White House Coronavirus Task Force Briefing

President Donald Trump

  • Begin by again expressing our support, solidarity, and love for the people of our great country. We’re fighting for you and we’re enduring all of this together. We will soon prevail together. We’re making a lot of progress.
  • Appreciate all of the great assistance from the governors and people within the states. The relationships have been very good. I spoke with Governor Cuomo. We’re working very hard to get additional things to New York as quickly as possible.
  • One of the most important issues in battling this pandemic is coordinating the delivery of the crucial supplies throughout the nation based upon the most accurate information available. 
  • We’ve got the best healthcare and disaster experts anywhere in the world. 151 nations are going through this virus, and we are working with all of them.
  • This will be probably the toughest week between this week and next week. There’ll be a lot of death, unfortunately, but a lot less death than if this wasn’t done. There will be death.
  • We’re focusing on the hardest-hit regions. Some of them are obvious and some aren’t so obvious. 
  • Every decision that we’re making is made to save lives. It’s really our sole consideration. We want to save lives. We want as few lives lost as possible. 
  • Critical that certain media outlets stop spreading false rumors and creating fear and even panic with the public. 
  • During a national emergency, it’s essential that the federal decision makers cut through the confusion in order to follow the facts and the science. 
  • Many hospital administrators that we’ve been in touch with are communicating directly with us about their level of supplies. Whenever local shortages are reported, we’re asking states to immediately meet the demand.
  • Distributions should be made on a fair basis. We have to take care of a large country, not just certain areas of the country. I want to thank FEMA, the Army Corps of Engineer, and our military.
  • We’re working directly with hospitals, existing suppliers and distributors to ensure that those with the greatest need are prioritized. 
  • Remember, we’re a backup. We’re the greatest backup that ever existed for the states, especially when we start getting into the hospital building business and getting into the medical center building business.
  • We will move heaven and earth to safeguard our great American citizens. We will continue to use every power, every authority, every single resource we’ve got to keep our people healthy, safe, secure, and to get this thing over with. We want to finish this war. We have to get back to work. We have to open our country again. We don’t want to be doing this for months and months and months. We’re going to open our country again. This country wasn’t meant for this. 
  • Spoke with the Commissioners and leaders of all of the sports leagues: Rob Manfred, Commissioner of Major League Baseball; Roger Goodell Commissioner of the National Football League; Adam Silver Commissioner of the National Basketball Association; Gary Bettman, Commissioner of the National Hockey League; Jay Monahan, Commissioner of the PGA Tour; Cathy Engelbert, Commissioner of the Women’s National Basketball Association; Dana White, the Ultimate Fighting Championship; Vince McMahon President of the WWE; Don Garber, Commissioner of Major League Soccer; Steve Phelps, President of NASCAR; Michael Whan, Commissioner of the LPGA; Roger Penske, Founder and Chairman Penske Corp.; and Drew Fleming, President of the Breeders’ Cup.
  • They want to get back. They can’t do this. Their sports weren’t designed for it. The whole concept of our nation wasn’t designed for it. We’re going to have to get back very soon.
  • Our Supply Chain Logistics Task Force, led by Admiral John Polowczyk, who’s doing a fantastic job, will ensure they’re distributed to the healthcare and critical infrastructure workers in the areas with the most pressing requirements. 
  • FEMA and HHS continue to monitor the data on an hourly basis where provided by the states. In order to most effectively target the distribution of supplies, we’ve been asking states to provide us with daily updates on the number of ventilators and their utilization rates, because some states have more ventilators than they need. 
  • Goal is to stay several days ahead of the needs in each state, but we can only do that if the cities and states utilize real-time local knowledge to provide timely and precise data about actual usage. 
  • At my direction, 1,000 military personnel are deploying to New York City to assist where they’re needed the most. That’s the hottest of all the hotspots. New Jersey is right next to it. 
  • The situation in Washington State continues to stabilize, and we’re returning a 300-bed federal medical station to a different location where we need it. Washington State has done a really good job.
  • Oregon will be sending 140 ventilators directly to New York, which we appreciate.
  • Thank the incredible food supply workers who are feeding our nation. Important to keep our farmers and ranchers, processors, and distributors in our nation’s prayers. 
  • This week, the FDA established the Coronavirus Treatment Accelerator Program, which is expediting the development of new antiviral and other therapies.
  • HHS continues to speed the development of therapies derived from human blood that have the potential to lessen the severity or shorten the length of the illness. 
  • The FDA also gave emergency authorization for hydroxychloroquine. I hope it’s going to be a very important answer. We’re having some very good things happening with it, and we’re going to be distributing it through the Strategic National Stockpile. We have 29 million doses.
  • Gilead Sciences has initiated a phase three clinical studies of the drug remdesivir. Now, it’s approximately 1,000 patients, which is a pretty good study. Other drugs are also being studied in patients.
  • We’re spending economic dollars like you wouldn’t believe, and speeding economic relief to American workers, families, and businesses. Yesterday, the Small Business Administration launched the Paycheck Protection Program to help employees keep paying their workers. In 24 hours, the Small Business Administration, and over 1,200 lending partners, processed over 28,000 loans, ahead of schedule.
  • The SBA also clarified that faith-based organizations, including houses of worship, are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program as well as the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program.
  • If we run out of funding for the employee retention program, I will immediately ask Congress for more money. This is money that’s really going directly to the small businesses that need it and the workers that need it.
  • When we open, we want to open strong. We had the greatest economy in the world, and then one day, we were told we got to shut it down, stop it, tell everyone to stay home, because of this horrible virus. We did that, and we did the right thing. Now we have to open. We have to open our country.
  • As of today, the State Department has successfully coordinated the safe return of more than 40,000 Americans stuck abroad on over 400 flights from 75 countries. 
  • Thank the American people for the selfless sacrifices that they’re making for our nation. I know it’s not pleasant, although some people have said they’ve gotten to know their family better, and they love their family more than ever, and that’s a beautiful thing. 
  • Encourage everyone to keep following our guidelines on slowing the spread. Sustaining this war effort is the patriotic duty of every citizen. While we may be more physically distant for a time, we’re closer together in the heart and in the spirit.
  • We will conquer the disease and restore our nation to its full and glorious might. We’re doing really well, and I’m very proud of everybody out there. 
  • It’s something that nobody could have ever projected. It’s been over 100 years that a thing like this has happened. It’s so contagious. Nobody has ever seen anything like that where it’s so contagious. You can be feet away and just talking to somebody and catch it. You know how long it can live on surfaces. 
  • We’re going to make sure that it’s over soon. It’s not going to be long.

FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn

  • Echo what the President said about the American people and the resiliency and the just terrific work. 
  • Mitigation is such an important part of our fight against the COVID-19 virus.
  • Last week, we issued an emergency use authorization to allow the donated hydroxychloroquine to come into the country and enter the general circulation. 
  • We are prioritizing this drug to come in for clinical trials, and also into general use for physicians, based upon their interaction with the patients to assess the risks and benefits for hydroxychloroquine if they think it’s appropriate for the patient. That assessment needs to be done between a patient and a doctor.
  • We have also stood up a formal convalescent plasma program. We have a great deal of enthusiasm for that. There are some reports that this is a benefit to patients in other countries who have had the COVID-19 virus. This means taking plasma from patients who have had the virus and who have recovered and transferring the immunity from that person to someone who’s sick. The Red Cross is involved in that program. I think it shows a great promise.  It needs to be studied. We don’t want to provide false hope, but definitely hope.

National Institute of Health, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci

  • We’re going to be seeing deaths continue to go up. 
  • There is a cascading of events where you have new cases, hospitalizations, intensive care, and deaths. At the same time that we may be seeing an increase in deaths, we want to focus on the effective mitigation is really the number of new cases. That’s what we’re going to be thinking about and looking about.
  • The question arises is: Is the mitigation working? Clearly, in the countries — China included — that have implemented very strict kinds of programs of mitigation, clearly it works. In our own country, we’ve seen indication of that in Washington.  Washington State was the first to get hit, but they put in a really good program of mitigation. If you look at the charts that Dr. Birx showed the other day, the state is still down and doing well.
  • The reason is that we have two opposing forces here: the virus, which wants to do what the virus wants to do. Viruses transmit from people to people. When people are separated from each other, virus does not transmit; it doesn’t go anywhere. That’s the reason why something as simple as the physical separation —whether that’s avoiding crowds, whether that staying six feet away from people, whether that’s doing teleworking. All of it does that. That’s our most important tool. We’ll be talking about vaccines and drugs and things like that that will mitigate later. 
  • I want to plea to the American public: as sobering and as difficult as this is, what we are doing is making a difference. We really need to continue it.

The President was asked about his comments regarding some states not being in jeopardy, and given the unpredictability, isn’t that an argument for every state to have one of these stay-at-home orders? The President responded there is no need for all states to have orders as each state.

The President was asked about a tweet regarding the idea of a second coronavirus task force to focus on reopening the economy. The President answered that he is thinking about it. He also explained the cure can’t be worse than the problem itself.

When asked about potential contingency plans for the Republican National Convention, the President stated there are not contingency plans. The convention will happen as planned at the end of August, and by the end of August, we’ll be in good shape. 

Full remarks and additional topics covered in the answer and question portion of the briefing can be found here: April 4 Briefing

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