White House Coronavirus Task Force Briefing

President Donald Trump

  • We continue to see a number of positive signs that the virus has passed its peak.
  • It’s been very devastating all over the world. 184 countries.
  • Birx will walk through some of these trends in a few moments, but they’re very positive trends for winning. Going to win. We’re going to close it out.
  • While we mourn the tragic loss of life – you can’t mourn it any stronger than we’re mourning it – the United States has produced dramatically better health outcomes than any other country, with the possible exception of Germany
  • On a per capita basis, our mortality rate is far lower than other nations of Western Europe, with the lone exception of possibly Germany. This includes the UK, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, France. Spain, for example, has a mortality rate that is nearly four times that of the United States, but you don’t hear that. You hear we have more death. We’re much bigger countries than any of those countries by far.
  • The fake news gets out there and says the United States is number one, but we’re not number one. China is number one, just so you understand. They’re way ahead of us in terms of death. It’s not even close. You know it. I know it. They know it.
  • Since we released the Guidelines to Open Up America again two days ago, a number of states, led by both Democrat and Republican Governors, have announced concrete steps to begin a safe, gradual, and phased opening.
  • Texas and Vermont will allow certain businesses to open on Monday while still requiring appropriate social distancing precautions.
  • Montana will begin lifting restrictions on Friday. Ohio, North Dakota, and Idaho have advised non-essential businesses to prepare for a phased opening starting May 1st.
  • Throughout this crisis, my Administration has taken unprecedented actions to rush economic relief to our citizens. As an example, you don’t hear about ventilators anymore. What happened to the ventilators? Now they’re giving you the other; it’s called “testing.” Testing. We have tremendous capacity.
  • Through the Paycheck Protection Program, we’ve already processed nearly $350 billion to 1.6 million small businesses across the nation to keep American workers on the payroll. This should be bipartisan. This should be 100 percent vote. And it’s really been incredible. The $350 billion that’s been approved is so popular, and it’s keeping businesses open. It’ll be open hopefully forever.
  • Our swift action is directly supporting 30 million American jobs.
  • The Paycheck Protection Program funding is now fully drained. It’s out. It’s gone. $350 billion dollars to small businesses.
  • Lawmakers must stop blocking these funds and replenish the program without delay.
  • As we enter the next stage of our battle, we are continuing our relentless effort to destroy the virus. My Administration is taking steps to protect high-risk communities by providing funding for 13,000 community health center sites and mobile medical stations. These centers provide care to 28 million people living in medically underserved urban and rural regions, including many African American and Hispanic communities. We’re taking care of them.
  • It’s so important, because you’ve all been reading about the disproportionate numbers on African American and likewise Hispanic communities. The numbers are disproportionate. In fact, we’re doing big studies on it right now. We don’t like it.
  • Nationwide, we’ve now conducted over 4 million tests. It doubles the number conducted by any other country on Earth. That’s more than two times, actually, the number conducted by any other country on Earth. You hear so much about testing. What we’ve done is incredible on testing. I started with an obsolete, broken system from a previous administration or administrations. I would really say “administration” for a different reason because testing has become so advanced over the last number of years, and we have the most advanced of all.
  • In Louisiana, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, and other hotspots, we have also tested more people per capita, by far, than Italy, Spain, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom, and all other major countries. In New York, for instance, per capita testing is 67 percent higher.
  • My Administration has also been speaking frequently with many of the Governors to help them find and unlock the vast unused testing capacity that exists in their states. Dr. Birx discussed yesterday the commercial and academic laboratories, and the states have tremendous unused capability, which they can use.
  • We’re also helping governors to develop strategies to smartly deploy their testing capacity to protect vulnerable and underserved populations, while getting Americans at lower risk safely back to work.
  • Unfortunately, some partisan voices are attempting to politicize the issue of testing, which they shouldn’t be doing, because I inherited broken junk. Just as they did with ventilators where we had virtually none, and the hospitals were empty. For the most part, the hospitals didn’t have ventilators. We had to take care of the whole country, and we did a job, the likes of which nobody.
  • Now the rest of the world is coming to us, asking if we could help them with ventilators because they’re very complicated, very expensive. They’re very hard to build. We have them coming in by the thousands. Nobody is complaining about ventilators. And if there was a surge, we could have ventilators to them within hours, because we have in stockpile almost 10,000 ventilators.
  • You don’t hear about hospital beds. When I first started, everyone was talking, “Oh, hospitals beds. Hospitals beds.” The Governor of New York correctly asked me for hospital beds, and we got the Army Corps of Engineers out, and they built them. He needed them. We are listening to the Governors. He wanted them. He needed them, and we gave him thousands of beds in Javits Center. We brought the ship and converted to COVID-19.
  • We have done a job that nobody believed. This was a military and private enterprises march. We marched, and, unfortunately, with the other side, because they’re viewing it as an election. “How did President Trump do?” “Oh, he did, uh, terribly. Let’s see. He did — uh, yeah, he did terribly.” “Oh.” We just got them the ventilators that they didn’t have, that they should have had. We just got them hospital beds by the thousands. We just got them testing that they don’t even know how to use. In some cases, they have machines that they’re only using 5 percent and 10 percent of the machine, because they have an advanced machine and they don’t know how to use it. We’ve had people explain how to use it.
  • I don’t know, I don’t think I do that on the other side. I think that here we have a crisis that we have to work together, and I hope we’re going to work together. But we’re moving along, and we’re moving along well. We’re moving along well.
  • This should not be a partisan witch hunt like the Russia hunt that turned out to be a total phony deal. Unfortunately, some of these voices, though, are attempting to bring this into politics. Whether it’s testing or ventilators or hospital beds, or other dimensions of our sweeping public health response, we have had a sweeping response.
  • In speaking to the leaders of other countries this morning, they said, “This is incredible the way you’ve done this so quickly.” We’re only talking about a few weeks since everybody knew this was such a big problem. The rest of the world is watching, and they respect what we’ve done because I know nobody else could have done what we’ve done. We started with garbage.
  • As our experts said yesterday, America’s testing capability and capacity is fully sufficient to begin opening up the country, totally. Indeed, our system is by far the most robust and advanced anywhere in the world, by far.
  • We had the greatest economy in the history of the world. Better than China; better than any country in the world; better than any country has ever had. We had the highest stock market in history, by far. I’m honored by the fact that it has started to go up very substantially. The market is actually brilliant. They’re viewing it like we’ve done a good job. 

