Address by Donald Trump on new actions to combat coronavirus in the U.S.
Today, I’d like to provide an update to the American people on several decisive new actions we’re taking in our very vigilant effort to combat and ultimately defeat the coronavirus.
We’ve been working very hard on this. We’ve made tremendous progress. When you compare what we’ve done to other areas of the world, it’s pretty incredible. A lot of that had to do with the early designation and the closing of the borders.
And, as you know, Europe was just designated as the hotspot right now, and we closed that border a while ago. So that was lucky or through talent or through luck. Call it whatever you want. But through a very collective action and shared sacrifice and national determination, we will overcome the threat of the virus.
I also announced Wednesday night, following the advice of our medical professionals who are doing a tremendous job — and we appreciate it very much — that we’re suspending the entry of foreign nationals who have been to Europe in the last 14 days from entering the United States. Citizens, permanent residents, and our families — and even the families returning from Europe, will be subject to extra screening as well self-isolation for a period of 14 days.
As the World Health Organization confirmed today, many of the things that — what we said were 100 percent correct, including our designation, before them, of Europe. Like our earlier, very aggressive actions with China, this measure will save countless lives. I appreciate a number of the folks behind me. A number of the people behind me said that that saved a lot of lives, that early designation.
But it is only the beginning of what we’re really doing, and now we’re in a different phase. We had some very old and obsolete rules that we had to live with. It worked under certain circumstances but not under mass circumstances. They were there for a long time; they were in place for a long time. And we’re breaking them down now. And they’re very usable for certain instances, but not for this.
To unleash the full power of the federal government in this effort, today I am officially declaring a national emergency. Two very big words. The action I am taking will open up access to up to $50 billion of very importantly — very important and a large amount of money for states and territories and localities in our shared fight against this disease.
In furtherance of the order, I’m urging every state to set up emergency operation centers effective immediately. You’re going to be hearing from some of the largest companies and greatest retailers and medical companies in the world. They’re standing right behind me and to the side of me.
I’m also asking every hospital in this country to activate its emergency preparedness plan so that they can meet the needs of Americans everywhere. The hospitals are very engaged. New York and various other places are also various engaged. I just spoke with Governor Cuomo; we had a very good conversation. And we’re working very strongly with many states, including New York.
The emergency orders I am issuing today will also confer broad new authority to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The Secretary of HHS will be able to immediately waive provisions of applicable laws and regulations to give doctors, hospital — all hospitals — and healthcare providers maximum flexibility to respond to the virus and care for patients.
This includes the following critical authorities:
- The ability to waive laws to enable telehealth, a fairly new and incredible thing that’s happened in the — in the not-so-distant past. I tell you, what they’ve done with telehealth is incredible. It gives remote doctors’ visits and hospital check-ins.
- The power to waive certain federal license requirements so that doctors from other states can provide services and states with the greatest need. Number two.
- The ability to waive requirements that critical-access hospitals limit the number of beds to 25 and the length of stay to 96 hours.
- The ability to waive the requirements of a three-day hospital stay prior to admission to a nursing home. Big thing.
- The authority to waive rules that hinder hospitals’ ability to bring additional physicians on board or obtain needed office space. They can do as they want. They can do what they have to do. They know what they have to do. Now they don’t have any problem getting it done.
- The authority to waive rules that severely restrict where hospitals can care for patients within the hospital itself, ensuring that the emergency capacity can be quickly established.
We’ll remove or eliminate every obstacle necessary to deliver our people the care that they need and that they’re entitled to. No resource will be spared. Nothing whatsoever.
Ten days ago, I brought together the CEOs of commercial labs at the White House and directed them to immediately begin working on a solution to dramatically increase the availability of tests. Other countries have called us and worked with us, and they’re doing similar things or will be doing similar things.
As a result of that action, today we’re announcing a new partnership with private sector to vastly increase and accelerate our capacity to test for the coronavirus. We want to make sure that those who need a test can get a test very safely, quickly, and conveniently. But we don’t want people to take a test if — if we feel that they shouldn’t be doing it. And we don’t want everyone running out and taking. Only if you have certain symptoms.
Using federal emergency authorities, the FDA approved a new test for the virus. We did this within hours after receiving the application from Roche — a process that would normally take weeks. We therefore expect up to a half a million additional tests will be available early next week. We’ll be announcing locations probably on Sunday night.
I want to thank Roche, a great company, for their incredible work. I’d also like to thank Thermo Fisher. The FDA’s goal is to hopefully authorize their application within 24 hours — it’ll go very quickly; it’s going very quickly — which will bring, additionally, 1.4 million tests on board next week and 5 million within a month. I doubt we’ll need anywhere near that.
At the same time, we’ve been in discussions with pharmacies and retailers to make drive-thru tests available in the critical locations identified by public health professionals. The goal is for individuals to be able to drive up and be swabbed without having to leave your car.
I want to thank Google. Google is helping to develop a website. It’s going to be very quickly done, unlike websites of the past, to determine whether a test is warranted and to facilitate testing at a nearby convenient location.
We have many, many locations behind us, by the way. We cover the — this country in large part. So the world, by the way — we’re not going to be talking about the world right now. But we cover very, very strongly our country. Stores in virtually every location.
Google has 1,700 engineers working on this right now. They’ve made tremendous progress. Our overriding goal is to stop the spread of the virus and to help all Americans who have been impacted by this.
Again, we don’t want everybody taking this test; it’s totally unnecessary. And this will pass. This will pass through, and we’re going to be even stronger for it. We’ve learned a lot. A tremendous amount has been learned.