Trump: We’ve Got To Keep Americans Healthy, Safe & Secure
President Trump held a press conference with the Coronavirus Task Force yesterday.
Trump was Monday’s KVML “Newsmaker of the Day”. Here are his words:
“Let me begin by again expressing our support, solidarity, and love for the people of our great country. We’re fighting for you and we’re enduring all of this together. And we will soon prevail together. We’re making a lot of progress.
We appreciate all of the great assistance from the governors and people within the states. The relationships have been, really, very good. I spoke with Governor Cuomo. We’re working very hard to get additional things to New York as quickly as possible.
We — as you know, we took care of the hospital, including personnel — the 2,500 beds that we build just recently at Javits, including personnel. And we opened it up to COVID, and that’s something that we also did in Louisiana, and we’re doing it in Dallas.
So we have a lot of not only hospitals being built, but now we’re manning the hospitals because states are, in many cases, unable to get additional people to work. It’s — it’s just an incredible situation. There’s never been anything like this.
One of the most important issues in battling this pandemic is coordinating the delivery of the crucial supplies throughout the nation based upon the most accurate information available. And we’ve got the best healthcare and disaster experts anywhere in the world, and everybody will tell you that, and we’re dealing with big parts of the world on helping them also through this horrible situation where 151 — still, 151 nations are going through it.
We’re working to ensure that the supplies are delivered where and when they’re needed, and in some cases, we’re telling governors we can’t go there because we don’t think you need it and we think someplace else needs it. And pretty much, so far, we’ve been right about that. And we’ll continue to do it.
As it really gets — this will be probably the toughest week between this week and next week. And there’ll be a lot of death, unfortunately, but a lot less death than if this wasn’t done. But there will be death.
We’re looking for an obvious focus in the hardest-hit regions. Some of them are obvious and some aren’t so obvious. They spring up. They come and they — they hit you like you got hit by a club, an area that wasn’t at all bothered. You look at what’s going on in New Jersey — the governor is doing an excellent job, by the way — but how that sprang up.
Every decision that we’re making is made to save lives. It’s really our sole consideration. We want to save lives. We want as few lives lost as possible. It’s therefore critical that certain media outlets stop spreading false rumors and creating fear and even panic with the public. It’s just incredible. I could name them, but it’s the same ones. Always the same ones. I guess they’re looking for ratings. I don’t know what they’re looking for. So bad for our country and so bad — the people understand it. You look at the levels and approval ratings, and they’re the lowest they’ve ever been for media. It’s so bad for — for our country. So bad for the world. You ought to put it together for a little while, get this over with, and then go back to your fake news.
During a national emergency, it’s just essential that the federal decision makers cut through the fog of confusion in order to follow the facts and the science. Many hospital administrators that we’ve been in touch with, even in the really hotspots — you know what they are — are communicating directly with us that their level of supplies are meeting essential needs. And at the current time, they’re really thrilled to be where they are. Whenever local shortages are reported, we’re asking states to immediately meet the demand. And we’re stockpiling large amounts in different areas — in different areas. And we’re going to be discussing that in a little while.
But we want distributions to be made on a fair basis. We have to take care of a large country, not just certain areas of the country. But no matter where we’re — we’ve been there and we’ve been there very strongly. I want to thank FEMA. I want to thank the Army Corps of Engineers. I want to thank our military for what they’re doing.
And we’re going to be adding a tremendous amount of military to help supplement the states — thousands of soldiers, thousands of medical workers, professionals, nurses, doctors. And it’ll be a large number. It’ll be — we’ll be telling them over the next very short period where they’re going. And they’re going into war. They’re going into a battle that they’ve never really trained for. Nobody has trained for this; nobody has seen this, I would say, since 1917, which was the greatest of them all. The greatest of this type of battle. Probably the greatest of them all. Right? 1917. Up to 100 million people were killed.
In addition, we’re working directly with hospitals and existing suppliers and distributors to ensure that those with the greatest need are prioritized. And that need changes. One day it’s one state or one locale, one city. And then all of a sudden, they’re starting to do well. We had some very good reports coming out of the State of Washington, coming out of various parts of California — so, areas that we were getting ready to really hit hard. We can now go to other areas.
It looks like New York is going to be hit very hard. And Louisiana is just amazing the way it just sprang up. And everyone is doing a good job but they’re going to be hit hard.
Areas in the country that are not experiencing large-scale infections are requesting supplies beyond what their present circumstances require. And we talk to them and we tell them and we explain it, and for the most part they’re good with it. We think we’re right.
