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tv   Inside Politics  CNN  March 18, 2020 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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medicine that you get for the coronavirus, right? it's just like the flu. the body has to develop its own immunity to that virus. we've been doing this testing just to slow the spread. and again, it's what i said to my sister, keep her away from mom. don't go into a nursing home. don't go into a senior care facility. don't expose a person who's immune-compromised, who's recovering from cancer, who has emphysema, who has a respiratory illness. that's all this is. we're going to go to work. thank you very much. >> you've been listening to the governor of new york, andrew cuomo in albany, his team discussing state responses to the coronavirus. we're also waiting for a white house briefing scheduled to begin any moment now. the federal response will be front and center there. we expect the president to be part of that. he tweeted out this morning that he had some news he wanted to share with the american people today. that should be just moments from
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now. alongside the coronavirus white house task force. the scheduled noontime briefing comes, of course, amid a big washington push, both for progress on the health crisis, but also on the economic crisis. the white house now asking for a stimulus package that has a giant price tag. you heard, if you were listening to governor cuomo, you also heard a grave analysis about the stakes of this response. the governor saying, "we're fighting a war." the virus now in all 50 states. the u.s. case count surging -- 7,111 confirmed cases, 117 have died here in the united states. the president this morning confirming among the new steps, the border between the united states and canada will be blocked, shuttered to all but essential crossings. the shelter-in-place order in the california bay area expanding. sad word from the pentagon, too, 49 of our heroes, american service members, have tested positive for the virus. the new york governor just moments ago mandating -- listen to this number -- half of the new york state workforce, stay home.
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governor cuomo says the president is also going to send a u.s. navy hospital ship to new york city harbor to help that state, to help new york city and the state deal with the coming overflow of coronavirus patients. another, and maybe the biggest test here, can the american economy outlast this long-running natural disaster? the white house asking for big money, upwards of $1 trillion, to keep american industries and workers in urgent need afloat. there is some contention over how to get this deal done, but the hope is for a bipartisan senate compromise. this package should be in excess of $1 trillion, as early as today. now, that economic challenge would be less daunting if the health challenge recedes, but that won't happen for several months, at least. and the surgeon general today saying the key is for all americans, regardless of age, health, or where you live, to follow the government guidelines and significantly curtail contact with others. >> you should not change your approach to mitigation measures based on a positive or a
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negative test. you could test negative and still be early in the incubation period and still spread coronavirus. so, if you're sick, just like you did, stay at home. we should be acting as if we have the virus. >> with me to share their reporting and insight, kaitlan collins, colleen dmersion of "the washington post," cnn's jeff zeleny and former surgeon general dr. vivek murthy. doctor, excuse me if we stop when the briefing starts. the governor of new york number one said half of the workforce of state, a giant state like new york, must stay home. he thanked the president sending a thousand-bed, you're familiar with "the comfort," on its way to new york city harbor, but he says we think we will need in excess of 100,000 beds in new york perhaps in the next 45 days. what does that tell you about the tipping point in the health care system? >> what that tells me is that we're at a very dangerous moment, john. we have known that we have about
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45,000 to 50,000 intensive care unit beds in this country and that we may need 200,000, if this is even a modern epidemic. this is serious, and we are already seeing our health care systems starting to strain under the lack of resources, doctors running out of masks and gloves, hospitals running out of materials that they need to protect patients and themselves. so, this is urgent. and if we look ahead at what may come, at italy, for example, we see a desperate situation that we want to avoid. we have the power, i believe, to stave off the worst, if we act now, but we've got to be firing on all cylinders. >> and kaitlin, to the white house. we're waiting for the president. we're going to see him any moment in the briefing room with his team. he tweeted this morning that he had some news from the food and drug administration, the fda. we're not quite sure -- i don't believe we are -- what that news is. but the governor of new york just heaping some praise on the president. what are we looking for from the white house team today? is this more to push the new economic plan or a mix? >> reporter: yeah, that's been a notable statement there from
