White House Coronavirus Task Force Briefing

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy

  • Thank you, Mr. President, for all of your efforts, especially those in California with Governor Newsom.
  • Thank Secretary Minuchin for the help for small businesses.
  • With the assistance from Congress and Treasury, a lot of small businesses are going to hire people back and get this economy moving again, as we get through this virus.

President Donald Trump

  • Our hearts go out to the people of New York as they bear the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Louisiana is getting hit very hard. Parts of Michigan are getting hit very, very hard. New Jersey is also getting hit
  • New York first responders, EMTs doctors, nurses are showing incredible courage under pressure. They’re the best in the world.
  • We will take every action and will spare no resource, financial, medical, scientific – we will not spare anything to get back into shape.
  • Today, the CDC is announcing additional steps Americans can take to defend against the transmission of the virus.
  • CDC is advising the use of non-medical cloth face covering as an additional voluntary public health measure. it’s voluntary. You don’t have to do it. I don’t think I’m going to be doing it.
  • CDC is recommending that Americans were a basic cloth or fabric mask that can be either purchased online or simply made at home probably material that you’d have at home. These face coverings can be easily washed or reused.
  • Emphasize that the CDC is not recommending the use of medical grade or surgical grade masks. We want to save those for our great medical people that are working so hard and doing some job. Medical protective gear must be reserved for the frontline health care workers who are performing those vital services.
  • The new mask guidelines do not replace CDC guidance on social distancing, including staying in your home when possible, standing at least six feet apart for a period of time.
  • We are also taking action to ensure costs are not a barrier to any American seeking, testing or treatment of the coronavirus. The largest insurer nationwide, the Blue Cross Blue Shield system, has now announced that it will not require any copays, which is really a tremendous statement. Cigna, Humana, Anthem are doing the same.  
  • Proud to announce that hospitals and health care providers treating uninsured coronavirus patients will be reimbursed by the federal government using funds from the economic relief package Congress passed last month. This should alleviate any concern uninsured Americans may have about seeking the coronavirus treatment.
  • I’m also signing a directive invoking the Defense Production Act (DPA) to prohibit export of scarce health and medical supplies by unscrupulous actors and profiteers. The Secretary of Homeland Security will work with FEMA to prevent the export of N95 respirators, surgical mask, gloves, and other personal protective equipment. We need these items immediately for domestic use.
  • We’ve already leveraged the DPA to stop the hoarding and price gouging of crucial supplies. Under that authority this week, the Department of Health and Human Services working with the Department of Justice took custody of nearly 200,095 respirators, 130,000, surgical masks, 600,000 gloves, as well as many bottles and disinfectant sprays that were being hoarded. All of this material is now being given to healthcare workers.
  • We’re expanding the role of the armed forces in our response effort because no one is better prepared to win a war than the United States military.
  • Over 9000 retired Army medical personnel have answered their nation’s call and are now supporting field hospitals and medical facilities all across the country.
  • National Guard members have been activated to help states build new treatment centers and assist in the seamless distribution of medical supplies.
  • The Army Corps of Engineers is assessed more than 100 facilities in all 50 states and is rapidly building temporary hospitals and alternative care sites in many states in New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, Ohio.
  • As we deploy the power of our military, we’re also deploying the skill of our doctors, scientists and medical researchers. We continue to study the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine and other therapies in the treatment and prevention of the virus. And we will keep the American people fully informed in our findings hydroxychloroquine It’s looking like it’s having some good results.
  • My Administration is also working to get relief to American workers and businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program.
  • The SBA and the Treasury are working around the clock, and our banking partners are really incredible ensuring money gets to small businesses and their employees as quickly as possible
  • The energy industry has been especially hard hit in the crisis. This afternoon, I met with Greg Garland of Phillips 66, Dave Hager of Devon energy, Harold Hamm of Continental Resources, Jeff Hildebrand of Hill Corp Energy, Vicky Hollow of Occidental Petroleum, Mike Summers of the American Petroleum Institute, Kelsey Warren of Energy Transfer Partners, Mike worth of Chevron, and Darrin woods of Exxon Mobil. I informed them that we will be making space available in the Strategic Petroleum Reserves to let American producers store surplus oil that can be sold at a later time.
  • America is engaged in a historic battle to safeguard the lives of our citizens, our future society. Our greatest weapon is the discipline and determination of every citizen to stay at home and stay healthy for a long time.
  • You’ll see some bad things and then you’ll see some really good things. We will heal our citizens and we will care for our neighbors and we will unleash the full might of the United States of America to vanquish the virus.

 

Vice President Mike Pence

  • The President’s coronavirus guidelines are having a positive effect. Today, California and Washington state where the coronavirus first emerged in our country remain at a steady but low rate.
  • Governor Newsom said yesterday that they’re not out of the woods yet. We continue to flow resources, but we want to commend people in those states and all across the country.
  • We’re putting into practice the social distancing and all the measures that state and local leaders are advising and that and that the President has been advising in the coronavirus guidelines for America.
  • We’re continuing to track significant outbreaks in New York State, New Orleans, Detroit, Chicago and Boston.
  • We’re prioritizing resources to support healthcare workers and support those that are dealing with the coronavirus in those communities.
  • More than 1.4 million tests have been performed across the country. 266,000 Americans have tested positive for the coronavirus. Abbott instruments, which now can perform a 15-minute test across the country have literally 18,000 of their machines across the nation today. FEMA is acquiring over 1200 more machines to distribute to every state public health lab in America and also to our Indian health care service.
  • The White House Coronavirus Task Force is examining ways that we can scale up these rapid tests and these innovative new tests not just to meet this moment, but to lay a foundation for testing across the nation in the months ahead.
  • We also held a teleconference today with commercial retailers on the President’s behalf. We thanked them for the way that people that operate malls and shopping centers around the country have embraced and enacted the coronavirus guidelines.
  • Every American has a role to play.
  • Thank you on behalf of the President and, and all of the American people for the way that you’re stepping forward. You’re engaging in the social distancing and doing the things that will slow the spread. We encourage you to keep it up.
  • We will get through this America. We will get through the coronavirus to that day of renewed health, renewed prosperity that the President always describes.

