After some governors said they'd work on regional plans to roll back stay-at-home orders amid the coronavirus pandemic, two of those leaders warned Tuesday any reopening still appears far away.
And New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in particular said he'd fight in court any federal order to reopen his state's economy if he thought it was premature and endangered New Yorkers' health.
'If (President Trump) ordered me to reopen it in a way that would endanger the public health of the people of my state, I wouldn't do it,' Cuomo told CNN's 'New Day' Tuesday morning.
The comments come a day after two groups -- leaders in seven Northeastern states, and those in the three contiguous West Coast states -- said they would regionally plan an incremental release of stay-at-home orders.
That may ultimately clash with the plans of President Donald Trump, who claimed Monday he has 'total' authority to override governors, and who is expected to announce Tuesday a special council to plan the country's reopening.
There have been signs that the US is nearing the peak of its coronavirus outbreak. By Tuesday, more than 584,000 cases of the virus had been reported in the US. At least 24,485 people in the country have died.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont -- one of the governors in the Northeastern pact -- told CNN he still doesn't expect to even announce a decision about how to reopen the economy before May 20.
'I still have an infection that's growing' in much of Connecticut, Lamont told CNN Tuesday morning. 'This is no time to relax.'
Cuomo declined to discuss a date, but said 'we're not talking about the next two weeks to three weeks.'
'We're talking about months. We're talking about a phased reopening,' essentially a gradual expansion of essential services, Cuomo said.
Both governors emphasized that reopening the economy requires things like a greater capacity to test people, including with antibody tests that can reveal who were infected in the past, and are likely immune and could return to aspects of normal life.
US is 'not there yet' to reopen, Fauci says
Thoughts of opening the country's economy on May 1, when federal social distancing guidelines are set to expire, is 'a bit overly optimistic' for many places in the US, the country's top infectious disease official told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
The US doesn't have enough capacity to test for and trace Covid-19 cases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the AP.
'We have to have something in place that is efficient and that we can rely on, and we're not there yet,' Fauci told the AP.
The process of reopening would likely happen on a 'rolling' basis and not simultaneously across the country.
'I'll guarantee you, once you start pulling back, there will be infections. It's how you deal with the infections that's going to count,' Fauci told the AP, adding that we need ways to get people 'out of circulation if they get infected, because once you start getting clusters, then you're really in trouble.'
Fauci's comments come after Trump said the White House plans to unveil a committee Tuesday focused on reopening the country in the coming weeks.
An influential model cited by the White House, meanwhile, predicts the pandemic could 'peter out' in late spring, with deaths essentially stopping around 68,800 by the end of June. The model predicts the US may have seen peak daily deaths on Monday.
But the model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington assumes nationwide social distancing through May, and experts are wary about the model's assumption that there will be no resurgence of the virus in the summer months.
Cuomo still wants federal help, and says he wants no fight with President
The potential clash between governors and the White House reflect one of the challenges the country will face in adapting to the pandemic.
Trump responded on Twitter to Cuomo's comments Tuesday morning, saying the New York governor had been 'begging for everything' like field hospitals and ventilators.
'I got it all done for him and everyone else, and now he seems to want independence! That won't happen,' Trump tweeted.
Data continue to show New York, the state with the most reported coronavirus cases, is near it apex, Cuomo said in a new conference later Tuesday.
Daily deaths were up Monday -- 778, against 671 the day before. But a three-day average in the net change of hospitalizations was down, he said.
Cuomo told reporters in Albany that ultimately he wanted no fight with the President -- and that he wanted the federal government's help doing things states are struggling to do.
Cuomo said states appear to be competing with each other for coronavirus tests, just as he said weeks earlier that states were trying to outbid each other for scarce medical equipment like ventilators.
The federal government should be in charge of purchasing and distributing, he said.
'I want to get out of the ... competition business for ... vital testing,' Cuomo said.
A new hydroxychloroquine trial
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem announced Monday the state was working with Sanford Health to conduct a statewide hydroxychloroquine trial, which will include both patients who have tested positive for the virus and residents who have been exposed.
Patients who have been exposed to the virus will receive either hydroxychloroquine or a placebo, Sanford Health's Chief Medical Officer Allison Suttle said.
'We're going on offense to help every single person deal with this virus and be willing to fight it and get better and go home to their families,' the governor said.
The news comes as researchers in New York are expected to announce next week preliminary results of a study on hydroxychloroquine used on patients in that state -- offering one of the first scientific hints as to whether the drugs are helpful against coroanvirus.