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governor cuomo as he and the president had initially, you know, had this tense relationship with the president criticizing him. they just told us we've got about two minutes before the task force comes out here. we thiv we think the president is coming. that's not confirmed, though he said he would hold a news conference today. but there are several fronts they are facing with the president teasing this announcement, though officials have not shed light on what that will look like. this is happening as talks are continuing with republicans that are incredibly fluid about what that stimulus package is going to look like. we know what they want to get in there, but of course, they're going to have to come to agreements with republicans, see if they can get democrats backing that plan so far, and that has really been the focus for, of course, the treasury secretary right now as they are focusing on trying to blunt the impact of this. but also, you've got the health aspect of this. as we are moving on from just this focus of this slowdown in testing to now the hospital aspect of this and whether or not the health care system is truly prepared for the numbers that they are going to see, and those are the questions that the president has been facing. and of course, we've got to note
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that they have now, according to the white house, mutually agreed to close that border between the united states and canada to any traffic that is nonessential. of course, they say that does not include trade. and john, you can see the members of the task force are coming out behind me right now and we'll get an update shortly. >> we'll get an update shortly. as we do, i want to go to you quickly and forgive me if i have to interrupt if the rest of the team comes in and starts. we just heard the governor of new york heap praise on the president for his actions over the last 24 hours. yes, there are philosophical disagreements on how to do the stimulus, how big the package should be, but it is remarkable to see mitch mcconnell and then chuck schumer say we hope to get this done as soon as today, when you consider the white house wants $1.2 trillion. the democrats have asks that are not in the bill likely to increase the cost. this is a staggering amount of money and it could be approved really in a matter of days. >> it's a staggering amount of money, but it goes to show you what the seriousness of the crisis is, and the fact that, you know, a month ago, before we were in this mode, this would not be really thinkable, that
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you'd be able to have the parties coming together over something like this. again, it shows you that we're in a bit of a different world. >> karoun, sorry, i need to interrupt. the president of the united states. >> i would like to begin by announcing some important developments in our war against the chinese virus. we'll be invoking the defense production act, just in case we need it. in other words, i think you all know what it is, and it can do a lot of good things, if we need it, and we will have it all completed, signing it in just a little while, right after i'm finished with this conference. i'll be signing it. it's prepared to go. so, we will be invoking the defense production act. last month i signed an emergency declaration under the stafford act, which, as you know, we invoked previously, and which activated fema's national response coordination center. fema now is fully engaged at the
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highest levels. today, fema is activated in every region. we are at level one, level one being the highest level. which we will work with, and we've been working with fema. i've done a lot of work with fema. they're incredible. it's always been on hurricanes or tornadoes. they're right now in tennessee, a large group working in tennessee. they have been incredible. it was a tragic event. alabama last year, also a tornado. and then, obviously, the numerous hurricanes in different locations that were in some cases very devastating, and in every case, fema came through. this is a very different kind of a work for fema, but they will come through as they always do. we have tremendous people, tremendous talent in fema. we're sending, upon request, the two hospital ships. they are being prepared right now.
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they're massive ships. they are the big, white ships with the red cross on the sides. one is called "the mercy," and the other is called "the comfort." and they are in tip top shape. they soon will be. they're getting ready to come up to new york. i spoke with governor cuomo about it. he's excited about it, and i also -- we haven't made the final determination as to where it's going to go on the west coast. "the comfort" is located now in san diego, and it's going to be -- we'll be picking the destination fairly shortly. so, those two ships are being prepared to go, and they can be launched over the next week or so, depending on need. earlier this week, the first clinical trial of the vaccine candidate for the virus began in washington state, as you probably know. the genetic sequence of the virus was first published in january, but thanks to the unprecedented partnership between the fda, nih, and the
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private sector, we've reached human trials for the vaccine. just eight weeks later. that's a record by many, many months. it used to take years to do this, and now we did it just in a very short while. that's the fastest development in history of what we're doing with regard to the vaccine. we're making very, very big progress. today i can announce further steps to expand testing capacity. we're working with several groups to determine if the self-swab, a much easier process than the current process that's not very nice to do, i can tell you, because i did it. but we have a current process that's a little bit difficult, if you haven't done. the groups are working on determining if a self-swab by an individual is as effective as the other. the other's very effective, very accurate.