White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx

  • We’re asking every American to really be disciplined about these guidelines and really determined to stay in that space of execution.
  • We appreciate the work of the citizens of California and Washington State, because we do see that their curve is different. Their curve is different from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
  • We really believe that the work that every citizen is doing in those states is making a difference, and it will make a difference for the frontline health care providers.
  • We are working now at a much more granular level, talking directly to hospitals to ensure that they have the supplies that they need in coordination with steady state and local governments.
  • We recognize the number of Americans who have lost their lives to this virus and recognize the sacrifice that healthcare providers are making both in their care.
  • We continue to watch the Chicago area, the Detroit area, and have some developing concerns around Colorado, the District of Columbia, and Pennsylvania. Each of these will follow their own curves, and we’ll be getting more information in a very granular way to follow these epidemiologic curves as each of these states, counties and communities.

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar

  • Thank all of the members of the HHS team and the frontline health care workers across America, including those who those service workers who serve in our hospitals and our health care facilities, those who clean those who deliver those who stocked the shelves, all those who are going into battle every day against the virus.
  • Your country has asked you to serve as never before and you have responded heroically.
  • Provide a brief update on the Administration’s plans to cover the testing and treatment for the uninsured.
  • Getting the uninsured access to the care they need as a top priority for President Trump.
  • We are already rolling out the $1 billion dollars in funding from the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to cover providers expenses for testing and diagnosing the uninsured.
  • The CARES Act includes another $100 billion for health care providers.
  • Under the President’s direction, we will use a portion of that funding to cover providers costs of delivering COVID-19 care for the uninsured, sending money to providers through the same mechanism used for testing. As a condition of receiving funds under this program, providers will be forbidden from billing the uninsured for the cost of their care.
  • Providers will be reimbursed at Medicare rates. We will soon have more specifics on how the rest of the $100 billion will go to providers. We’re working to ensure that this funding is distributed in a way that is fast, fair, simple and transparent.
  • Remind people that if you’ve lost employer insurance coverage, you have insurance options that you should look into. You’d be eligible for a special enrollment period on the health care exchanges.
  • Depending on your state, you may be eligible for Medicaid.
  • President Trump is working to support new treatment options for patients. Many providers are trying different experimental therapies. We need as much data as we can collect as quickly as possible on how these treatments are working.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams

  • I want to address the evolution of our guidance on mass, because it has been confusing to the American people.
  • First, I want people to understand that the CDC, the World Health Organization, my office, and most public health organizations and professionals, originally recommended against the general public wearing a mask because based on the best evidence available at the time, it was not deemed it would have a significant impact on whether or not a healthy person wearing a mask would contract COVID-19.
  • We have always recommended that symptomatic people wear a mask. If you are coughing or have a fever or symptomatic, you could transmit disease to other people.
  • What is changed in our recommendation? Recent studies show that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms – called asymptomatic – then even those who eventually become pre-symptomatic, meaning that they will develop symptoms in the future, can transmit the virus to others before they show symptoms. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity – coughing, speaking or sneezing, even if those people were not exhibiting symptoms.
  • In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends in the task force recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain like grocery stores and pharmacies.
  • Critical to emphasize that maintaining six feet of social distancing remains key to slowing the spread of the virus.
  • CDC is advising the use of simple cloth coverings to slow the spread of the virus and to help people who may have the virus and do not know it changed from transmitting it to others.
  • The cloth base coverings recommended are not surgical masks N95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders as recommended by the current CDC guidance.
  • These recommendations complement and does not replace the President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America 30 days to slow the spread, which remains the cornerstone of our national effort to slow the spread of the virus.
  • CDC is always looking at the data. We’re evolving our recommendations and new recommendations will come as the evidence dictates.
  • If you do choose to wear a face mask, very important to wash your hands first because you don’t want to put on a face covering with a dirty hand. Do not touch your face while you are wearing the face covering because again, you could take materials from the surface germs from the surface and bring it to your face.
  • This is all about me protecting you, and you protecting me. This is about us coming together as communities.

During the question and answer section of the briefing, the President was asked about Dr. Fauci’s recent statements that every state should have stay at home orders. President Trump responded that he defers to the Governors on these types of decisions.  President Trump was also about Dr. Fauci’s absence from the briefing and explained that Dr. Fauci’s absence does not mean there is a problem. President Trump, Secretary Azar, and Dr. Birx fielded questions about the number of asymptomatic carriers, testing for uninsured, and the economic and employment turmoil facing the country as a result of the coronavirus.

Full remarks and additional topics covered in the answer and question portion of the briefing can be found here:  April 3 Briefing

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