President Trump’s Remarks at White House Coronavirus Briefing

Today, President Trump held the first Coronavirus Task Force Briefing since April. 
A summary of his remarks are as follows:

President Donald Trump

  • Provide an update on our response to the China virus and what my Administration is doing to get the outbreak in the Sun Belt under control. 
  • My team is working night and day with Capitol Hill to advance the next economic relief package.  We’re working very hard on it.  We’re making a lot of progress.  I also know that both sides want to get it done.  We’ll call it “phase four.”  I think we’re going to get it done.  We’ll protect our workers, our schools, and our families, and protect them very strongly.
  • As one family, we mourn every precious life that’s been lost.  I pledge in their honor that we will develop a vaccine and we will defeat the virus. 
  • We’re doing very well with vaccine development and therapeutic development. 
  • Thank our brave doctors and nurses and frontline responders.  The job they do is incredible, and they are truly brave.
  • My Administration will stop at nothing to save lives and shield the vulnerable, which is so important.  We’ve learned so much about this disease
  • The vaccines are coming, and they’re coming a lot sooner than anyone thought possible, by years. 
  • The China virus is a vicious and dangerous illness, but we’ve learned a great deal about it and who it targets. 
  • We are in the process of developing a strategy that’s going to be very, very powerful.  We’ve developed them as we go along. 
  • Some areas of our country are doing very well; others are doing less well. It will probably, unfortunately, get worse before it gets better — something I don’t like saying about things, but that’s the way it is. 
  • The Governors are working very, very hard, and we are supporting them 100 percent. Everything they need, they get. 
  • We have tremendous supplies and a great supply chain, whether it’s ventilators or gowns or just about anything they need. So that’s a big difference from inheriting very, very empty cupboards.
  • The median age of those who succumb to the China virus is 78 years old. Roughly half of all deaths have been individuals in nursing homes or in long-term care. 
  • In one study, 90 percent of those hospitalized had underlying medical conditions, whether it’s heart or diabetes, but usually it’s some kind of a condition. It seems that people have that.  And if they do, it’s a problem — no question about it.
  • Young adults may often have mild or even no symptoms. They won’t even know they’re sick.  They won’t have any idea that they have a virus. 
  • America’s youth will act responsibly, and we’re asking everybody that when you are not able to socially distance, wear a mask, get a mask. 
  • Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact. They’ll have an effect. 
  • Data shows children have the lowest fatality risk.  99.96 percent of all virus fatalities are in adults. Think of that. So that’s much less than 1 percent for children, young people.
  • By understanding these risk profiles and learning how to treat the disease, we’ve been able to greatly reduce mortality in the United States. In fact, we’ll show you a chart and how well we do compared to the rest of the world. 
  • We have several treatments already available that significantly reduce the severity and duration of the disease, including remdesivir, which has been very successful and a widely available steroid treatment. 
  • We’ve learned best practices for treatment of the virus at every stage and have shared these findings with medical providers, and we’ve shared them all over the world. The relationship with other countries has been very strong. We’re all working together. This includes ensuring all hospitals are aware of the importance of different approaches to oxygen treatment, including high-flow oxygen, the importance of steroid treatment for those on ventilators.
  • When you’re on a ventilator, we’ve learned a tremendous about the use of the ventilator. Doctors and nurses and helpers have become incredibly good at the use of a ventilator, which is actually a very complicated procedure.
  • Allocating remdesivir to hospitals based on new admission since it works best early in hospitalization. They’re using it much earlier.  Fatalities nationwide have fallen 75 percent since mid-April. It’s a great number.
  • As cases and fatalities rise in certain hard-hit states, which you’re looking at right now, we’re surging personnel, supplies, and therapeutics. We again have tremendous amounts of supplies. We are in very good shape, and we can move them quickly.
  • Our case fatality rate has continued to decline and is lower than the European Union and almost everywhere else in the world. If you watch American television, you’d think that the United States was the only country involved with and suffering from the China virus. Well, the world is suffering very badly. 
  • We’ve done much better than most. With the fatality rate at a lower rate than most, it’s something that we can talk about, but we’re working, again, with them because we’re helping a lot of countries that people don’t even know about.  I get calls all the time asking for help, especially as it pertains to the ventilators. They need help with ventilators; they have to get them. 
  • We’re making thousands now a month — thousands of ventilators a month.  It’s been quite amazing.
