President Trump’s Remarks in White House Press Briefing

President Donald Trump

  • Begin by sending America’s deepest sympathies to the people of Lebanon, where reports indicate that many, many people were killed, hundreds more were very badly wounded in a large explosion in Beirut. Our prayers go out to all the victims and their families. The United States stands ready to assist Lebanon. I have a very good relationship with the people of Lebanon, and we will be there to help. It looks like a terrible attack.
  • I also want to provide the latest on Tropical Storm Isaias. Approximately 600,000 are without power along the East Coast, and utility companies are working around the clock to restore service as quickly as possible. I spoke to Governor Cooper, I spoke to Governor DeSantis, and I spoke to all of the people at FEMA, and they’re working very hard.
  • Coastal areas in the storm’s path can expect to see the storm surge and rip currents, while inland areas could see flooding and very, very high winds. FEMA is responding to states that have requested the assistance. We have a list of those states; we can give them to you in a little while. And my administration is monitoring the situation very closely.
  • We have the military on guard, but we have FEMA is there, in all cases. The Corps of Engineers is ready if needed the Army Corps of Engineers. Very talented people. I urge everyone in the storm’s path to remain alert and to follow the guidance of your state and local authorities.
  • I now want to update you on the path forward, having to do with the China virus. Before I do that, I want to give you some numbers, which are rather spectacular, that just came out. The manufacturing index of the Institute for Supply Management increased for the third month in a row, rising nearly 2 points in July to 54.2, that’s fantastic, the highest reading since March of 2019. 
  • This is remarkable, considering the survey was conducted throughout July and showed significant improvement despite the Southwest, in particular, virus hotspots. The ISM measures, and it’s a very strong measure of new orders. It rose 5 points in July, to 61.5, in its highest rating, that would be, since September of 2018. That’s a big number. 
  • Since the April low, new orders are up over 34 points, which is the largest increase in the history of the ISM, dating back all the way to 1948. So, 34 points, that’s the largest since 1948. 
  • Similarly, the ISM’s measure of production is up 35 points from its April low to a reading of 62.1, which is the largest 3-month gain in over 70 years. That’s some number.
    These were somewhat surprising, but I’ve been saying we’re doing well, and those

numbers are really spectacular. 

Automobile sales, likewise, are a key factor in the resurgence of manufacturing since the March low of 8.8 million units with sales and all of the numbers that are going up, stunningly. It’s a 65 percent increase since then, to 14.5 million units, which is a massive number. 

The great strength and great news is really for states like in particular, Michigan; and Ohio; South Carolina; Pennsylvania, very good; Florida, little bit. These are great numbers. Record-setting numbers. 

The strength in new car sales is also evident in the used car market, where soaring demand is putting upward pressure on the used car prices.

