On April 20, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced that Maryland bought 500,000 test kits from South Korea, stating that “The number one problem facing us is lack of testing.” Maryland has more than 13,600 confirmed coronavirus cases and at least 516 related deaths.
Hogan said Maryland owes an "incredible debt of gratitude" to South Korea and also expressed his appreciation to President Moon Jae-in and Prime Minister Chung Se-kyun of South Korea.
Additionally, he expressed appreciation for his wife Yumi Hogan who is Korean-American, having been born in Seoul and immigrated into the United States in 1994. She helped negotiate with South Korean Ambassador to the United States Lee Soo-hyuck to purchase the test kits. They discussed the collaborative relationship between Maryland and South Korea in fighting the COVID-19 outbreak on March 28.
On April 18, the couple welcomed the arrival of the test kits at Baltimore-Washington International Airport. The kits were carried by a Korean Air flight and made from Korean company LabGenomics.
Following Maryland, Governor Polis of Colorado announced that about 150,000 test kits would soon be arriving in his state. Colorado reported a total 10,891 confirmed cases among a population of 5.76 million.
Governor Polis has credited Senator Cory Gardner for his support in purchasing test kits from South Korea. Gardner chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, and played a major role in connecting Colorado to suppliers in South Korea. He emphasized the alliance between the United States and South Korea, and continuing friendship, and he expressed appreciation to South Korea's government for cooperation.
Kyuyeon Park is a Young Professionals Program participant at the East-West Center in Washington and a young fellow of Asan Academy. She studied in Keimyung University.