President Donald Trump on Tuesday visited the National Institute of Health’s Vaccine Research Center to learn more about the fight against the coronavirus.
“You have to confront it,” Trump said of the disease. “You have to do a lot of good work.”
About 2% of those known to be infected with the coronavirus have died, while about 5% have developed serious infections, based on data from China reported in The Wall Street Journal. In Washington state, nine deaths have been attributed to the coronavirus as of Tuesday evening.
The elderly and those with compromised immune systems have been the groups most affected. Children, usually also a vulnerable demographic, have not yet been heavily affected by the virus.
Officials have identified 92,000 cases around the world, and 48,000 have recovered from the virus.
“The administration’s response has been very solid under very difficult circumstances, including a lack of early warning of the epidemic out of China,” Peter Brookes, senior research fellow for national security and foreign policy at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal.
“Unfortunately, with the large number of questions we’re still trying to answer about the virus and its effects, a sustained campaign of care and communication is going to be needed,” Brookes said.
Here are eight major developments in how the federal government is responding to the coronavirus.
1. Testing Kits on the Way
Vice President Mike Pence and other members of the coronavirus task force briefed reporters in a no-audio, no-video conference Tuesday at the White House. Pence said 77 cases have been identified in a total of 13 states.
“Any American can be tested,” the vice president said.
Previously, testing was restricted based on symptoms. But Pence said kits for testing 1 million people would be shipped immediately.
“It is not necessary for the American people to buy masks,” the vice president said.
2. Paying for the Uninsured
The Trump administration is considering using a natural disaster program designed to cover the hospital costs of uninsured Americans who contract the coronavirus, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Assistant Health and Human Services Secretary Robert Kadlec said at a congressional hearing that discussions are underway about using the National Disaster Medical System reimbursement program.
Asked about the issue at a White House press gaggle Tuesday before boarding Marine One, Trump said: “We’re looking at that issue. We’re looking at the uninsured.”
The program is typically used for natural disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes, and reimburses hospitals and medical facilities. The program pays about 110% of Medicare rates for treating patients, such as those evacuated from hard-hit areas.
The Journal reported that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has been in discussions about using the program to pay providers that treat uninsured patients with the coronavirus.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar announced during the briefing that Trump is donating his $100,000 fourth-quarter salary to HHS to fight the virus.
3. Vaccine Development
The visit Tuesday to the vaccine research center at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, took place one day after Trump and administration officials met with drug companies at the White House to push for a vaccine.
“I met yesterday with the biggest drug companies—Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and many of the other great companies,” Trump said earlier Tuesday when speaking to the National Association of Counties’ Legislative Conference in Washington.
“Many great things are happening, and they are happening very fast,” the president said. “I said, ‘Do me a favor. Speed it up.’ And they will. They are working very hard.”
“We are moving at a maximum speed to develop therapies, not only the vaccines, but the therapies,” Trump told the county officials. “Therapies is sort of another word for cure, where it helps get the people better faster.”
4. Travel Restrictions
Trump suspended entry into the United States by certain foreign nationals who recently traveled to China and who pose a risk of transmitting the disease.
“I ordered sweeping travel restrictions and did them very early, as you probably have heard, earlier than people wanted me to do them. And it turned out to be a wise decision,” Trump told the county officials. “We increased travel advisory levels, increased screening measures, and imposed historic quarantines.”
“We ask all of you to share information about basic health and safety practices with your communities back home,” he said.
The administration imposed travel restrictions on most noncitizens coming from China and Iran to the United States, while also instituting a mandatory quarantine of Americans returning from China.
Further, airport screenings have been expanded to identify anyone showing symptoms, according to the White House.
5. Managing the Economy
Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell announced an emergency reduction in interest rates, fearing an adverse impact on the economy from the coronavirus. The reduction takes the benchmark U.S. interest rate down from 1.75% to just below 1.25%.
The cut was just one-half of a percentage point, but such an emergency cut hasn’t been made since 2008 on the cusp of a recession, The Washington Post reported.
