White House Coronavirus Task Force Briefing

White House Coronavirus President Donald Trump

  • We continue to see evidence that our aggressive strategy is working and working at a very high level. Nationwide, the percent of tests that come back positive has declined very significantly.
  • Last week, roughly 38 percent of the tests in New York were positive. This week, that number is down to 28 percent. New cases in New York are down 50 percent compared to a week ago. Fatalities are down 40 percent over the same period.
  • In Louisiana, the rate of positive test result had declined from 25 percent down to 15 percent in the last seven days.
  • Eighteen states now show a decline in a number of positive tests in the last seven days.
  • Half of all Americans live in states that have now taken steps to open their economies. Yesterday, Governors Gavin Newsom, California; Tim Walz of Minnesota; and Bill Lee of Tennessee announced additional plans to restart certain sectors.
  • Ask every American to maintain vigilance and hygiene, social distancing and voluntary use of face coverings.
  • We’re opening our country. It’s very exciting to see. The country is a great place, and it’s going to be greater than ever before. I really believe that. I think there’s going to be a tremendous upward shift.
  • Today, I signed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, providing $320 billion to keep American workers on the payroll. $30 billion of the Paycheck Protection funds will be reserved for small financial institutions, including those that serve minority and distressed communities, extending vital relief to thousands of African American and Hispanic American small-business owners and their employees.
  • The bill also delivers $75 billion for hospitals. In areas less affected by the virus, hospitals and doctors should work with their state and local health officials on ways to safely resume elective medical treatments and care.
  • Under the CARES Act, we’re sending back payments to millions of American workers. More than 80 million Americans have already received their payment: $3,400 for a typical family of four.
  • The CARES Act requires that the federal government send out a notice of what benefits Americans are receiving. To fulfill the requirement, the Treasury Department is mailing a letter to me. It will include the amount, their economic impact payment, how it will arrive — direct deposit, check, or prepaid debit card — as well as a message to the nation, letting each American know that we are getting through this challenge together as one American family.
  • The whole world is watching us. 184 countries have been hit, and now it’s probably higher than that. They’re all watching and they’re calling, and they respect what we’re doing so much. I spoke with the leaders of numerous countries today. They’re asking if we can send them ventilators, and I’m agreeing to do it. We’re helping Mexico, Honduras, Indonesia, France, Spain, Italy, and probably Germany, if there is a need.
  • Over the last three years, we built the strongest economy and the most successful country the world has ever seen. Greatest economy the world has ever seen. Nobody has ever done anything like what we were able to do.
  • We will rebuild our economy in the not-too-distant future. With all that we’ve learned and all that we’ve done, will be just as strong and maybe stronger than ever before.
  • FDA approved the first at-home COVID-19 test kit. It just got approved. FDA has been incredible. They’ve approved this test, but they’ve been approving many things at a pace that’s never happened before. They are approving things at record numbers at a record rate. And it’s really been helpful.

FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn

  • I appreciate the opportunity to tell you about what’s happening at the FDA.
  • We have a team of more than 18,000 employees, including 10,000 scientists, doctors, pharmacists, and nurses, working around the clock because many of the medical products used for the COVID-19 outbreak are regulated by FDA. The staff have been hard at work authorizing tests and other medical products.
  • As part of these efforts to support diagnostic test development during this global pandemic, the President has asked us to remove any barriers to getting medical products into the medical community.
  • We are very much paying attention to safety and with respect to test validity and reliability of those tests.
  • It’s really important to understand how far we’ve come in just a few short months. The academic community, private sector, and government have come together to develop diagnostics for a completely new infectious disease.
  • We’ve heard from many test developers, both in academia and in the manufacturing world: This normally takes years to develop. This has happened in weeks and months. We’ve been laser focused on working with both industry and academia to actually make this happen.
  • Under our emergency use authorization approach, we’ve quickly reviewed and authorized 63 tests, both diagnostic, as well as serologic which is the antibody test. We’ve had several point-of-care tests that can be done in the emergency room or in a doctor’s office – much more convenient for the patient.
  • This week, we authorized the first at-home test by a company called LabCorp. This is a test where, under certain circumstances, with a doctor’s supervision, a test can be mailed to a patient and the patient can perform the self-swab and then mail it back and get the results after that time — all under the guidance of a licensed physician.
  • We are working with more than 400 test developers who are pursuing authorization for their diagnostics under our current policies. Under our regulatory approach, which is quite flexible, many other tests are becoming available.
  • 220 labs around the country have begun patient testing using their own validated tests. This has allowed us to increase, significantly, tests around the country.
  • Updated you earlier this week on serologic tests, the antibody tests that are used to detect natural immunity, and the FDA’s approach to help make these tests available. While these are just one part of our larger response effort, they can play a role by helping healthcare professionals identify those who have immunity to the COVID-19.
  • When it comes to therapeutics, we are leaving no stone unturned in finding treatments for COVID-19. You do know that we don’t have any approved currently therapeutics for COVID-19, but we are actively involved with both the academic and the commercial and private sector to find those. 72 trials of therapeutics are underway in the US under FDA oversight, and 211 are in the planning stages. This includes convalescent plasma, as well as antiviral therapies.
  • Work continues on vaccines. Two firms have announced that the FDA has authorized their trials to go forward, one of which we’ve mentioned here before.
  • In response to the President’s and Task Force’s request, we’ve stood up the Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program. We are leaving no stone unturned, and we’re working around the clock to develop these therapeutics for the American people.

Full remarks and topics covered in the answer and question portion of the briefing can be found here: April 24 Briefing

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