Saturday Coronavirus Briefing

Saturday Coronavirus Briefing

Indianapolis March 21, 2020 – Today President Donald Trump was joined by members of the Coronavirus Task Force to update the media and the American people on the continuing efforts to curb the COVID-19 virus. Joining him were Vice President Mike Pence, Dr. Anthony Fauci, (NIAID), ADM Brett Giroir, MD of HHS, Secretary Ben Carson of HUD, and FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor.

The president began with the news that the virus has now been confirmed in 148 countries. Here at home, he reported that the nation is pulling together in national solidarity, saying “We’re all one big beautiful American family!”

President Trump spoke last night with Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York, citing the situation there warranted invoking the Stafford Act provisions to bring Federal assistance to bear on a major health crisis, the first of its kind. Additionally, the president discussed his conference calls and meetings with various groups among the public: CEOs, nurses and medical practitioners’ organizations, small business owners, and religious leaders, thanking all for their extraordinary cooperation and support for the overall effort.

Yesterday President Trump & Vice President Pence spoke with many food CEOs, all United States Governors along with G7 Leaders. Trump also noted the Department of Education is doing away with standardized testing this year, waiving interest on all student loans for two months and advancing the tax deadline from April 15 to July 15.

President Trump was pleased to announce that Hanes brand clothing manufacturer is fitting their factories to begin creation of respirator masks. Along with Hanes, President Trump also praised Rock Town Distillery, headquartered in Arkansas, for using their high proof spirits facility to make hand sanitizer. The president ended his remarks with this optimistic note: “We’re going to be celebrating a great victory in the not so distant future.”

(courtesy of @whitehouse on Twitter)

Vice President Mike Pence began his report praising President Trump for the way he has handled curbing this virus, also commending the Coronavirus Task Force for all their hard work and dedication. Pence stated that more than 195,000 Americans have been tested and only about 19,000 Americans have tested positive, stressing “If you don’t have symptoms, don’t do a test.” To do so wastes badly needed protective gear of medical people.

Pence also announce that more medical equipment has been purchased and quickly is making its way to where it needs to go. The vice president also gave an update on his staffer who has not been in the office since Monday; his test results came in last night as positive for COVID-19. VP Pence stated “my wife (Second Lady Karen Pence)  and I will be tested for coronavirus later this afternoon,” and that the staffer did not have contact with him or POTUS.

(courtesy of @mike_pence & @whitehouse on Twitter)

Admiral Giroir stressed “While the coronavirus tests are becoming more widely available, there are priorities for testing,” for example, healthcare workers. Dr. Fauci reported, “We have widespread infection, but to varying degrees throughout the country,” adding “we are having an effect reducing the spread of the virus, but it’s too early to quantify how much of one.” Dr. Fauci emphasized that “consequences to getting test if you don’t need it, is that you’ll take up mask and other protected equipment.” He advised the public “not to flood doctors offices if they’re not in bad shape and please put off, cancel elective medical and surgical procedures.”

FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor, advised that ” FEMA is leading the Federal response for all operations on behalf of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Also FEMA is getting requests for personal protective equipment, masks, ventilators etc. and is in ‘lock-step’ with Health & Human Services to answer these requests.” Following Administrator Gaynor was HUD Secretary Ben Carson, who said “they’ve extended the deadline until April 30 for healthcare and multi-family financial reporting requirements.” Dr. Carson spoke to the American dream to have a home, asking “what has housing to do with health?” Answering that a safe home has everything to do with health, Dr. Carson pointed out that’s the reason that the president implemented the 60-day suspension of foreclosure and eviction procedures which will “help our people.”

(courtesy of @whitehouse on Twitter)

Following the remarks from President Trump, VP Pence, Admiral Giroir, Dr. Fauci, Administrator Gaynor and Secretary Carson, questions and answers were opened up to the media.

Full video of briefing:

(courtesy of White House YouTube)

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