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but we're going to see if we can do self-swab, which would be a lot more popular, i can tell you that. and that would be administered also by a health official, but it would be a lot easier to do. the fact is that the health officials -- it would free up a lot. let me just say, the self swab is what it is, you do it yourself. the other has to be issued with a health professional, and it's something that is quite difficult, and we think it's working out for the self-swab. and if it would test positive, the people would go and they would do what they have to do. but we think that's probably working out. i've asked the fda to cut through the red tape and reduce regulatory barriers. we are looking at some very exciting things and i'll be holding a second news conference later today. we're going to talk about the
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fda. some things are happening that are quite exciting, and we'll be doing that either later today or tomorrow, fairly early tomorrow. so, we'll see what happens, but the fda, my instructions, have been working very, very hard on a number of developments, and we'll be discussing them with you later today or tomorrow. and this afternoon, i'll be meeting with nurses on the front lines of the battle against the virus. they're truly american heroes. they want to get it done. they're incredible people, so we're going to be meeting with nurses. and i actually look forward to that. they're very brave. they're taking a lot of risk, and they have done an incredible job, and they never complain. today i'm also announcing that the department of housing and urban development is providing immediate relief to renters and homeowners by suspending all foreclosures and evictions until the end of april. so, we're working very closely
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with dr. ben carson and everybody from hud. every generation of americans has been called to make shared sacrifices for the good of the nation. in world war ii, young people in their teenage years volunteered to fight. they wanted to fight so badly because they love our country. workers refused to go home and slept on factory floors to keep assembly lines running, and you know, the numbers of ships that they built during world war ii, to this day has never -- nothing like that has ever been equal. they were doing ships on a, literally on a daily basis. nobody's ever seen anything like it. to this day, nobody's seen anything like what they were able to do during world war ii. and now it's our time. we must sacrifice together, because we are all in this together, and we'll come through together. it's the invisible enemy that's always the toughest enemy, the invisible enemy, but we're going to defeat the invisible enemy. i think we're going to do it
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even faster than we thought. and it will be a complete victory. it will be a total victory. so, we'll have a second conference again, having to do with the fda and this. i think it's going to be potentially a very exciting news conference, and we will do it as quickly as we can. so, whether it's today or tomorrow. and i'll, with that, ask mike pence to say a few words, and thank you very much. >> thank you, mr. president. the white house coronavirus task force met this morning, and now that we have cases in all 50 states, we're continuing to move out on the president's call to bring the full resources of the federal government, the full partnership with every state and territory, the full power of the american economy, to support businesses and families. as the president says to us and every day, we'll do what it takes, we're all in this together. yesterday, the president met with the tourism industry
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executives and also had an engaging discussion with all the top companies in our industrial and medical supply chain. now, the president, as you all are aware, also announced today that by mutual consent, the northern border to canada will be closed to non-essential travel. this does not include essential travel or the transit of goods, but it was through mutual discussion that took place this morning between the president and prime minister trudeau and the department of homeland security will be effectuating that decision. the president spoke with some of the nation's top business leaders today, again, to speak about the supply chain in the country. and for our part, we're going to be conducting a conference call later today with state and local health officials to renew our ongoing commitment, cooperation and collaboration. as the president said last week in signing the stafford act, he stood up the national response
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coordination center. and today, at the president's direction, fema has gone to level one. fema's mission is to support disasters that are locally executed, state-managed, and federally supported. and tomorrow, the president will be hosting all the nation's governors from a video conference at fema to ensure that they have full connection to all of the activated regions for fema going forward. with regard to testing, i'm pleased to report that we're increasing the number of tests being performed by the thousands every day, thanks to the public-private partnership that president trump forged with commercial laboratories around the country. our health experts tell us to remind every american, it's important to remember, people without symptoms should not get tested. we want to make sure that the supply of testing is there for those that need it most or are
