New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo compared scaling up testing and contact tracing to the degree necessary to reopen the economy during the coronavirus pandemic to "trying to get Apollo 13 back to Earth 220,000 miles, 50 years ago."

Why it matters: The governor said at a briefing Wednesday that along with COVID-19 testing, contact tracing — tracking down the people who have interacted with a coronavirus patient, so they can quarantine — is a key component to the "phased reopening of the economy" when the outbreak is under control in New York.

The big picture: The U.S. is far behind on contact tracing, and neither local or federal governments have a plan to ramp it up, writes Axios' Caitlin Owens.

  • Once we begin to lift social distancing measures, we’ll have to immediately implement these basic public health measures to avoid the caseload from immediately increasing.
  • "It is a very difficult task. It can't be done perfectly. I can tell you that right now," Cuomo said. "But we can do better than we're doing."

Cuomo acknowledged it will be up to the states to conduct the tracing. But, he said, the states that have been hardest hit by the pandemic "cannot do the testing and tracing without federal assistance."

What he's saying:

"So do no harm, don't go backwards. Hope we find a medical treatment between now and 18 months. In the meantime, testing, tracing, testing, tracing, trying to get that up to scale, which is going to be the equivalent of trying to get Apollo 13 back to Earth 220,000 miles, 50 years ago. It is a very difficult task. ... But we can do better than we're doing. And in the meantime, a phased reopening of the economy as educated by testing, tracing.
The states that have a large problem cannot do the testing and tracing without federal assistance. ... On the reopening, we can do and we have a blueprint for the reopening. Again, as guided by testing, tracing. But there are two factors really on the reopening: How essential is the business, service or product or function? ... And then second, what is the risk of infection spread of that business?"
— Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Go deeper

Louisville officer: "Breonna Taylor would be alive" if we had served no-knock warrant

Breonna Taylor memorial in Louisville. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, the Louisville officer who led the botched police raid that caused the death of Breonna Taylor, said the No. 1 thing he wishes he had done differently is either served a "no-knock" warrant or given five to 10 seconds before entering the apartment: "Breonna Taylor would be alive, 100 percent."

Driving the news: Mattingly, who spoke to ABC News and Louisville's Courier Journal for his public interview, was shot in the leg in the initial moments of the March 13 raid. Mattingly did not face any charges after Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said he and another officer were "justified" in returning fire to protect themselves against Taylor's boyfriend.

U.S. vs. Google — the siege begins

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Justice Department fired the starter pistol on what's likely to be a years-long legal siege of Big Tech by the U.S. government when it filed a major antitrust suit Tuesday against Google.

The big picture: Once a generation, it seems, federal regulators decide to take on a dominant tech company. Two decades ago, Microsoft was the target; two decades before that, IBM.

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Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet)

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

If the impasse between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the White House on a new stimulus deal is supposed to be a crisis, you wouldn't know it from the stock market, where prices continue to rise.

  • That's been in no small part because U.S. economic data has held up remarkably well in recent months thanks to the $2 trillion CARES Act and Americans' unusual ability to save during the crisis.