcome barriers to efficient testing,” including “misallocation of supplies” and “logistical failures.”