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symptomatic or in the vulnerable population. dr. deborah birx in a moment will announce the progress we're making on testing, the infection rate, our recommendations to every american as well as some important, new findings about the impact on youth that we're gaining from data that's coming in from europe. that will be important to every american. on the subject of supplies, the president has our task force extremely focused, as the president mentioned, that he's invoking the defense production act today. secretary esper in a few moments will describe the ongoing efforts that the department of defense is taking to make medical resources available. secretary robert wilkie will announce decisions the va has made to expand hospital capacity within their system. also with regard to medical personnel, at the president's direction, hhs is issuing a regulation today that will allow all doctors and medical professionals to practice across
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state lines to meet the needs of hospitals that may arise in adjoining areas. in addition to that, we are again today asking every american and our medical community leaders and hospitals to partner with us in delaying elective procedures across the country in our health care system to ensure that medical supplies and medical capacity go where they're needed most. seema verma will describe guidance that cms will be issuing on that front. and finally, just, i want to remind every american of the president's 15-day guidance to slow the spread. we are grateful for members of the media and the general public that are adhering to these, sharing them with neighbors and friends. all of our experts continue to believe that if every american will do their part and embrace and put into practice these principles, that we can significantly limit the reach of the coronavirus in the weeks and months ahead.
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thank you, mr. president. >> thank you very much. dr. birx, please. >> thank you. thank you, mr. president, mr. vice president. so, you know, we continue to look at data every single day. there are concerning reports coming out of france and italy about some young people getting seriously ill, and very seriously ill, in the icus. we think part of this may be that people heeded the early data coming out of china and coming out of south korea about the elderly or those with pre-existing medical conditions were at particular risk. it may have been that the millennial generation, our largest generation, our future generation, that will carry us through for the next multiple decades -- there may be a disproportional number of infections among that group. and so, even if it's a rare occurrence, it may be seen more frequently in that group and be evident now. so, we're looking at that
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information very carefully. we have not seen any significant mortality in the children, but we are concerned about the early reports coming out of italy and france. so again, i'm going to call on that generation that's part of that group that brought us innovation, particularly throughout all of their ability to look around corners and skip through games. i always went level by level. i didn't realize that you could go from level three to level seven. that's what they've taught us. they look for things that we don't see. we need them to be healthy. so, again, not only calling on you to heed what's in the guidance, but to really ensure that each and every one of you are protecting each other. and so, we cannot have these large gatherings that continue to occur throughout the country for people who are off work to then be socializing in large groups and spreading the virus. you have the potential then to spread it to someone who does have a condition that none of us
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knew about and cause them to have a disastrous outcome. finally, on the testing piece, and what we're learning. i know you know last week in bringing the private sector, i think what has been exciting to me over the last 2 1/2 weeks is to see this administration harness the full capacity of the private sector. understanding that a lot of our solutions that we need to confront this virus rely on the private sector. bringing the private-sector commercial labs, that's critical into this process, we are now beginning to see that they have spread out in a prioritized way, because we asked them to prioritize the regions that were mostly affected. and so, you still may have difficulty getting tests in areas that do not have significant cases. we've had them prioritize the regions where we need diagnosis, and their diagnostic percent -- remember i told you south korea was under 4%? so, 96% of people were negative. the last report we've seen from the laboratories have about a
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7%-plus positivity rate. still, 93%-plus or 92% are negative, but i think that's encouraging to me personally that we're prioritizing appropriately to those areas that have the greatest need. today and yesterday, therma fisher pushed out most of their laboratory testing capacity, and that will dramatically increase the platform and the ability to run additional tests in addition to roche. so, i appreciate everybody's attention to these numbers. i'm excited that we've prioritized where the need was the greatest, but again, please follow the guidance and please make sure in every report that you're putting out that you're talking about the presidential guidance to actually stop the spread of this virus. thank you. >> thank you, deborah, very much. >> thank you, mr. president. i want to provide an update on
