Monday Coronavirus Update: More Test Sites

Monday Coronavirus Update: More Test Sites

Indianapolis – April 20, 2020 – President Donald Trump opened today’s daily Coronavirus press briefing warning the American people to continue mitigation. “Thirty states have just one case or less per 1,000 people and that’s far fewer cases per capita than Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Ireland, Switzerland, Singapore, Belgium, Spain, Norway, the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden,” Trump noted.

Also in attendance for today’s briefing were Vice President Mike Pence, Admiral Brett Giroir, Assistant Secretary for Health and Human Services (HHS), Brad Smith, Deputy Administrator & Director of The Center of Medicare & Medicaid, Lieutenant General Todd Semonite, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Dr. Deborah Birx.

The president related that as of today, 30 million American jobs have been affected by Paycheck Protection Plan. Trump added, “We hope to have a vote, maybe tomorrow in the Senate.”

Having just spoken with a handful of Governors, Trump announced today that the states now have more capacity for COVID-19 testing than they may have understood. POTUS specifically mentioned Governor Larry Hogan (D) in Maryland. “The numbers are doubling almost on a weekly basis for COVID-19 testing,” POTUS said. “We have a tremendous capability out there existing already.” Trump mentioned that there are now 5,000 locations for COVID-19 testing that states can use. Trump also announced that he has a meeting with Governor Cuomo (D-NY) in the Oval Office tomorrow afternoon.

The United States is in a great position to help and assist other countries with ventilators, according to POTUS. “There are now over 10,000 ventilators in the United States stockpile, but the fake news just refuses to cover it directly,” Trump said. He added, “We are now the king of ventilators, all over the world, it used to be ventilators, ventilators, ventilators. Now it’s testing, testing, testing.”

Before ending his remarks, Trump mentioned that there are now 72 active trials across the country on vaccines and therapies. “Frankly if I had my choice, give the therapeutics right now,” Trump noted.

Lieutenant General Semonite updated the press on the how U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) has coordinated closely with HHS, FEMA and the Coronavirus Task Force to construct major hospital units in “hot spots” around the United States. The units that are being constructed have a bed capacity of 16,000 and USACE has assessed every completed and under construction site in direct collaboration with mayors and governors as to need and location.

LT General Semonite was asked by President Trump to give a update on the border wall construction. “There are currently 4,000 contractors on the ground and currently 164 miles of border wall is complete and by the end of the year, 400 plus miles will be complete.”

Admiral Giroir touched on coordinating testing, technology, and cutting FDA regulations, which is a vital step to current success. Admiral Girior also noted that polyester swabs are now available, which expands the capability of COVID-19 testing. “We have focused on every piece of the supply chain that relates to testing.”

Brad Smith announced that a total of 30 million swabs will be coming over the next handful of weeks. Smith also said that the Defense Protection Act will be activated to help a Northeast company that now makes swabs, build four new production lines.

Vice President Pence reported during today’s briefing that there are over 770,000 cases of the Coronavirus in the United States. Over 41,000 Americans have lost lives. “As we stand here today, we are slowing the spread.”

During the weekly conference call with the nation’s governors, Pence commended the governors across the country, who have taken decisive action. Also during the call, Pence reviewed and updated the new CDC guidelines, he also connected governors with labs for each state and advised each governor that states are well on their way toward sufficiently addressing testing needs.

Pence called the governors’ attention to how the state of Florida’s public health website was designed incorporating the data mapping available from the Task Force, and recommended it as a model to the other governors. “We have enough testing capacity for every state in America to go to Phase One.” 

Dr. Birx reminded everyone that there are still significant outbreaks in the Boston and Chicago areas and there are now 5,000 different lab sites that are accessible to states.

President Trump rejoined the briefing to answer questions from the press.

Full video of today’s briefing (begins at 49:30).

 (courtesy of White House YouTube)

Full remarks from today’s briefing can be found here

(courtesy of Public Pool)

Clips of today’s briefing:

(courtesy of White House Twitter)

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