  • We keep doing the good job, and things will get better and better. 
  • In April, the average age of individuals who tested positive for the virus was over 50 years old. Today, the average age is significantly younger. Hospital lengths of stay are almost half of what they were in April. The rate of cases requiring hospitalization has been reduced.  Mortality among those admitted to the hospital is nearly one half of what it was in April.
  • We’ve learned a lot. We’ve learned a lot about this disease, how to handle it. The doctors have learned a lot, not only in the use of the ventilators but in many other things. Things are happening too, like the remdesivir and other elements, steroids, etc.
  • These trends could change without our continued and relentless focus. We have a relentless focus.  It’s been that way from the beginning, but we have learned so much.
  • In recent weeks we’ve seen a concerning rise in the cases in many parts of the South, Southwest, and West.  This growth in cases first began to appear in mid-June, primarily among 18- to 35-year-olds, many of whom were asymptomatic.
  • We’ve achieved a nearly fourfold increase in testing capacity in two months, so we’re successfully identifying more asymptomatic and mild cases. Some cases so mild that you really don’t even treat them. Some cases with children, where they don’t even know that they’re ill. I guess they’re not very ill because they recover almost immediately.
  • Per capita, the U.S. is conducting 50 percent more tests than Europe, and we’ve conducted nearly three times as many tests as all of the other countries in the Western Hemisphere combined. 
  • We’ll be over 50 million tests. This allows us to isolate those who are infected, even those without symptoms. We know exactly where it’s going and when it’s going to be there.
  • We’re also working to reduce turnaround time. My Administration has been aggressively responding to case growth in the Sun Belt, and we continue to do so, working very close with all governors.
  • In the last three weeks, I’ve sent senior officials into nine states to meet with Governors and provide recommendations to the various leaders of the state, including hospital administrators, etc.
  • My Administration currently has zero unfilled requests for equipment or anything else that they need from the governors. No Governor needs anything right now, and we think we’ll have it that way until the end, because, frankly, we are stocked up and ready to go wherever we have to go.
  • We have nearly 7,000 National Guard and military medical personnel in Texas, California, Florida, and Arizona that’s helping us greatly. I want to thank them very much.  The military has been fantastic.
  • We’re closely monitoring hospital capacity in these states.  Hospitals are open for elective surgeries and other procedures. 
  • We want Americans to get the medical treatments they need.  All of the Governors we’ve spoken with say they have enough bed capacity. That’s a great thing. 
  • Our initial shutdown was to prevent the overflow of our hospitals and to allow us to meet the demands caused by this global pandemic, including the ventilators.
  • A permanent shutdown was really never an option. In terms of what we’re doing right now, this would be completely unsustainable, produce debilitating economic fallback, and lead to catastrophic public health consequences.  There are consequences to shutdowns.
  • We’ve saved, potentially, millions of lives by doing the initial shutdown, but now we’re very aware of this disease. We understand the disease, to a large extent.  Nobody is going to maybe ever fully understand it, but we’ll end up with a cure, we’ll end up with therapeutics, we’ll end up with a vaccine very soon.
  • We’re asking Americans to use masks, socially distance, and employ vigorous hygiene, wash your hands every chance you get, while sheltering high-risk populations.  We are asking young Americans to avoid packed bars and other crowded indoor gatherings. Be safe and be smart.
  • We’re surging testing capacity to identify and isolate cases. This includes a newly approved testing platform to nursing homes across the South. We’re being very, very vigilant with respect to nursing homes, because you know all of the problems that we’ve had with so many people — so that all of the staff and residents can be routinely tested and isolated to ensure our elderly are even more strongly protected than anybody else. 
  • Once this current surge in cases declines, the same testing platform will enable people to visit their loved ones after taking a test, which is a big difference. 
  • Ultimately, our goal is not merely to manage the pandemic but to end it. We want to get rid of it as soon as we can. That is why getting a vaccine remains a top priority.
  • Two vaccine candidates are entering the final stage of clinical trials this month. This was achieved in record time. 
  • Four other vaccines will enter final trials in the following weeks, and we’re mass producing all of the top candidates so that the first approved vaccine will be available immediately.
  • We will deliver a vaccine, therapeutics, whatever it is that’s necessary, and defeat the virus once and for all.

Topics covered in the answer and question portion of the briefing can be found here: July 21 Briefing

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