It’s very understandable that officials would seek to get the most they can get for their communities, but the fears of the shortages have led to inflated requests. We have some states and areas where they’re just asking for far more. I mean, look, we had one state asking for 40,000 ventilators. Forty thousand. Think of it: 40,000. It’s not possible. They won’t need that many, and now they’re admitting they don’t need that many. But we’re getting as many as we can to them.
Again, nobody has ever seen anything like this in terms of ventilators, in terms of protective equipment and uniforms and outfits. But it makes it more difficult for distributors to prioritize the real need, and it could intentionally and, you know — look, they — everybody has proper intentions but they want to make sure they’re 100 percent. And sometimes, when they know they don’t need it, they want it anyway. It gives them that extra feeling of satisfaction, but we just can’t do that. It’s not even possible to think about it.
And that’s why — and we’re a backup. Remember, we’re a backup. We’re the greatest backup that ever existed for the states, especially when we start getting into the hospital building business and getting into the medical center building business, where you see we built many hospitals — numerous hospitals in some states — and medical centers.
That’s why my administration has been requesting actual usage numbers directly from the states and hospitals to meet their needs, because we want to be ready when — when the brunt of it comes, which is coming quickly; you see it. You see it as sure as you can see it. And when the brunt of it comes, we want to be ready to hit the area that needs it. We don’t want to have spent everything in one area, and they don’t need it there to anywhere near the extent.
So let me be extremely clear about one point: We will move heaven and earth to safeguard our great American citizens. We will continue to use every power, every authority, every single resource we’ve got to keep our people healthy, safe, secure, and to get this thing over with. We want to finish this war. We have to get back to work. We have to get — we have to open our country again. We have to open our country again. We don’t want to be doing this for months and months and months. We’re going to open our country again. This country wasn’t meant for this. Few were. Few were. But we have to open our country again.
I just spoke with the commissioners, leaders of, I would say, virtually all of the sports leagues: Rob Manfred, Commissioner of Baseball, Major League Baseball; Roger Goodell Commissioner of the National Football League; Adam Silver Commissioner of the National Basketball Association; Gary Bettman, Commissioner of the National Hockey League; Jay Monahan, Commissioner of the PGA Tour; Cathy Engelbert, Commissioner of the Women’s National Basketball Association; Dana White, the Ultimate Fighting Championship; Vince McMahon President of the WWE; Don Garber, Commissioner of Major League Soccer; Steve Phelps, President of NASCAR; Michael Whan, Commissioner of the LPGA; Roger Penske, Founder and Chairman Penske Corp.; and Drew Fleming, President of the Breeders’ Cup.
And there were a couple of others on, and these are all the great leaders of sport. And they want to get back. They got to get back. They can’t do this. Their sports weren’t designed for it. The whole concept of our nation wasn’t designed for it. We’re going to have to get back. We want to get back soon — very soon.
For example — and I have to say, we’re using the Defense Production Act very powerfully. In some cas- — times directly; in many cases, indirectly. Just the threat of it is usually enough.
But FEMA and HHS have ordered 180 million — think of that — 180 million. Who ever heard of 180 million N95 masks? And we’re working now with 3M to see whether or not that all works out, but we want them to help our country. And I think it’s going to be okay. We’re going to soon let you know. But we need the masks. We don’t want other people getting it, and that’s why we’re — that’s why we’re instituting a lot of Defense Production Act, you could call it, retaliations because that’s what it is; it’s a retaliation.
If people don’t — if people don’t give us what we need for our people, we’re going to be very tough, and we’ve been very tough. Usually we don’t have to use it, but we’ve used it plenty. It’s turning out more and more, unfortunately. And it works very well.
Our Supply Chain Logistics Task Force, led by Admiral John Polowczyk, who’s doing a fantastic job, will ensure they’re distributed to the healthcare and critical infrastructure workers in the areas with the most pressing requirements. That’s the 60 million masks that we’re talking about and the hundred and — 180 million N95 masks. A hundred and eighty million. Who ever heard of 180 million masks?
And this is a incredible thing. A lot of times — and we have to stop playing this game — if a governor wants 200 ventilators, and I say, “No, we’re going to send you 1,000. We think you need more than 200,” and then the media meets with the governor and they say, “Oh, you got more. Well, it’s not enough. The President should have sent more.” So he’s asking for 200. We give him 1,000. They say, “How’s the President doing?” “He should have given more.” Because that’s politics. That’s politics. And that’s unfortunate, because we can’t play that game.
And, you know, that’s one party doing it, and the other party is happy. But they’re all really happy because they should have been doing this work themselves for a long period of time. Many of their cupboards were bare.
