White House Coronavirus Task Force Briefing

President Donald Trump

  • Provide you with an update in our war against the coronavirus.
  • Thanks to our comprehensive strategy and extraordinary devotion to our citizens — we’ve had such tremendous support all over — we continue to see encouraging signs of progress.
  • Cases in New York area, New Orleans, Detroit, Boston, and Houston are declining. Denver, Seattle, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Nashville, Indianapolis, and St. Louis are all stable and declining. All parts of the country are either in good shape, getting better. In all cases, getting better. We’re seeing very little that we’re going to look at as a superseding hotspot. Things are moving along.
  • We express our gratitude for these hard-fought gains; however, we continue to mourn with thousands of families across the country whose loved ones have been stolen from us by the invisible enemy. We grieve by their side as one family — this great American family.
  • Stand in solidarity with the thousands of Americans who are ill and waging a brave fight against the virus. We’re doing everything in our power to heal the sick and to gradually re-open our nation, and to safely get our people back to work. They want to get back to work, and they want to get back to work soon.
  • Ensuring the health of our economy is vital to ensuring the health of our nation. These goals work in tandem.
  • Clear our aggressive strategy to slow the spread has been working and is saving countless lives. For those who are infected, we have taken unprecedented action to ensure they have the highest level of care anywhere in the world. The federal government has built more than 11,000 extra beds, shipped or delivered hundreds of millions of pieces of personal protective equipment, and distributed over 10,000 ventilators.
  • Every Governor has more ventilators right now than they know what to do with. They’re actually shipping them to different locations, and we’re shipping some to our allies and others throughout the world.
  • We’ve launched the most ambitious testing effort on Earth. The US has now conducted more than 5.4 million tests, nearly double the number tested in any other country. More than twice as much as any other country.
  • Moments ago, I attended a meeting with some of our nation’s largest retailers, including Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, and Kroger. We’re joined by leaders of those great companies as well as leaders from the world’s top medical diagnostics companies and suppliers: Thermo Fisher, LabCorp, Quest, U.S. Cotton, and the American Clinical Laboratory Association.
  • These private-sector leaders, along with others such as Roche, Abbott, Becton Dickinson, Hologic, and Cepheid have been exceptional partners in an unprecedented drive to expand the states’ capabilities and our country’s capabilities. The testing that’s been developed and being developed right now has been truly an amazing thing.
  • Thank Abbott Laboratories for the job they’ve done. I want to thank Roche. These two companies have really stepped forward.

Executives from the companies made brief remarks. 

White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx

  • The blueprint lays out the roles and responsibilities to enhance our partnership between the private sector and the public sector, bringing together state and local governments with the federal government to ensure that we can accomplish and achieve our core principles and objectives.
  • The core elements of the testing plan include three elements: robust diagnostic testing plans developed in partnerships with states. Within the robust diagnostic testing plans, it was really unlocking the full capacity of the state: increasing the number of testing planforms, increasing the ability to collect samples, increasing testing and laboratory supplies, and ensuring that we work together to make sure that every client receives the test that they need. This is added with timely monitoring systems. Systems where we bring together the ability to not only diagnose the symptomatic, but proactively and interactively work with individuals that we know are at higher risk. We’ve worked with states to look at where the outbreaks have occurred when they’re not in the large metros, and we see that it occurs very often in places of close settings, among our Native Americans and among our long-term care facilities. It’s an active monitoring program that’s active, integrated, and innovative. Combining this with the third element, which is the rapid response program, relying on CDC to be working with state and local governments to ensure that every symptomatic case are quickly tracked and traced to ensure that we can not only control this epidemic, but predict outbreaks before they expand.
  • The plan includes an approach of using science and technology to develop even newer platforms, more efficient testing, really ensuring that the antibody tests that are utilized and recommended by both FDA and CDC have high quality and predicting both exposure to the virus and antibody development.

Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Admiral Brett Giroir

  • Spend just a couple minutes going over where we’ve been, but more importantly where we’re going. We can group this into three distinct phases.
  • First is our launch phase, when we were really engaging the emerging epidemic and the types of things we need to do. For example, mobilize the private sector to develop tests and have EUAs. FDA has issued 67 emergency use authorizations, which is far outpacing anything that has been done or could ever have been imagined. Galvanizing the research community and the commercial labs. We also set models in the community. Those first community-based testing sites that were federally supported and, really, under the direction of the U.S. Public Health Service.
  • Second, we move to scaling. That phase was important because we knew we needed to be at an immense scale to enter the third phase about supporting opening again. It was enhancing the production capability of a small company in Maine, called Puritan, the swab provider for the country. Because of FDA actions and the actions of scientific community, being able to broaden the types to spun polyester, so U.S. Cotton can now come in and start delivering, within the next couple of weeks, 3 million swabs per week of a different type. Also expanding the community-based testing sites. Whereas we started small with the commercial partners, today, we have 73 of these 2.0 sites going to 110. 68 percent of those sites are in communities of moderate or high social vulnerability. 22 percent are in the highest social vulnerability communities so that we can make sure that testing gets where it needs to be. You’ve just heard that that could be expanded to thousands of sites.
  • Stage three: coordinating with Governors to support testing plans and rapid response programs. Over the past week, a multidisciplinary team from the White House, HHS, FDA, FEMA has met virtually with multidisciplinary teams from every state, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia to understand what their testing aspirations are and to make sure that we can meet those demands. We’re going to have another round of those calls this week.
  • Very exciting as we complete this ecosystem with the large reference labs, LabCorp and Quest, providing the very high-throughput, large-scale testing, the galvanizing of the hospitals and academic labs that Dr. Birx has done machine to machine, understanding and promoting that with the Governors; and, of course, using point-of-care testing when and where that’s very important to stop outbreaks or in remote areas, like in the Indian Health Service or in Alaska.

Full remarks and additional topics covered in the answer and question portion of the briefing can be found here: April 27 Briefing

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