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dod's coronavirus efforts as we continue to focus on our three priorities. that's, first of all, protecting our personnel and their families. second, safeguarding our national security mission capabilities. and third, of course, supporting the administration's whole-of-government approach. first of all, though, i do want to assure the american people that the united states military remains ready and capable of defending the country and our interests abroad. now, with that, the department is lending forward in our response to covid-19. we have issued international and domestic travel repsychiatrics to all dod personnel and families. that should dramatically reduce potential exposure to the virus. those have been in place for some time now. as i announced yesterday, the department of defense will make available up to 5 million respiratory masks and protective equipment from our strategic reserves to the department of health and human services for distribution. the first 1 million masks will be available immediately. we are also prepared to distribute to hhs up to 2,000
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operational, deployable ventilators for use, as needed. yesterday i was at ft. detrick, maryland, which is probably the military's premier research institute, where i got updated on the incredible work our people are doing as part of the interagency team to work on vaccines and therapeutics. they are making great progress there. and we also have announced that we've certified our 16th lab, or we'll soon certify our 16th lab to help processing tests from across the country. additionally, i have directed, as the president mentioned, that the hospital ships "mercy" and "comfort" prepare to deploy to increase the nation's medical capacity, and we have alerted a variety of field and expeditionary hospitals to be prepared to deploy as well, as needed, based on direction from the commander in chief. today, leadership from the army corps of engineers is in new york meeting with governor cuomo and his team. i spoke with governor cuomo yesterday, and other governors. i will be speaking to more in the coming days to make sure that they know what dod can provide through our system to address their needs.
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in my conversations with governors and members of congress about dod's resources, i've made it clear that we will continue to support the administration's comprehensive efforts and the country, every step of the way, while ensuring our nation's security remains the top priority. i want to conclude by thanking, again, all of our service members and their families who have been affected by this outbreak. they are all great heroes. we are continuing to support them throughout this. we are all in this together. thank you all very much. >> thank you very much, mark. >> thank you. so, yesterday, the president made a very important announcement about telehealth, and this is allowing our 62 million seniors to be able to get some medical services from the safety of their home, reducing their risk and without any co-pays. but we're also making sure that the health care system is repaired and that those on the front lines have the support that they need. the reality is, the stakes are high, and we need to preserve personal protective equipment for those that are on the front lines of this fight. and to that end, we have put out
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guidelines over the last two weeks to expand the types of masks that can be used in routine care and saving those n-95s for the most risky situations. conserving personal protective equipment is also essential to combat the virus. today, cms will announce detailed recommendations to further promote this needed conservation, specifically by limiting nonessential, elective, medical, and surgical procedures, including dental procedures. we believe that these recommendations will help surgeons, patients, and hospitals prioritize what is essential, while leaving the ultimate decision in the hands of state and local health officials and those clinicians who have direct responsibility to their patients. and we urge providers and clinicians and patients to seriously consider these recommendations. they will not only preserve equipment, but it also allows doctors and nurses to help those that are on the front lines, and it will protect patients from
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unnecessary exposure to the virus. we fully appreciate that this is going to have a major impact on the health care system, but the shared sacrifice is essential to help those that are on the front lines. and i want to thank the medical society, such as the american college of surgeons and the american dental association, that took a proactive approach and already posted these recommendations. and we've also talked to the american medical association, and they have fully indicated their support for this recommendation. we now invite the entire health care community to join us in this effort. thank you. >> thank you very much. >> thank you, mr. president. my instructions from the president were very clear. i was to do everything imaginable as aggressively as possible to protect the 9.5 million veterans who are part of the department of veterans affairs. last month, we established 19 emergency operations centers across the country.