With respect to the ventilators, FEMA and HHS continue to monitor the data on an hourly basis where provided by the states. In order to most effectively target the distribution of supplies, we’ve been asking states to provide us with daily updates on the number of ventilators and their utilization rates, because some states have more ventilators than they need. They don’t even like to admit it. They’ll admit it when everything is over, but that’s — it doesn’t help us very much.
This data is vitally necessary so that we can ensure ventilators are getting to the right place at the right time. FEMA, HHS, DOD are developing resources within the next 24 hours. They will have a whole different set of criteria. Every day, it’s different criteria. Every day, this horrible, invisible enemy changes a course. It changes course.
If you were fighting the normal fight, you’d know what’s happening. Here is: They hit one, they hit another, they hit another state. They hit areas that you didn’t expect. But we’re watching it and we’re capturing it.
Our goal is to stay several days ahead of the needs in each state, but we can only do that if the cities and states utilize real-time local knowledge to provide timely and precise data about actual usage. So we have to be able to do that. And if a state has ventilators, as an example, that they know they’re not going to need, they should give them over and we should move them with the other ones. We have now 10,000 in our pipeline, and stockpiled 10,000 — close.
And we’re moving some into New York, so we’re going to need some additional. We’re moving some into New York City and state, separately. And we’re bringing them to the point where they’ll need them.
I can also report that, at my direction, 1,000 military personnel are deploying to New York City to assist where they’re needed the most. That’s the hottest of all the hotspots. New Jersey is right there. It’s right next to it. And I don’t know if that’s overflow, but New Jersey is — it’s a great state and it’s a very — it’s a crowded state also, where you have people on top of people. It’s always tough. But we’re bringing some of the ventilators. We got some for New Jersey just yesterday, and we’re going to bring them some more, including doctors.
We’re getting doctors, nurses, respiratory specialists, and other support workers. These are from the military. We’re taking people now out of our military. We’ve been doing it, but now we’re doing it on a larger basis. And I want to thank Secretary of Defense Esper, who will detail some of what we’re doing, tomorrow and Monday.
As the situation in Washington State continues to stabilize, we’re returning a 300-bed federal medical station to a different location — so where we need it. And we appreciate that. They won’t be needing it, and we appreciate them letting us know. We’re going to move it to a different location. It was already built.
Many governors initially made large requests for federal support for their states in anticipation of a greater number of cases, but the residents of Washington State have done a really good job of following the federal distancing guidelines. They really have.
I’m also pleased to report that Oregon will be spending and sending — they’re spending a lot of money because they really did stockpile well, and they’re also sending 140 ventilators directly to New York, which we appreciate.
And I want to thank the Vice President for the great work he’s doing every day, dealing with our nation’s governors. Mike Pence has been working day and night on this, and we want to get it over. He’s got to get a little more sleep than he’s getting. He hasn’t been getting very much, I will tell you that.
And we’re all in this together, and it’s a beautiful thing to see how people are joining forces to help one another. They really are.
In addition to our courageous doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers, I also want to thank the incredible food supply workers who are feeding our nation. I spoke just a little while ago to Senator Boozman. You know Senator Boozman; we all do. He’s a great senator. He’s a great person. We spoke just this morning, and we discussed how important it is to keep our farmers and ranchers, processors, and distributors in our nation’s prayers. And I want to thank the senator for the incredible job he’s been doing. And a lot of the senators and congressmen and everyone — everybody is working very hard.
My administration is working very aggressively to pioneer new medical countermeasures to treat and prevent infection. Working on a lot of things. We must utilize our nation’s scientific brilliance to vanquish the virus. We have to vanquish the virus as quickly as we can, because we have a lot of things happening in this country, and we have a great future, but we have to get back to work.
This week, the FDA established the Coronavirus Treatment Accelerator Program, which is expediting the development of new anti- — antiviral and other therapies, and they’re doing it on a very rapid basis. And I think we’re having some very good results. We’ll tell you about that.
HHS continues to speed the development of therapies derived from human blood that have the potential to lessen the severity or shorten the length of the illness. And as you know, last Saturday, the FDA also gave emergency authorization for hydroxychloroquine. And the hydroxychloroquine is a — I hope it’s going to be a very important answer. We’re having some very good things happening with it, and we’re going to be distributing it through the Strategic National Stockpile. It’s going into the Strategic National Stockpile to treat certain patients. And we have millions and millions of doses of it; 29 million to be exact.
In addition to that, we’re making it and we’re also getting it from various other locations and countries. In one case, I called Prime Minister Modi of India this morning. They make large amounts of hydroxychloroquine — very large amounts, frankly. And I said — they had a hold, because, you know, they have 1.5. billion people, and they think a lot of it. And I said I’d appreciate it if they would release the amounts that we ordered. And they are giving it serious consideration. But they do make — India makes a lot of it.
