SECOND CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE BREIFING
President Donald Trump held his second press briefing on March 24, where White House officials urged anyone leaving New York City to self-quarantine for 14 days as Trump called the region a “hot spot." Here's a brief recap of what he else said:
- Trump says he’s looking to Easter to “re-open” the country, calling it a “great timeline.”
- He says decision to loosen social distancing will be based on data and medical and economic data.
- LIVE UPDATES: Coronavirus in New York City
- What We Know About the Coronavirus
- CDC Coronavirus Page
- WHO Coronavirus Page
- He says FEMA is distributing more than eight million N-95 respirators, 14 million surgical masks, 2.4 million face shields, 1.9 million surgical gowns.
- He also says 4,000 ventilators have been sent to the areas of greatest need and many, he says, are being sent to New York.
- He said the Army Corps of Engineers and National Guard are building four hospitals in New York, which he said will be operational soon.
- Trump said four additional medical facilities, which he called “temporary but incredible,” are being built in different parts of the state.
- He says he is deploying the Navy hospital ship Comfort to New York (though it is still undergoing repairs in Norfolk).
- He said they are also building a hospital in New Jersey.
- Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is continuing to work with Congress to pass what he called the “biggest and boldest relief package in American history.” The package, he says, will “deliver cash payments to struggling Americans.”
- The package, he says, will include job retention loans and unemployment insurance, and a billion dollars to help doctors, nurses and hospitals, along with the airline and cruise ship industry.
- Though, he says, he activated the Defense Production Act “quite a long time ago,” he insists he doesn’t have to use it because private companies are “heeding the call” to produce medical supplies.
- He says companies like Ford and 3M are already making face shields, though it will actually be weeks before factories can be retrofitted to be able to make these supplies.
- Trump talked about this showing the U.S. needs strong borders and can never be reliant on a foreign country for our survival.
- Anthony Fauci was back.
- There was no mention of the Hydroxychloroquine, after a man died and his wife ended up in critical condition for ingesting fish tank cleaner that contains elements of the drug. The wife said she heard Trump say that would keep them safe from Coronavirus.
FIRST CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE BREIFING
Donald Trump moved the Coronavirus Task Force briefing press conference from the White House Briefing Room to the Rose Garden with a virtual town hall shown on the of Fox News Channel.
Trump and the task force, minus, again, Dr. Anthony Fauci, took questions from Fox hosts and pre-recorded viewer videos. Here’s a brief recap about what took place.
- First up, Vice President Mike Pence, who insisted the stockpile of 30,000 ventilators were being sent to the states that need them, despite Governor Andrew Cuomo saying FEMA had only given New York, with more than 25,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 400 ventilators.
- Pence also suggested hospitals convert respirators into ventilators, which he said would alleviate some of the shortage.
- Trump said he responded quickly when he learned about the coming pandemic by banning people from traveling to the U.S. who had traveled in China. The restriction, signed in January, after the spread of the virus in Wuhan, exempted U.S. citizens who were still allowed to travel.
- Trump attacked Democratic opponent Joe Biden for calling him “xenophobic” for the travel restrictions from China, saying he doesn’t think Biden knows what that means. Biden actually called bans on travel from Europe xenophobic.
- Trump talked about re-opening businesses around the country at the end of his “15 Days to Stop the Spread” directive, which is now in Day Nine. He said this country “is not built to shut down.”
- Trump re-iterated that 37,000 die every year from the flu and the country is never shut down; he said we lose more than that in automobile accidents, but we don’t tell the automakers to stop making cars.
- Trump once again stated that more people will die by suicide if businesses don’t open and begin to fail, saying we could have a recession, or even a depression.
- Trump said he “cancelled” the deal for the nearly two trillion dollar stimulus package because, he said, Nancy Pelosi got involved and added Green New Deal items, asking for windmills that he said cause cancer and are killing birds, and wanted oil drilling to stop. In fact, Republicans failed to meet the 60-vote threshold necessary to move the bill forward.
- Trump insisted his bill would take care of workers and small business first, though the bill made provisions for small businesses only to receive loans rather than the grants being offered to large companies.
- Trump complained about Governor Cuomo, saying the federal government is building four hospitals in New York, but Cuomo is complaining about not getting ventilators.
- Trump said he just received a report saying Cuomo could have bought 15,000 ventilators, cheaply, in 2015, but refused, instead going for “death panels.” This came from the far-right blog “The Gateway Pundit.”
- Trump blamed previous administrations for the lack of tests and flaws in the CDCs first round of tests, saying they didn’t have enough tests. He said his administration “broke that egg” and will have better testing for future pandemics.
- Trump stressed once more that he believes American could be open and back in business by Easter, 20 days from now, something health experts dispute.