  • This is a leading indicator of the motor vehicle industry. The need to restock depleted shelves will further galvanize the factory sector. We think, very substantially, based on the numbers. We’re very, very happy with these numbers. I think most people are anywhere from surprised to shock by these numbers, in a very positive way.
  • Economy-wide inventories crashed at a near $320 billion annualized rate last quarter. A crash, in that case, means a good thing, not a bad thing. That’s the largest drop ever on record ever. 
  • Homebuilder sentiment, likewise, is soaring, as our home sales sentiment is now higher than last year. And new homes recently made a 13-year high. We have a 13-year high in new home construction. 
  • New business applications are very strong. That just came out. The widely followed Atlanta Fed GDP forecasts the new data point and incorporates it into quarterly estimates. It looks like it’s showing a 20 percent annualized growth in the current quarter. 20 percent in the current quarter; we’ll take that all day long. That’s a projection. We’ll see if that’s right. The Atlanta Fed very respected. 
  • On the virus, we are continuing to monitor and monitor, in particular, hotspots across the South, Southwest, and the West. We’re seeing indications that our strong mitigation efforts are working very well, actually, especially to protect those who are most at risk, which has really been our primary focus ever since we’ve gotten to understand this horrible, horrible plague that’s been unleashed on our country by China.
  • As of yesterday, cases are declining in 70 percent of the jurisdictions, compared to 36 percent last Monday. That’s a big, big number. Eleven out of thirteen states with the positive rate above 10 percent have seen a decline in daily cases since mid-July. In other states, the data suggests that the need for continuing vigilance always is strong, even though the numbers are getting very good. States that have a test positivity rate between 5 and 10 percent, and in the states with the lowest positivity rates, we also see slight increases in daily cases in a couple of them. 
  • We must ensure that these states do not become new flare-ups, so we’re watching them very, very closely. Fortunately, thanks to substantial improvements in treatment and the knowledge we have gained about the disease itself, the recent rise in cases has not been accompanied by a significant increase in deaths.
  • Fatalities nationwide are at roughly half the level of the April peak. The number of deaths or fatalities are at half the level. One is too much because this should have never happened to us. It should have been stopped at very easily, by China, in Wuhan. 
  • Thanks to our major advances in treatment, we’ve seen vast improvements in recovery rates across all age groups. Compared to April, mortality rates are 85 percent lower among individuals aged 18 to 69, and 70 percent lower among individuals over 70 years old.
  • We’ve also made significant strides in sheltering those at highest risk, especially the elderly. Approximately 85 percent of all current cases are individuals under the age of 65. These are people who are generally at a much lower risk of complications.
  • Since the pandemic began, nearly half of all fatalities have been at nursing homes or assisted-living centers. That’s an incredible statistic, when you hear that number. This data, underscores that the best path forward is an aggressive strategy focused on protecting Americans at highest risk.
  • As we race toward the development of a vaccine, we must continue to take extraordinary precautions to shield the elderly, and we’re doing that. We’re doing that at a level that we’ve never even dreamt possible, both with testing and with common sense. And those with underlining [sic] conditions, especially the elderly with underlying, whether it’s heart or diabetes, they seem to be the two most predominant conditions that cause tremendous problems. While allowing those at lowest risk to carefully return to work and to school.
  • Where embers flare up, we must engage immediately, and that’s what we’re doing. This is the science-based approach, and it’s good with us. Working very hard on that. An extended lockdown would fail to target resources at the highest-risk populations, while inflicting massive economic pain, long-lasting damage on society and public health as a whole. 
  • There won’t be lockdowns, but we watch specific areas. We’re very careful and we’re putting out embers. We’re putting out flames. When you look at what’s happening with Miami, and it’s going the numbers are going down. But Florida is going down very significantly. Texas and California are going down rather significantly.
  • On telemedicine, as we discussed the last time, I said numerous times during this day, it’s an incredible thing that’s happening. A central part of our effort to protect the elderly is to greatly expand access to telehealth, so seniors can be treated from the safety of their homes. And that’s what’s happening. The number of Medicare beneficiaries using telehealth increased from roughly 14,000 a week to nearly 1.7 million — so from 14,000 to 1.7 million per week. In total, 10 million Medicare beneficiaries have accessed telehealth services since the pandemic began. That’s a tremendous thing that’s happened with telehealth.
  • As we shelter those at high risk, we are also pouring every resource at our disposal into the development of therapies and vaccines. Two vaccine candidates are currently in the final stage of clinical trials, with several more vaccine candidates entering phase three in the coming weeks. And you’ve read and seen what’s happened today. Today’s news was very exciting. 
