White House Continues to Respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Piper Blake
Assistant Web Content Manager

Since March 17, there have been several briefings and statements by the White House concerning COVID-19. Here are a few key points:

MARCH 16

The White House Coronavirus Task Force warned that even the young are at risk of contracting the Coronavirus.

“We’d much rather be ahead of the curve than behind it, and that’s what we are.  Therefore, my administration is recommending that all Americans, including the young and healthy, work to engage in schooling from home when possible,” Trump said.  “Avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people.  Avoid discretionary travel. And avoid eating and drinking at bars, restaurants, and public food courts.”

Trump reported that there is a vaccine candidate that has begun phase one of its clinical trial. Also, there are antiviral therapies and other treatments in development.

“And we’ve had some promising results — early results, but promising — to reduce the severity and the duration of the symptoms,” Trump said.

Trump also did a Q&A session to answer major questions that are concerning citizens.

MARCH 17

President Trump, Vice President Pence and the Coronavirus Task Force gave a press briefing. They discussed many topics including new FDA policies, Medicare telehealth services and fast food services.

All states can now authorize tests to be developed and used within their borders. Medicare patients can now visit any doctor by phone or video conference at no additional cost, including Facetime and Skype.

Fast food restaurants are keeping their drive-thru and delivery services open with a limited staff to keep serving customers while limiting contact.

Due to this virus threat impacting people and their work, the Senate is figuring out ways to help those impacted.

“The Senate is taking up coronavirus legislation that includes free testing for those who need it, as well as paid sick leave and family medical leave for workers affected by the virus,” Trump said.

MARCH 18

Trump updated the nation on acts and programs that have been put in place to defend against the virus.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is acting in all regions at a level one response at this point, to help states that have been hit hard by the virus. The U.S. also activated two hospital ships, U.S.S. Mercy will be headed to New York and will be treating people on the east coast while the Comfort is docked in San Diego.

Self-swabbing is being developed to give a faster way for people to test themselves. This would free up time and space in hospitals or doctors’ offices.

The border between the U.S. and Canada has been shut down in a mutual agreement to halt the spread of COVID-19.

Trump announced a major partnership with the Ad Council, major media networks and digital platforms to effectively communicate accurate and timely information to the American people. These announcements will benefit high-risk populations and the general public with information on social distancing, personal hygiene, and mental health.

Trump also signed the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” (the “Act”).  The Act makes emergency supplemental appropriations and other changes to law to help the nation respond to the coronavirus outbreak.

Here is a list of resources this act makes available to the people and businesses.

MARCH 19

Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to help facilitate the distribution of essential supplies if necessary.  The government is trying to provide additional relief to the workers, small businesses and the hardest-hit industries. 

In regards to vaccines and therapies, the FDA has been removing red tape to get these treatments out to the public as soon as possible.

“Clinical trials are already underway for many new therapies and we’re working on scaling these to allow many more Americans to access different drugs that have shown really good promise,” Trump said.

For more information on testing and vaccines go to read Trump’s conference with state governors.

For the complete transcriptions of these conferences and briefings and the most up to date information regarding COVID-19 go to the White House website.

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