Governors Warn Congress More Federal Help Is Needed to Avoid COVID-19 Resurgence

June 2, 2020
In The News

States are beginning to ease some restrictions, but each jurisdiction is developing its own metrics for when to reopen and how to keep residents safe. Most of Maryland began phase one of Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.’s reopening plan in mid-May. Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, which had higher levels of infection, entered phase one on Monday. “Because there has not been a national strategy, each of us has developed our own re-engagement strategies,” Whitmer told lawmakers on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, including Maryland Democratic Rep. John P. Sarbanes. Sarbanes asked the witnesses how blood serum tests for COVID antibodies are factoring into states’ response plans. Some experts say the antibody test could be key to re-opening more activities. “Obviously it has a certain allure to it, this notion that you can discover whether you got the infection and have overcome it and are now in a more robust position,” Sarbanes said. The Food and Drug Administration has approved 150 different companies to make the tests, which are supposed to measure whether someone was previously infected with the coronavirus and has antibodies against the disease in their blood. But some early antibody tests have been criticized as inaccurate and ineffective. The governors in attendance at the hearing said not enough is known yet about the efficacy of the tests, or even what level of immunity antibodies provide. “I think we are all right to be somewhat cautious about this, but it does have great promise for our strategy in response to the pandemic,” Sarbanes said. “The emphasis rightly remains on the diagnostic test, with all the different needs for supplies.”