Speaking from the Rose Garden this afternoon at The White House, President Trump announced that the United States is now in a state of emergency due to the spread of the coronavirus.
Trump spoke about how “much progress we’ve made compared to the rest of the world, due to the early designation and the closing of the borders.” He noted that “Europe was just designated as the hot spot,” and that either “through talent or through luck” we closed that border.
“Will overcome the threat of the virus,” Trump said. Explaining that “We’re suspending the entry of foriegn nationals who have been to Europe in the last 14 days from entering the US.”
He notes that “Like our earlier, very aggressive actions, this measure will save countless lives.
Much of the purpose of the state of emergency was to free up hospitals and medical personal to do what they need to do, indicating that he trusts the health care infrastructure and personnel of the US. He said that we “Had some very old and obsolete rules,” that no longer apply in our current circumstances.
“To unleash the full power of the Federal government, we are officially declaring a national emergency,” he said. This will open up access of $50 billion to states, territories, and localities. Trump is ordering every state to set up emergency operation centers, and asking every hospital to activate its emergency preparedness plan to meet the needs of americans everywhere. He emphasized that he is working closely with New York, and spoke with Governor Cuomo this morning.
These “Emergency orders confer broad new authority to the Secretary of Health and Human Safety,” and will “waive applicable laws to give doctors and hospitals maximum flexibility to respond and care for patients.” This will waive laws that prevent tele-health options, license requirements so that doctors can work across state lines.
New rules will “open up hospitals to do what they need to do, they know what they need to do,” Trump said. He noted that the goal was to “remove obstacles, to deliver people the care they need and that they are entitled to. No resource will be spared.”
On testing, Trump said that more tests and availability would be on the way. The government has teamed up with big suppliers and manufacturers like Walmart, Quest, Target, Walgreens, Roche, and others, to smooth the way for testing manufacture, access, and testing.
Trump was very clear that only those who need testing should get it, and has partnered with Google to quickly develop a website that will help Americans figure out if they need testing or not, and if they do, where to access those tests. 500,000 additional tests will be available by Monday, 1.4 million more by next week, and 5 million more tests will be available within a month, although he offered assurance that the US would not need that many tests.
“To help students,” Trump said, the government has “waived interest on all student loans held by government agencies.”
Additionally, the government is purchasing oil to deposit in the US strategic reserves. Trump noted that the nation would be buying low, would be helping the American oil industry, and would help achieve energy independence.”