“We don’t think we have all the answers, but we do believe our action will provide meaningful support to the economy,” Powell said. “It will support accommodative conditions and avoid a tightening of financial conditions, and it will help boost household and business confidence.”
6. State and Local Coordination
The Trump administration has declared a public health emergency and utilized reserved funding to help support response efforts to the virus, including increased education to help identify cases.
“America has the world’s most advanced health system. We know that our county health officials play a front-line role in battling public health threats,” Trump said.
“We are working with Congress very closely to pass supplemental legislation that ensures state and county health departments get everything they need,” he said. “I asked for $2.5 billion. It looks like they are going to give us $8.5 billion. I don’t think that has ever happened to me before.”
Pence communicated Monday with all 50 governors to continue coordination of state and local officials to prepare for and respond to the coronavirus.
On Feb. 24, White House officials convened with 40 state, territorial, county, and city health officials. Two weeks earlier, on Feb. 10, the coronavirus task force provided an update at the National Governors Association’s winter meeting about the federal government’s response.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has worked with state health departments regarding travelers returning from overseas.
Additionally, 62 public health emergency preparedness programs are part of the multiagency infrastructure working on quarantine, protecting health care workers, and ensuring medical supply chains, among other things, according to the White House.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has more than 50 teams prepared to assist states and territories. The Department of Housing and Urban Development is communicating with public housing authorities and providers of services to the homeless.
7. DHS Closes Washington State Facility
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf told the House Homeland Security Committee on Tuesday that a department facility in King County, Washington, would be closed because of safety concerns about the high infection rate in the state.
“Late last night, the department was made aware of a situation involving a DHS employee, and out of an abundance of caution and following recommended procedure, I ordered a DHS facility in King County, Washington state, to close beginning today and directed those employees to telework, if possible, in order to reduce the threat of community spread of the coronavirus,” Wolf told members of the committee Tuesday, The Daily Caller News Foundation reported.
“At this time, the affected offices will remain closed for 14 days and all employees have been directed to self-quarantine for 14 days,” Wolf said, adding:
From the headquarters level, we began sending all-employee messages on Jan. 22 regarding coronavirus, regarding procedures they need to take as this continues to unfold, and we’ll continue to do so. At this time, a rapid-response team at headquarters is working with the CDC, state and local officials on further guidance.
8. Fighting Misinformation
Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., a member of the Homeland Security Committee, wrote to Wolf seeking answers about misinformation spread by China and Iran.
Walker’s letter notes the emerging threat that has spread to 35 countries, confirming cases and severe outbreaks in Italy, Spain, and Iran.
To make matters worse, countries such as China and Iran are suspected of spreading disinformation and hiding the extent of the outbreak. In fact, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is accused of covering up the number of infected individuals and the attributable deaths to the virus.
These actions have made the outbreak worse and endangered the rest of the world, who are unable to take the appropriate and necessary actions to respond.
Reprinted with permission from - The Daily Signal - by Fred Lucas
President Trump has done well in dealing with this virus. However, there has been negative impact on other hospital patients. Patients are no longer allowed to have a support person with them during hospital admission and the stay. This causes extra anxiety for the patient because they have no one to be their advocate and to help clarify information. Hospitals are also releasing patients who really need additional nursing or continuation of meds or oxygen. My daughter is an adult, but suffers from extreme anxiety issues in a stressful situation. Because no one could stay with her, she panicked and pulled out her IV’s during an episode. Something has to change so that EVERY patient gets the care and consideration needed,
Good News: Be patient,have faith Know that God is for ALL people and this too shall pass BAD. News All the evil perpetrators esp those who are Bullies and protagonists against our beloved America and POTUS??????????
Thank You for all your work.. Wisdom should be our request to our Heavenly Father. He promises to give it to us if we ask. My prayer are with all you that are on the front line fighting this virus. You have a responsibility compared to none. Thank You. keep up the good work.
What is the public not being told regarding this virus? While “regular old flu” kills more than 20,000 Americans each year, there is a lot more noise being made over this new bug with a much lower death rate – so far. Could it evolve into the 21st century version of the 1918 flu that killed millions around the world? One news source has said the town where it was traced to is where the Red’s have a biological warfare research facility. The ChiCom claim that it crossed over from an animal may very well be true, but the animal may have been one used in research, not one from a farm in the local market.
