Trump estimates US coronavirus death toll will be lower than earlier projections

President Trump and senior members of his administration hinted at the White House briefing on Monday that Maryland Governor Larry Hogan did not need to procure coronavirus tests in South Korea.

Hogan, a Republican, lobbied the federal government to increase testing capacity for coronaviruses and announced that testing had been secured from South Korea earlier on Monday.

Admiral Brett Giroir told reporters during the briefing, “I don’t know what the Governor of Maryland does in South Korea, but there is excess capacity every day. If he wanted to send 30 or 40,000 tests to LabCorp and Quest, that could be done. It could be done tomorrow. ”

Vice President Mike Pence said he would follow up with Hogan’s office. He also pointed to a slide that showed “fair in Maryland” testing facilities.

“I don’t know when the governor placed the order for South Korea. I would not blame him or his health officials for ordering tests. But the capacity of all the different labs and the number of machines across Maryland is part of what we are communicating today, “said Pence, adding that the governors had assured access to federal testing facilities.

The president was sharper in his response to Hogan’s decision to get tested in South Korea, saying, “Take a look at this map. The governor of Maryland could have called Mike Pence, could have saved a lot of money. ”

“I don’t think he should go to South Korea. I think he needed to gain a little knowledge would have been helpful, ”he added.

Following the president’s comments, Hogan’s spokesperson tweeted a copy of a letter from Muriel Bowser, mayor of Hogan, Washington, DC and Virginia governor Ralph Northam, who “specifically requested a site from federal test in the region “.

Hogan announced Monday that Maryland has taken delivery of 500,000 coronavirus tests from South Korea as part of a negotiated deal with the help of his South Korean-born wife Yumi.

A Boeing 777 landed at the BWI on Saturday as part of what Hogan dubbed “Operation Enduring Friendship”. The coronavirus kits come from LabGenomics, and Hogan says the half-million kits are “equal to the total amount of tests that have been completed by four of the top five US states combined.”

“I would like to sincerely thank our Korean partners for helping us in this fight against our common hidden enemy,” said Hogan.

“The state of Maryland owes an incredible debt of gratitude to the people of South Korea,” he added.

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