Manchin calls West Virginia unprepared: 'People think we're immune from this'

Manchin calls West Virginia unprepared: 'People think we're immune from this'
© Greg Nash

West Virginia Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinNames to watch as Trump picks Ginsburg replacement on Supreme Court Momentum growing among Republicans for Supreme Court vote before Election Day Gardner on court vacancy: Country needs to mourn Ginsburg 'before the politics begin' MORE (D) on Wednesday said that his home state, which was the last state in the U.S. to confirm a case of the coronavirus, had not yet confirmed a case because of lack of testing. 

West Virginia confirmed on Tuesday night their first case of the virus after days of the president pointing to it as a sign that the disease has not spread at a particularly alarming rate. 

“I was hoping the president would not go down that road and make it seem like we’re doing something special,” Manchin said on CNN Wednesday morning. “What they did: They didn’t test. ... Up until a couple days ago we only had 40 tests done, now I think we’re at a 130 or so. But with that being said we have no testing, we’re not prepared, people think we’re immune from this.”

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Manchin added that his state has a particularly high elderly population, many of whom suffer from diabetes or respiratory illnesses, making them particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. 

“We have a lot of problems we knew we were facing,” he said. “I knew if we weren’t prepared, if people got lulled into a false sense of security, we were going to get harmed. I thought it was just carnage waiting to happen, and I wanted to make sure people didn’t get a false sense of security.”

This week the Senate is mulling an economic stimulus package passed by the House over the weekend. When asked, Manchin said he is not supportive of legislation that "throws money at people" but suggested that the government extend unemployment benefits for those affected. 

“We already have a system in place,” he said. "But just throwing money out for the sake of throwing money out thinking that’s going to fix it — if you don’t have a system there that monitors that, you’re going to be in trouble in the long run.”