I appreciate what our president is doing for our country. However, I wish he would discontinue the negative tweets that help no one.
Thank you President Trump. Once again you are our champion, watching out for the country and citizens that God has put in your care. The sad thing is, you have to fight your way through the democrats every day to care for us. Thank you for not giving up!! Trump 2020! VOTE!!
Thumbs up. The President wins again. I never get tired hearing that we are winning. Put another notch in our political gun. Face us in the street in November and we will be politically burying your leftist, six gallon hat full of cow manure ideals on boot hilli, healthy and corornavirus free.
In His Holy Living Word, the Bible, Jesus said, ‘Where two or more are gathered ‘in His Name’ there am I.’ Many Americans have been praying for our country and President, and God in His Word also said, ‘the fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.’ I’m inclined to believe that we are seeing God working through answered prayer in only the way He can. Even though I think this Virus isn’t any worse than some of the others that seem to come upon us in an election year, (one can Google that info), I also think in God’s Wisdom He is using this Virus as a punishment to ‘certain self serving persons in our government. No one knows except the Democrats how many went to Iran in secret. That’s just my thoughts on what’s going on.
It seems that the only one’s who are really in a panic over this are of course parents with young children and the elderly and their families, rightly so but in comparison those on the ‘Left’ who haven’t shown any affects of the Virus are losing their minds over it. The media has contributed to this which the Left worships daily. Such irony that for the Left the one’s whose ‘word’ THEY live by are creating pandemonium for them. Another verse that comes to mind for this is, ‘You reap what you sow, and there is no respect of persons.’ We who live by faith in our Creator know God is good and He will always be in control. We need a revival and I pray God will make His Power known to those who continually work against Him.
Well said, Judy! As Christians we know Our God is in control!!??❤️❤️
So glad to have a fellow follower of the WAY tell it like it is.
I believe GOD is trying very hard to get our attention. Think about the frequency and severity of the Natural Disasters that has increased over the last 40 to 50 years. Jeremiah 29:11 means a lot.
I am very Thankful for President Trump! This article says he put travel restrictions on non citizens coming from China and Iran to the US, what about from Italy and Spain where there are also severe outbreaks? It is very risky for them to come in also, even US citizens ought not to travel there and come back without testing and/or quarantine. I would like to tell everybody that the flu shot is a live virus. At least 70% of all the US deaths from influenza were people who had received the vaccine. I have never had one, so I can keep my immune system strong. If we are immune compromised, we especially should NOT take the flu shot. Pharmaceutical companies are very powerful and we are being told to take the flu shot, along with washing our hands, etc. to protect from the Caronavirus. People can die from the flu shot. Just please do the due diligence of your own research before making the decision to be vaccinated.
this President is doing job of St George,Sisyphus,Hercules and Atlas combined and still it’s not enough,now he is expected to lay his hands on sick and cure them,China spreads the disease, USA to the rescue,same old same old ,not only that,they refuse WHO to inspect,this is absurd beyond absurd.
It is unbelievable how this virus has had so much media attention. The death rate is so low. The flu virus has killed so many people with so many people sick from the flu. The media including Fox doesn’t talk about it. This Virsus like the others will die away!
Not only that but there in not even a whisper about the goodies being spread in San Fran and LA in tent little communities, such restraint from the media
The biggest frustration that I am having with this COVID-19 situation is the incomplete or inaccurate information given to the public as to the best procedures to avoid getting exposure and infected. I don’t know if it has to do with the slow limited information given to us from China but I prefer to be better informed versus listening to people over-reacting. Today finally after. a New Rochelle, NY man, tested positive for COVID-19 and was hospitalized, where we the public were given a clearer picture. It was extremely helpful the announcements today to help understand how to limit exposure contact which wasn’t clear at first. Especially for us seniors, who apparently are most vulnerable if we have underlying other ailments that hinder our immune systems.