But we have already 29 million. If you look — I mean, that’s a big number. Twenty-nine million doses. And we’ve got millions of doses that are being made here and many millions of doses that are made elsewhere that are being shipped here, and it will be arriving.
We’re just hearing really positive stories, and we’re continuing to collect the data. But I’ll just speak for myself: It’s been out for a long time. It’s a malaria drug. It’s also a drug for lupus. And there’s a — there’s a study out that people with lupus aren’t catching this horrible virus. They’re not — they’re not affected so much by it. Now, maybe that’s correct; maybe it’s false. You’re going to have to check it out.
But there’s a lot of very positive things happening with that. That’s a game changer if that’s the case. Obviously, we continue to work on the vaccines, but the vaccines have to be down the road by probably 14, 15, 16 months. We’re doing great on the vaccines. I think Johnson & Johnson is leading — seems to be leading in terms of the studies, but we’ll see what happens. But I feel good about that, but that’s down the road.
But tremendous promise with — with what’s just been mentioned. In addition to that, Gilead Sciences has initiated a phase three that’s down the line, meaning clinical studies of the drug remdesivir. Now, it’s approximately 1,000 patients, which is a pretty — pretty good study. Other drugs are also being studied in patients.
And this week, Oracle, a great company, donated a new web portal — Larry Ellison, amazing guy — and platform to the government to gather real-time data on how patients are responding to the various new treatments. And they have a very sophisticated site, we’ll be learning a lot from Oracle. And thank you to them.
We’re also spending economic dollars like you wouldn’t believe, and speeding economic relief to American workers, families, and businesses. Yesterday, the Small Business Administration launched the Paycheck Protection Program to help employees keep paying their workers. In 24 hours, the Small Business Administration, and over 1,200 lending partners, processed over 28,000 loans — it’s, so far, ahead of schedule — and billions and billions of dollars.
It’s worked out incredibly well, and I want to thank Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, and a lot of the big banks that have been involved, and a lot of the community banks. Community banks have really jumped on it. And it’s, so far, going way ahead of schedule.
The SBA also clarified that faith-based organizations, including houses of worship, are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program — that’s great — as well as the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program that you’re familiar with, on the same terms as every other applicant.
If we run out of funding for the employee retention program, I will immediately ask Congress for more money. This is money that’s really going directly to the people that need it — the small businesses that need it and the workers that need it.
Finally, I can — because when we open, we want to open strong, with businesses that are going. Remember, we had the greatest economy in the world, and then one day, we were told we got to shut it down, stop it, tell everyone to stay home, because of this horrible virus. And we did that, and we did the right thing. But now we have to open. We have to open our country.
Finally, I can report that as of today, the State Department has successfully coordinated the safe return of more than 40,000 Americans stuck abroad on over 400 flights from 75 countries. Many of those countries were terrific in helping us, and I appreciate that very much.
Some of them, I had to call the leaders of the country, most of whom I know. And once I did, they snapped, like you wouldn’t believe. They really helped us great. So I appreciate that. So we brought back 40,000 Americans who were literally stuck in some countries, with no chance of getting out, and we got them back. Four hundred flights, seventy-five countries. Think of that. And those countries, in almost every instance, had a big problem with the virus.
I want to thank the American people, most of all, for the selfless sacrifices that they’re making for our nation. I know it’s not pleasant, although some people have said they’ve gotten to know their family better, and they love their family more than ever, and that’s a beautiful thing. They’ve actually gotten to know them. They’re in the same house with their family for a long time. I guess it can also work the other way, perhaps, but we don’t want to talk about that.
And I want to encourage everyone to keep following our guidelines on slowing the spread. Sustaining this war effort is — and that’s what it is; this is a war effort — is the patriotic duty of every citizen. While we may be more physically distant for a time, we’re closer together in the heart and in the spirit.
And through this, great national unity is happening. We’re having a great unity developing that a lot of people didn’t think would be possible to develop like this.
And we will conquer the disease and restore our nation to its full and glorious might. We’re doing really well, and I’m very proud of everybody out there. We’re very proud of you. It’s something that nobody could have ever projected. It’s been over 100 years that a thing like this has happened.
And the problem with this one is the contagion. It’s so contagious. Nobody has ever seen anything like that where it’s so contagious. You can be feet away and just talking to somebody and catch it. You can catch it. You know how long it can live on surfaces. So things that nobody even thought of, the level of contagion.
