White House Coronavirus Task Force Briefing

President Donald Trump

  • The President signed H.R. 6021
  • Defense Production Act – The President said he is not using the Defense Production Act, but it is ready to be deployed.  This statement is contrary to the President’s comments on Tuesday that he has invoked the Defense Production Act, which frees up additional medical resources.
  • FDA is making progress with the private sector to slash red tape to develop a vaccine.  Vaccine clinical trial started this week.  Anti-viral therapies bring developed as well, and FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn will address this in a moment.  We can develop therapies much faster than vaccines.    
  • FDA is looking at the drug Chloroquine for use in COVID-19. This anti-malaria medicine may be able to make the coronavirus effects a little less severe.
  • FDA is reviewing drugs approved abroad and here for other uses.  This effort is beyond the right-to-try initiative which has been a tremendous success. 
  • CEO of Carnival Cruises said if the government needs extra cruise ships, he will make ships available for states that need additional bed capacity.
  • President Trump is meeting with the State Department later today about a new travel advisory.  Moments ago, the State Department officially raised the Global Travel Advisory to level 4: Do Not Travel. The Advisory instructs all Americans abroad to either return to the U.S. or prepare to shelter in place. Americans are also told not to travel abroad.

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn

  • Hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug, is being studied which could be a therapy for coronavirus.  Hydroxychloroquine: “It’s been around for a long time, so we know if things don’t go as planned, it’s not going to kill anybody… It’s shown very, very encouraging early results, and we’re going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately.”
  • We are exploring plasmic therapies to help patients. 
  • FDA is trying to fast track vaccine processes as much as possible.  

Vice President Mike Pence

  • President spoke to doctors and nurses yesterday in addition to over 5k state and local health officials. 
  • Conference Call with all Governors again this afternoon at 2:00 pm. (see attached memo from Governors outlining their “asks” of the federal government).
  • Testing available in all states and being increased daily.  
  • Continue to identify supplies across the private sector, including Honeywell and 3M who are being a tremendous help to the federal government and medical providers. Construction companies are also donating extra masks to local hospitals.  
  • Pay attention to the 15-day strategy released on Monday.  Every American must practice these guidelines in all communities.  

White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx

  • Addressed data and rise in cases as more tests become available.  Still hearing stories about patients who are waiting for tests – Working to eliminate 5-6 days wait for tests.  
  • Over 50% of cases are in 3 states and ten counties.   

Surgeon General Jerome Adams

  • Need Millennials and Gen Z to donate blood.  Blood donation centers are open and taking necessary sanitation procedures to protect donors.  

During the Q&A portion of the press conference, the President was asked about companies using emergency economic funds to buy stock buybacks as they did when the tax cuts bill (TCJA) passed.   President responded that he was not happy companies did stock buybacks with the tax bill and hopes they won’t now. He also stated he is okay if the prohibition of this type ends up in the final bill. President stresses that they will be helping small businesses. They are the engine of the economy, and we will help them. 

 

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