  • Through Operation Warp Speed, we’re also mass producing all of the most promising vaccine candidates, and we’re determined to have a vaccine very quickly. We think we’re going to have something very soon. 
  • We have great companies. Among the greatest companies in the world. Right now, they don’t like me so much because I’m forcing them to drop prescription drug prices massively. Some of these companies are involved in that; some of them aren’t. We’re having a tremendous drop in price. We’re using favored nations rebates. We’re using everything. 
  • For so long, I’ve heard about how wealthy the middlemen are. They call them “the middlemen.” They are very wealthy. Nobody even knows who they are, but they’re very wealthy people. 
  • We’re doing the rebates. We’re doing purchases from other countries — like Canada, which buys drugs for much less money than the United States is allowed to, under a very bad system. I don’t call it “archaic”; I call it “bad” because it’s meant, really, for drug companies to get higher prices.
  • Under the system of matching that we have, if Germany has a pill for 10 cents and ours is $2, we’re allowed to say we want favored nations, and we want the pill for the same as the lowest country in the world. If they sell to one country lower than anybody else, that’s the price we’re going to get. Drug companies aren’t too happy about that big pharma.
  • We’ve also dramatically accelerated the availability of plasma therapies, steroid treatments, antivirals, and other therapies to treat the illness. Today, the NIH announced that they’re beginning the trial of two new antibody treatments, which will take place in 40 cities across the country. We’re going to move very quickly. Results look very good already. Incredible results. 
  • More than 230 clinical trials for potential treatments are underway, and we’ve secured 500,000 courses of treatment for remdesivir. We’re really doing a job with it, and it’s helping a lot of people. That’s why you see the fatalities and mortality numbers looking very good relatively speaking, that is. That’s for American hospitals through the month of September. We have remdesivir at a very high level for hospitals through the month of September. That’s big news.
  • The United States also has far and away the most robust testing capacity in the world. Testing has been incredible, what we’ve been able to do. Nobody is even close. Since March 12th, we’ve increased daily testing by 32,000 percent. How’s that? Thirty-two thousand percent. Somebody would say, “That must be a typo.” It’s not a typo. Thirty-two thousand percent. 
  • We now have conducted over 61 million tests nationwide, averaging over 820,000 tests per day and nearly 5 million tests per week. And now that we’re understanding the virus, we’re understanding what we’re doing with respect to who it affects, who it’s destroying, and who gets away with it like young people, very young people. We’ll be having some interesting statements having to do a testing and focus testing. I call it “focus testing.”
  • By comparison, Mexico as you know, the President was here. He’s a great guy. Their numbers are much different. They do about 1 million tests. France has done 2.9 million tests. Canada is around the 4 million mark. Australia is around the 4 million mark. The United States is testing more people in a single week than, in many cases, large segments or large, well-known countries all put together. It’s been an amazing achievement: the testing and the quality of the testing also. And now we’re doing testing where you can have results in 5 minutes, in 7 minutes, and 15 minutes, as opposed to waiting to come back from labs.
  • Over the last several weeks, HHS has opened surging testing sites in Baton Rouge; New Orleans; Phoenix; Miami; Jacksonville, Florida; McAllen, Texas; Bakersfield, California. And this week, we’re opening new surge sites in Houston, Texas; Atlanta. To date, more than 130,000 tests have been conducted at these sites. 
  • Last week, the FDA also authorized the first two tests that display an estimated quantity of antibodies present in the individual’s blood, which is a big deal, allowing us to learn more about the immune response. 
  • FEMA and HHS has worked with the private sector to deliver more than 200 million N95 masks, 855 million surgical masks, 36 million goggles and face shields, 364 million gowns and coveralls, and 21 billion gloves.
  • We distribute that to the governors, different states. And when we get on the phone with them, they’re very happy, that I can tell you. No complaints from any of them. They’re very, very happy. What they say to you separately maybe will change for political reasons, but they are very happy with the job we’ve done.
  • In our National Stockpile, we’ve tripled the number of N95 masks on hand to more than 40 million; tripled the number of gowns to 15 million; and quadrupled the number of ventilators to nearly 70,000. These numbers are growing every day, and we’re now making thousands of ventilators — many thousands of ventilators a month. We’re getting them to other countries who are desperately in need of ventilators. They’re very hard to produce. They’re very complicated machines. We’re fully stocked here, and we’ve made sure that every state is fully stocked, but we’re getting them to a lot of countries that need help.
  • We’ll continue to work with the governors and local authorities to help them ensure significant hospital capacity, protective equipment, supplies, and medicine. I’m more confident than ever that we will get a vaccine very soon and we will defeat the virus. 
  • I want to thank you all for being here. We’ll take a few questions.

Topics covered in the answer and question portion of the briefing can be found here: August 4 Briefing

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