Indianapolis April 9, 2020 – After finishing a conference call with Russian President Vladimir Putin and King Salman of Saudi Arabia, President Donald Trump joined members from the Coronavirus Task Force Team to give an update to the American people and media about medical supplies, oil supply and the Paycheck Protection Program. Trump was joined on stage for today’s briefing by Vice President Mike Pence, Dr. Deborah Birx, Dr. Anthony Fauci and Department of Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia.
The scheduled time for the briefing was 5:00 PM EST, but it was moved back to 6:30 PM EST due to President Trump being on a conference call with President Putin and King Salman about a oil production dispute. “We had a big talk on oil production and OPEC,” Trump said of the conversation. “We had a very good talk, oil production numbers are low and there are layoffs in the United States and Worldwide,” POTUS added. Saudi Arabia and Russia are producing a lot of oil and the United States’s strategic reserve is almost full, but POTUS expects OPEC to announce something today or tomorrow. He’s in the midst of negotiations with the oil and airline industries, but Trump remarked “I would say we’re getting close to a deal and its a very big package to help the airlines.” The airlines deal according to the President will be discussed over the weekend and the plans for the deal will be announced at a later date.
President Trump updated everyone on the health of the Prime Minster of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson. “PM Johnson has been moved out of the intensive care unit, which is a positive development,” Trump mentioned.
As POTUS spoke of earlier in the week, 49 more flights are currently scheduled in “Project Airbridge.”
Trump had some positive words for the American Medical System. He mentioned how strong it is performing along with the testing capabilities, which are the best in the world. POTUS stated they are “19 therapies and treatments now being tested through the United States FDA through the Coronavirus Acceleration Program.” Trump added that “2 million tests have been completed in the United States and Pfizer is testing a drug to stop the Coronavirus from replicating, which is a big deal.” POTUS noted that hydroxychloroquine and zpaks are being distributed for use by doctors at their own discretion and he would like to reach a point where the country is testing around 750,000 people a week before opening up the country.
President Trump remarked about his administration was working with Congress in implementing the Paycheck Protection Program and hes looking at the Department of Education for $6 billion dollars for students, who were impacted by suspended classes.
Before leaving the room, POTUS took a few questions from the media.
Vice President Pence updated everyone on testing. “We have now cleared 2 million tests across the country while testing 100,000 people a day now and we continue to see evidence of stabilization in the greater New York, Louisiana, Detroit and Denver areas,” Pence noted. Speaking about the social distancing guidelines, Pence urged the American people to kept following them, “it’s working America and it’s working because of you’re doing it.” He added, ” It appears these areas are close to the peak of infections and we continue to see evidence that we are reaching or we are at the peak and America is succeeding against this virus.”
As did President Trump, Vice President Pence touched on the Paycheck Protection Program as well, he added that the first payments for people with direct deposits linked to the IRS will go out by the end of next week and the administration remains “on the timetable” to send out the first round of stimulus checks of up to $1,200 per eligible person by the end of next week.
Pence announced that due to the USNS Comfort and Javits Center not being used extensively in New York, health care professionals from both places are relieving health care workers at hospitals and the Department of Defense will provided 75 military medical personnel to go to New York hospitals today to help relieve some burden on health care workers.
“Today, the Task Force asked the US FDA and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to review the feasibility of allowing hospital workers to use cloth gowns that can be laundered and we should likely get guidance soon on this,” Pence noted.
Dr. Birx stated today that “More women are tested, but the rate among men who are tested is higher for positives. 44% of the people who get tested for coronavirus are male and 23% test positive, but only 16% positive results for women.” She added that “This week would be the most difficult, but signs are encouraging already with all new areas seeing increase in cases, but rate much slower.”
Dr. Fauci continued to emphasize that social distancing is working. “While the death rate is rising in New York, they are seeing a dramatic decrease in the need for hospitalizations,” he added.
Labor Secretary Scaila talked about the new steps taken to ensure workers swiftly receive unemployment and paid leave benefits. The Labor Department is helping states dispense unemployment checks. Scaila said “More states will be making the $600 plus-up payments for unemployment benefits and those who have not received them will be given that money later when the state computer systems are updated.”
“We want to lay the groundwork for a blue collar bounce back,” Scaila added.
Vice President Pence, Dr. Birx, Dr. Fauci and Labor Secretary opened the floor up to the media for questions after their remarks.
Full video of today’s briefing:
Full remarks from today’s briefing can be found here
Clips of today’s briefing:
(courtesy of Mike Pence Twitter)
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