White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx

  • I wanted to give you an update on where we are as states, counties, and cities.
  • This is New York and New Jersey. We all know how difficult and what a difficult time both New York and New Jersey have had. I call your attention to the axis; it goes up to 250,000 cases. You can get a frame of how we’re talking about some of the other metro areas.
  • This is the top 25 metro areas. You can only see the New York metro area. Again, the axis goes up to about 300,000. It includes the New Jersey part of the metro area, as well as part of southern Connecticut.
  • If I take New York out, now the axis is one-tenth of the previous axis. The previous slide, 300,000. This slide, 30,000. So that will give you a frame of reference for some of these other metros.
  • These are cumulative cases. We are still tracking, very closely, the issues in Chicago and Boston. The yellow line is Detroit. Detroit has really done an extraordinary job, and the people of Detroit have done an extraordinary job with their social distancing.
  • The other line is New Orleans. I was concerned about New Orleans because they had a lot of preexisting comorbidities. They have two or three major hospitals, but a large cover, a very large area of geographic area.
  • That other blue line is Seattle. You can see that their response, because of the nursing home alert, they were one of the first states and the first metro areas to really move to social distancing. They’ve really never had a peak, like many of the other metros.
  • New Orleans is on your left, and Baton Rouge on your right. New Orleans, about a month ago, very low levels, probably less than 50 cases. Large peak and spike around the beginning of April. They have come down, and they have it down to very few cases.
  • This is Seattle who had a much lower peak. When we talked about flattening the curve, this is what flattening the curve looks like. It becomes a longer, slower decline, but it ever gets very high, and then goes back down.
  • This is Detroit. We always look at the metros as a consolidated. This is both Wayne and Oakland in Michigan. Thank the Mayor for the incredible job that they have done to really ensure that everyone is receiving the adequate healthcare and testing, and they’ve done quite a good job with testing in Michigan.
  • All of these states — Louisiana and New York have tested 30,000 per million inhabitants. Those are some of our highest numbers across the board.
  • The President talked about the case fatality rates. We’ve lost a lot of Americans to this disease, and we pray and hope for each one of them that are in the hospitals and the excellent care.
  • This graph illustrates is the amazing work of the American people to really adhere to social distancing. This was nothing we had ever attempted to do as a nation, and the world hadn’t attempted to do. They were able to decrease the number of cases so that, in general, most of the metro areas never had an issue of complete crisis care of all of their hospitals in the region. You can see our case fatality rate is about half to a third of many of the other countries.
  • Almost six weeks ago, I told you what Italy and what France was telling us, and the warnings that they gave to us and said, “Be very careful. There’s an extraordinary high mortality among people with preexisting conditions.” We used their information to bring that to the American people. That is why reporting is so important.
  • That alert, before we even had significant cases, came from our European colleagues on the front line. That’s why we keep coming back to how important, in a pandemic and a new disease, it’s really critical to have that level of transparency because it changes how we work as a nation. It allowed us to make an alert out there about vulnerable individuals and the need to protect them, my call-out to millennials to really protect their parents, protect their grandparents, and get that information out to everyone that there were preexisting conditions that put people at greater risk. That information came from our European colleagues who were in the midst of their battle themselves.
  • There is never an excuse to not share information. When you are the first country to have an outbreak, you really have a moral obligation to the world to not only talk about it, but provide that information that’s critical to the rest of the world to really respond to this credibly.
  • Thank our European colleagues who have worked so hard to get us that information, even in the midst of their own tragedies. That really shows how important transparency is.
  • We know that fatalities will continue to lag because people are in hospitals still, and some are still in intensive care units.
  • This is our hospitalizations that are related to flu per 100,000 Americans. This is this year’s flu season. You can see our COVID-like illnesses. This is all of them, probable and confirmed cases. Our hospitalizations are declining.
  • I showed you metros that have made tremendous progress. Now we’re really just focused on Chicago, Boston, Providence is starting to improve now.

Full remarks and additional topics covered in the answer and question portion of the briefing can be found here: April 18 Briefing

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