White House Coronavirus Task Force Briefing

President Donald Trump

  • Express our nation’s well wishes to Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he wages his own personal fight with the virus. All Americans are praying for him. 
  • Today, every American stands in solidarity with the incredible people of New York and New Jersey. They’ve really become a very hot zone, but some very good things are happening. 
  • In New York, the first time where the deaths were less from the previous day. That’s the first drop so far. Maybe that’s a good sign. We wish Governor Cuomo and all of the people in New York well. Same for New Jersey.
  • Fifty states and territories have now been approved for major disaster declarations, which is very unusual.
  • Thanks to the Army Corps of Engineers, New York City’s Javits Center is now one of the largest hospitals in the United States. It’s designated for treatment of the virus patients and staffed by hundreds of federal medical personnel deployed from two Army hospital units, and they’re doing a great job. 
  • The USNS Comfort ship is also providing aid in New York.
  • We have the best doctors, the best military leaders, and the best logistics professionals anywhere in the world. We’re orchestrating a massive federal response unlike anything our country has ever seen or done. 
  • As of Tuesday, we’ll have deployed over 3,000 military and public health professionals to New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and other parts of our country.
  • In the last seven days, FEMA has airlifted critical supplies and protective equipment from every corner of Earth. They’re coming from all over the planet, including from within the United States, where the equipment isn’t as necessary.
  • Since last Sunday, cargo planes have delivered almost 300 million gloves, almost 8 million masks, and 3 million gowns, and many cargo planes are on the way. 
  • Tomorrow, we’ll deliver an additional 600,000 N95 masks to New York City to take care of the needs of the public hospital system. At the request of Congressman Lee Zeldin, from Long Island, we will also be delivering another 200,000 N95 masks to Suffolk County, where they need it very badly. 
  • Over the last 24 hours, FEMA has delivered an additional 500 ventilators to New Jersey. 
  • We’ve also sent an additional 200 ventilators to Louisiana, and 300 to Michigan. 600 will be going or have gone to Illinois. We’re building a 2,500-bed hospital in McCormick Place in Chicago. We’re also sending 100 ventilators to Massachusetts.
  • We’re also establishing a federal medical station in the Washington, D.C., area to help Washington, D.C.,
  • Governor Inslee of Washington State has returned 400 ventilators, which can now be deployed elsewhere in our country. 
  • America will endure the peak of this terrible pandemic. 
  • Our warriors in this life-and-death battle are the incredible doctors and nurses and healthcare workers on the frontline of the fight. We pledge to them our eternal gratitude and everlasting support. They make all of us very proud. 
  • The United States has now tested 1.67 million people, far more than any other country especially we inherited a broken system. 
  • By Tuesday, 1,200 brand-new rapid point-of-care testing kits has been produced by Abbott Laboratories. That’s a 15-minute test that will be distributed to all of our public health labs as well as the Indian Health Service, the CDC, and the Strategic National Stockpile.
  • We have stockpiled 29 million pills of the hydroxychloroquine. what do you have to lose? I’m not a doctor, but I have common sense. The FDA feels good about it and has approved it. They gave it a rapid approval. We have a lot of it. We hope it works.
  • Tremendous strides have been made. We’ll have a report on vaccines soon as we are working with other countries on the development of vaccines and therapies.
  • My Administration is rapidly implementing the largest emergency economic relief package in American history. Billions of dollars in small- business loans have already been processed through Paycheck Protection Programs.
  • We’re going to take care of our workers. We’re going to take care of our citizens. We’re going to take care of our small businesses. We’re going to take care of our large businesses: the airplane industry, the — the airline industry. A lot of great industries that we have that are in trouble because of what took place over the last short period of time.
  • We see light at the end of the tunnel. Things are happening. Hopefully, in the not-too-distant future, we’ll be very proud of the job we all did. We can never be happy when so many people are dying, but we’re going to be very proud of the job we did to keep the death down to an absolute minimum.
  • Today is Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week for Christians in America and all around the world. While we may be apart from one another, we can use this time to turn to reflection and prayer and our own personal relationship with God.
  • I ask that all Americans pray for the heroic doctors and nurses, for the truck drivers, grocery store workers, and for everyone fighting this battle. 
  • Most of all, I’d like to ask for your prayers for the families who have lost loved ones. Ask God to comfort them in their hour of grief. 
  • With the faith of our families and the spirit of our people, and the grace of our God, we will endure, we will overcome, we will prevail. We have learned so much. We will be stronger than ever.

White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx

  • As you can see from the hopeful signs in Italy and Spain, we see new cases and deaths declining.
  • Provide an update on where all of the states were. Reviewed slides on the status of efforts in New York, New Jersey, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Michigan and Washington, D.C.
  • We’re tracing and tracking not only the epidemic at the state level but understanding what’s happening in county by county with new cases and, of course, also the deaths.
  • Thirty-eight states have less than 50 cases per hundred thousand. They are testing. Their laboratory results are consistent with that. 
  • Reviewed slides on the cases in Detroit, Oakland, and New Orleans.
  • To end where I started: We see hopeful signs in Spain and Italy. They have completed nearly four weeks of mitigation with people really doing social distancing, staying at home, ensuring they were washing their hands. If they have to go out to the grocery store, they’re extraordinarily careful; they send one person from the family.
  • We can really see that their efforts are beginning to work, and we’re very hopeful that, over the next week, we’re hopeful that we will see a stabilization of cases across these large metro areas where the outbreak began several weeks ago.

