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Coronavirus Testing Program Key To Reopening Economy, Cuomo Tells Feds 'Don't Pass The Buck Without Passing The Bucks'

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the trend lines in coronavirus cases continues to improve Friday.

While hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and intubations continue to go down, roughly 2,000 new people a day are diagnosed with the disease.

Another 630 people died of coronavirus-related illness in the past day, Cuomo said.


Cuomo says he anticipates a vaccine is about 12-18 months away, which to him would represent the end of the crisis. In the meanwhile, improved medical treatment might offer a "quick fix."

"It's going to be incremental, and we have to be smart as we do this," Cuomo said. "We're starting to transition to another place. What's the other place? It's going to be the second half of this situation, which is un-pausing. Right? The situation we're in right now is unstable. People can't stay in their homes for this length of time. They can't stay out of work. You can't keep the economy closed forever. You just can't. Society can't handle it."

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Cuomo again reiterated the only way to reopen the economy safely is based entirely on mass testing.

"We don't have a testing system that can do this volume, or that can be ramped up to do this volume. We don't have a public health testing system, by the way," Cuomo said. "The federal government cannot wipe their hands of this and say 'oh the states are responsible for testing.' We cannot do it. We cannot do it without federal help. I'm willing to do what I can do and more, but I'm telling you, I don't do China relations. I don't do international supply chain, and that's where the federal government can help."

"Don't pass the buck without passing the bucks," Cuomo said. If the federal government are telling the states to handle testing, they need to provide financial and logistical support, he said.

PHOTO GALLERY: A Look Inside NYC's Viral 'Warzone'

President Donald Trump reacted to Cuomo's comments on Twitter, saying, "Governor Cuomo should spend more time 'doing' and less time 'complaining' ... We built you thousands of hospital beds that you didn't need or use, gave large numbers of Ventilators that you should have had, and helped you with testing that you should be doing."

The governor, who said earlier this week he wasn't going to fight with the president, fired back.

"First of all, if he's sitting home watching TV, maybe he should get up and go to work, right? Second, let's keep emotion and politics out of this. And personal ego, if we can. Because this is about the people and it's about our job," he said. "You were ready with your stockpile? Didn't you read your own CDC projection? Didn't you read your own coronavirus projections? Thank you again, Mr. President, for the Javitz, thank you for the U.S. Navy ship Comfort, which by the way is doing your job as president. It's not really thank you like you wrote a check yourself, but thank you for that. We're not out of the woods. We need help on testing, and we need funding."

The president addressed testing in a press conference Friday night.

"In the next few weeks, we'll be sending out 5.5 million testing swabs to the states. Swabs can be done easily by the governors themselves," Trump said.

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