So, we’re getting there. We’re going to make sure that it’s over soon. And just keep going. It’s not going to be long.
And thank you very much. And with that, I’d like to ask Dr. Hahn to speak. And he’s been doing yeoman’s work at the FDA.
Thank you very much. Doctor, thank you.
DR. HAHN: Thank you, Mr. President. I’m going to speak about hydroxychloroquine and the efforts around that. Just to preface, I’d like to echo what the President said about the American people and the resiliency and the just terrific work. Mitigation is such an important part of our fight against the COVID-19 virus.
Last week, as the President said, we issued an emergency use authorization to allow the donated hydroxychloroquine to come into the country and enter the general circulation. We are prioritizing this drug to come in for clinical trials, and also into general use for physicians, because as you know, physicians, based upon their interaction with the patients, their assessment of the risks and benefits can write a prescription for hydroxychloroquine if they think it’s appropriate for the patient. Being a physician, we do this all the time. And that assessment needs to be done between a patient and a doctor.
And then the third portion is we wanted to make sure that these drugs were in the circulation — in the supply chain, so that people who have them or need them for the other indications — lupus, rheumatoid arthritis — had them available. So that was the purpose of the emergency use authorization.
One other thing I’d like to mention is that we, on Friday, stood up a formal convalescent plasma program. We have a great deal of enthusiasm for that. There are some reports that this is a benefit to patients in other countries who have had the COVID-19 virus.
And what this means is taking plasma from patients who have had the virus and who have recovered, and transferring the immunity — the immunoglobulins, if you will — the immunity from that person to someone who’s sick. And we’re hopefully expanding that across the country. The Red Cross is involved in that program. And I think it shows a great promise. It needs to be studied like other things. But just like I said before, it provides hope. We don’t want to provide false hope, but definitely hope.
THE PRESIDENT: Tony, please.
MR. FAUCI: Thank you very much, Mr. President. I’d like to just take a couple of moments to talk a little bit about the public health aspects and how it relates to what the President just said about the need for us to begin to at least think about returning to some degree of normality. And that has to do with what’s going to be happening as we end this week and we go into next week.
You will be seeing — and we should not be surprised because the kinetics of how this virus works — is that we’re going to be seeing that there are going to be deaths that are going to continue to go up. But as I mentioned to this group and to the general public multiple times, there really is a cascading of events where you have new cases, hospitalizations, intensive care, and deaths. So at the same time that we may be seeing an increase in deaths, we want to focus on the effective mitigation is really the number of new cases. And that’s what we’re going to be thinking about and looking about.
So we’re going to pay close attention to that, and hopefully the kinds of mitigations that we’re talking about are going to have the impact to allow us to begin to think about maybe changing a bit.
So the question arises is: Is the mitigation working? So let’s look historically and then just look at the reality of it. Clearly, in the countries — China included — that have implemented very strict kinds of programs of mitigation, clearly it works. In our own country, we’ve seen indication of that in Washington. Remember, Washington State was the first to get hit. But they put in a really good program of mitigation. And if you look at the charts that Dr. Birx showed the other day, they’re still down, they’re doing well.
And the reason is — again, what I’ve said before, but I think it’s worth reiterating — that we have two opposing forces here: the virus, which wants to do what the virus wants to do. Viruses transmit from people to people. When people are separated from each other, virus does not transmit; it doesn’t go anywhere. And that’s the reason why something as simple as the physical separation — because if you look at the Vice President’s chart that he shows all the time here from this podium, every aspect of that, ending the COVID outbreak in 30 days, has some aspect of it, a physical separation — whether that’s avoiding crowds, whether that staying six feet away from people, whether that’s doing teleworking. All of it does that. That’s our most important tool. We’ll be talking about vaccines and drugs and things like that that will mitigate later. But this is what we really have to do.
And I want to — I want to actually just plea, as I do multiple times from here, to the American public: You know, as sobering and as difficult as this is, what we are doing is making a difference. So we really need to continue to do that.
I must tell you, I was just mentioning to the Vice President as we came in: Last night, when I wasn’t here, I went out with my wife and actually did a little powerwalking down Massachusetts Avenue — for those who live in Washington, know what I’m talking about — and we passed a couple of restaurants where people were getting takeout food. The restaurants were closed to people going in, but they were open to takeout.
And I saw something that absolutely made me feel really, really good. They were separating themselves by at least six feet. In fact, some of the restaurants had little things on the floor that said, “Stand here” and then “Stand there.”
And I think if we as a nation pulled together to do that, hopefully when we keep coming back here at these press conferences, we’ll be able to show you that that curve that we keep talking about is going in the right direction.”
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