FEMA Supply Chain Stabilization Task Force Rear Admiral John Polowczyk

  • We had three additional flights come in today bringing 1 million gowns, 2.8 million N95 masks, 2.8 million surgical masks, 11.8 million gloves, 18,600 gowns. These supplies will be delivered to hospitals and nursing homes across the country.
  • Birx went through the geography. Over the past few days, I’ve been aligning the supply chain to those areas, and then reaching out to those areas to obtain data about PPE burn rates. Geographically we’re aligning the supply chain by priorities of point of care: public hospitals, first, VA hospitals, private hospitals, nursing homes, first responders, acute care.
  • Over the coming days, we will be making a push to the geographic areas that Dr. Birx mentioned increasing the volume through the supply chain to those areas to give them weeks, not just days’ worth of supply.

Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie

  • VA has three primary missions: 1) support veterans’ health, 2) provide veterans with benefits, and 3) memorial services. 
  • Our fourth mission is to support the nation in times of national emergency, both in war and in peace. We provide a bridge from the federal government to the states and localities during these emergencies. As a result, I have ordered our veterans hospitals to begin preparing more than 1,500 beds to make them available both at the ICU and the acute-care level to the states and localities across the country. 
  • We have opened up approximately 100 beds in the metropolitan New York area, in Brooklyn, and in Manhattan, and East Orange, New Jersey.
  • We will be informing the Governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards that we will give him access to our VA Medical Center in Shreveport, Louisiana.
  • We intend to initiate a fourth mission in Michigan. We will be providing the people of Michigan access to hospital beds in both Ann Arbor and in Detroit. We’ve also provided a pharmaceutical trailer to be used by the Governor of Michigan to support the citizens of Michigan who will be coming into that facility for medical care.
  • We have also informed the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that we will be helping them in their efforts to protect their most vulnerable citizens in two of their nursing homes.
  • The 400,000 men and women of the Department of Veterans Affairs are in this fight. 
  • We are in the fight not only for the 9.5 million veterans who are part of our service, but we are in the fight for the people of the United States.

Vice President Mike Pence

  • You have just heard from several members of the President’s White House Coronavirus Task Force, and we are truly blessed to have their leadership.
  • I hope the American people know, at this President’s direction, we are sparing no expense. We are doing whatever it takes. We’re marshaling the full resources of the federal government to respond to the challenges facing communities impacted today by the coronavirus and making sure every community in America has the support.
  • We have also forged a seamless partnership with states around the country. As the President just reflected, by this Tuesday, with another 840 military medical personnel arriving in New York City, there will be some 3,000 Department of Defense and HHS personnel on the ground to supplement and to provide relief to healthcare workers at the epicenter of the coronavirus in the New York City area. You just heard the VA is opening up bed space.
  • In New Jersey, I spoke with Governor Murphy. We were able to coordinate with him to extend all federal coordination on testing in New Jersey through May the 30th.
  • I spoke with Governor John Bel Edwards in Louisiana and was encouraged to hear from him that new cases were down slightly. 
  • I spoke to both Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. We spoke about a new program in Detroit that will make hydrochloroquine available for 3,000 patients through the Henry Ford Hospital. They’ll be tracking, in a formal study, the results of that.
  • Mayor Duggan told me that he was able to use the 15-minute test this weekend to test 150 first responders who had been sidelined because they’d been exposed to the coronavirus. They all got the 15-minute tests. They’re all back in the line of duty.  The Mayor couldn’t have been more grateful.
  • I spoke with Governor J.B. Pritzker of Illinois as well as Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago. As you just heard, not only have we sent 600 ventilators to the State of Illinois, but I assured the Governor and Mayor that while the principal focus that we have in the next several days is on the rising cases in the Greater New York City area and Louisiana, Michigan and Illinois are in the forefront of our thinking. 
  • At the President’s direction, we’re going to make sure the people of Illinois and the people of Michigan have the resources, equipment, and support that they need.
  • Express profound appreciation for Governor Kate Brown in Oregon and Governor Jay Inslee in Washington State. They are leading by example. Oregon sent 140 ventilators to New York City. They looked at their circumstances and concluded that they could spare those at the point of the need. Governor Inslee today announced that they were sending 400 ventilators back to the Strategic National Stockpile to be deployed at the point of the need.
  • We are beginning to see the glimmers of progress. The experts will tell me not to jump to any conclusions, but like your President, I’m an optimistic person and I’m hopeful.
  • We’re starting to see cases and hospitalizations begin to stabilize. It’s because the American people are putting into practice the coronavirus guidelines for America. You’re listening to your state and local officials. You’re practicing social distancing. Thank you, America. Thank you for responding. 

The President was asked about the projections of 100,000 to 240,000 deaths. He responded that he hopes we can stay under those numbers. He was also asked about his previous statements regarding taking hydrochloroquine and giving medical advice.  President Trump said do what you want, but there are some good signs. He also spoke about the Right to Try giving terminally ill patients to access investigational drugs.

Dr. Fauci fielded questions about what Americans should do if they are not in a hot spot. He responded its mitigation, mitigation, mitigation. Dr. Fauci was also asked if he worried about people being complacent. He responded that based on his experience, people understand the responsibility that they have for themselves, for their family, and for the country. 

Full remarks and additional topics covered in the answer and question portion of the briefing can be found here:  April 5 Briefing

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