Well, MariaRose, apart from isolating yourself from the rest of humanity, I guess the best thing you and this 80 year old can do for protection is to wash our hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, particularly when returning from a public place and avoid touching your mouth, nose, or eyes until your hands are washed.
I carry a small squeeze bottle of hand sanitizer containing 70% alcohol with me when I go out.
I am not letting this thing keep me from restaurants, pubs, and social gatherings. Isolation is unhealthy.
Just be aware of your surroundings.
Good luck and God bless!
How to limit exposure? STAY HOME! DON’T TRAVEL! DON’T TAKE CRUISES! There, now do you understand how to not get infected?
I appreciate our President for having a level head in this emergency. True Leadership. He is not one to over react in a crisis.
I am not at all surprised to hear that China and Iran are not being completely honest about how this virus is affecting their countries, just another example of their lack of concern for their citizens.
Thank God that we have a leader that is concerned for the safety and health of the citizens of the United States.
Lesson to the Democrats: You don’t care about the country, you just care about how you can destroy our country and line your pockets with our money. Shame on you. To those who are in a higher position in life will be judged to a higher standard. Your day of reckoning will come- it is guaranteed!
Thank Sandra. Well said.
I would like to see congress stop finding fault and attacking the president and work with him on this issue. How many members of congress have donated their pay checks to help fight this? Put your money where your mouth is! I thank the president for doing all he can to protect the American people and stay on top of this issue. God bless him, lets return him to office in 2020!
I appreciate the updates from AMAC on the coronavirus issues and the helpful comments from the members. All Americans should fully appreciate the efforts that the administration has put forth to isolate the virus, to fund treatment and containment, and to search for vaccines that can possibly wipe out the illness. I wonder if there are parallel efforts to find a cure for the Trump Derangement Syndrome? Perhaps his overwhelming victory in November will either figuratively kill those who are infected now, or cure the disbelievers who voted against him in 2016.
Thanks, David. The mindless minions embracing the Trump Derangement Syndrome will probably never be cured, because for that to happen would require them to be able to “think critically” (on any level) in the first place and then apply that to analysis of factual data as opposed to repetitively indulging only their fantasies, delusions and dystopian ideological mindsets. Anyone agree?
I love this administration and the fast and efficient way they are handling this crisis! The left, through the Fake News is trying to reign down fear among Americans but the truth will prevail in Jesus Name!
The LEFT and FAKE NEWS are synonymous entities NEITHER of which is good by themselves OR together in any way, shape, or form!
Is communication with Israel ongoing as they have reported to be close to effective vaccine development?
Israel does have top flight scientists.
Israel loves Trump, so if they develop something to help the U.S., Trump will be the first to know!
OLD JOE AND THE VIRUS
I had a dream last night that sleepy Joe Biden in one of his rare lucid moments gave America the Dems answer to the Corona virus issue. Said old Joe:
“If people would simply stop breathing for 15 or 20 minutes the virus would have no place to go”.
The hall erupted with wild applause.
One of Mr. Biden’s advisers tapped him on his shoulder and gave him a quick lesson on biology. Another advisor pulled him aside and pointed to three men dressed in white approaching with a butterfly net. The rally ended quickly.
It’s said that our dreams foretell the future.
Is this farfetched?
Not if you tuned into the Dem debates.
Thanks for the laugh, John.
El Ey what is really scary is any party that will have sleepy old Joe as standard bearer and wagon master will believe anything.
“Time to circle the wagons boys, the Republicans are on the horizon. ”
Glad I could cheer you up. We need it.
Better by far to have Sleepy Old Joe than Crazy Bernie! He SCARES me with his socialist-communist rantings. Biden’s a lying crook, but Bernie’s plans will bankrupt our nation, the government will rule with iron fists, we will have NO rights, NO freedom, NO food or utilities….. Look at the socialist and communist nations around the world – whatever they have, we’ll have; whatever they DON’T have, we won’t have!
There exists a MORE lethal virus among us THE DIMS AND THE LETHAL MEDIA.!
President Trump is doing everything that is appropriate to manage this virus outbreak and the hysteria created by the press??Thank you once again for your steady guidance!