Asa Hutchinson, Coronavirus, Viruses, Health, Arkansas

Asa Hutchinson, Coronavirus

Arkansas governor says testing needs to increase, lobbies for 'greater use' of Defense Production Act

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson appears on ABC's 'This Week.'

6/28/2020 4:49:00 PM

“I really think we need to look at a greater use of the Defense Production Act so that we can make sure the supply keeps up with the demand,” Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson tells GStephanopoulos on COVID-19 testing as state pauses next phase of reopening.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson appears on ABC's 'This Week.'

needs to increase exponentially, and lobbied for President Donald Trump to invoke the Defense Production Act in order to manufacture the supplies necessary to meet the demand for such efforts."We've doubled the amount of our testing nationally. We've got to double it again. That is probably the most important thing that we can do," Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said on ABC's"This Week" Sunday."I really think we need to look at a greater use of the Defense Production Act so that we can make sure that supply keeps up with the demand that we know is going to continue growing."

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Trump invoked the 1950 law earlier this year to mobilize the manufacturing of ventilators and later require that meatpacking plants remain open, but initially faced criticism from Democrats for not utilizing the act more extensively to secure personal protective equipment and testing supplies. In April, the Defense department announced it would use over $75 million in funding through the Defense Production Act to compel the manufacturing of millions of testing swabs.

"And so you think the national effort has to be stepped up?" ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos asked Hutchinson.MORE: Which US states require masks and which 4 don't at all?"The president's done a very, very good job of utilizing the Defense Production Act when it comes to energy production and ventilators, making sure that we have that capacity," Hutchinson said."We need to continue to use that in the areas of the supplies for testing. Demand is only going to increase, and if we are going to have school, which we plan on doing next year, if we're going to have other activities that we like in society, it all depends on the ability to test and know what the radar shows is where the virus is so we can go in and isolate it, we can trace it down."

"That's how you live life. That's how you manage the economy. But at the same time, minimize the risk of the virus," he continued.In Arkansas, the number ofcoronaviruscases rose steadily throughout the month of June, leading Hutchinson to halt the state's reopening plans this week -- becoming one of at least 10 states that have stopped or reversed their plans amid increasing numbers.

"We're clearly on pause here in the state in terms of moving to lift further restrictions until we're comfortable with where we are in controlling the spread," Hutchinson said Thursday, as the state topped 10,000cases for the month of June.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson gives the State of the State address on April 8, 2020.Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson gives the State of the State address on April 8, 2020.Tommy Metthe/Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via APEarlier in the week however, the governor claimed in a PBS

interviewthat reopenings were not to blame for the increase."We actually measure it every week … in terms of the new cases that we have -- are they related to the fact that we opened up, lifted some of the restrictions?" Hutchinson said, three days before announcing the"pause.""And the answer is that we have not seen a correlation between lifting restrictions and the new cases that we have. The new cases actually are coming out of some of the essential industries that are open regardless."

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GStephanopoulos All our essential medical supplies need to be made right here at home GStephanopoulos No hay que bajar la guardia en la lucha contra la pandemia, más allá de que se reaperture la economía. GStephanopoulos shutitdown he is a baby Greg Abbott GStephanopoulos For confirmed and probable cases, looks like a 1.6% death rate in MD so far if you're under 70 years old. How many unconfirmed? What cost to the economy and way of life?

GStephanopoulos Is there still a shortage of ventilators?

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