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we began to limit the number of visitors who entered our facilities. we began -- i think the first system to begin triaging across the country in our 170 hospit s hospitals, the entrance of anyone into our facility without being questioned or tested. we expanded those restrictions to those in our 135 community living centers, which have about 7,800 veterans who are in acute, acute conditions, to make sure they were protected. we also took the next step and limited the dental surgeries we were provided. we've cut back by one-third the number of routine appointments we have had, and we have canceled elective surgeries. these were part of the president's directive to be as protective in a public health sense as we could be, and i think we have set the pace for
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the entire country. i will say, we've often said that we work the most noble mission in the federal governme government. our veterans have been put in the toughest spots in the world, been put in conditions unimaginable to most americans, and they have responded. they have responded clearly. they have responded with passion. and also, the 400,000 members of our department who are out there on the front lines. the last thing i will say is that you have heard a lot about the fourth mission that va has. our first three missions are health care, benefits, and memorial affairs. our fourth mission is to support the federal government in times of natural disasters and pandemics. we are the buttress force in case that fema or hhs calls upon us to deploy medical professionals across the country to meet crisiecrises. we plan for that every day, we
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are gaining from emergency scenarios and we stand ready for when the president needs us to expand our mission. thank you. >> thank you very much. robert, thank you. thank you all. that's very nice. any questions, please? >> mr. president -- >> mr. president, two questions, if i may. your treasury secretary was on capitol hill talking about the potential for what could come, and he said that unemployment could skyrocket to 20%. are we looking -- that could rival the rate of -- are we looking at potentially historic -- >> no, well, i don't agree with that. >> -- devastation? >> no, i don't agree with that. that's an absolute total worst-case scenario. but no, we don't look at that at all. >> thank you. and my second question -- >> we're nowhere near it. >> okay. why do you keep calling this the chinese virus? there are reports of dozens of incidents of bias against chinese americans in this country. your own aide, secretary azar, has said he does not use this term. he says ethnicity does not cause the virus. why do you keep using this. >> because it comes from china. >> racist. >> it's not racist at all, not at all. it comes from china.
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that's why. it comes from china. >> you're not concerned about chinese americans in this country? aides behind you, are you comfortable with this term? >> no. i have great love for all of the people from our country, but as you know, china tried to say at one point, maybe they've stopped now, that it was caused by american soldiers. that can't happen. it's not going to happen, not as long as i'm president. it comes from china. john, question. >> two questions, if i could, mr. president. first of all, in the defense procurement act you're invoking today. senator schumer said on the floor a short time ago that it urgently needs to be put into action to produce medical supplies, particularly ventilators. do you have some targets that you would like to see immediately spooled up under the act? >> we do have. we have tremendous numbers of ventilators, but there's never been an instance like this where no matter what you have, it's never enough. that's the case. it's essentially been signed. it's been drawn and we're going
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to sign it in a little while. if we need to use it, we'll be using it at full speed ahead. >> he said it's urgently needed to be used. do you have some targets -- >> well, we're going to know whether or not urgent, but we have targets. we have targets for certain pieces of equipment. we have targets for masks. you know, the masks, the number of masks are incredible. we've ordered millions of them. but we need millions more. a thing like this has never been requested, and it's never -- we've never had to even think in terms of these numbers, but we need millions of masks. and all of that will be ordered. we need respiratorrespirators. we need ventilators is a big thing because it's a complex piece of equipment. so, we have a lot of ventilators, but we're going to be ordering more. >> and second question, what size will the checks be that will be sent out? >> to be determined. we're working with the senate right now. we're eoworking with everybody on capitol hill. there are some exceptions, but
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it's been democrats and republicans, very bipartisan. >> more than $1,000? >> i don't want to get into that right now, john. we are looking at different numbers. we are looking at timing that would be different, splitting the time, splitting the payments. we're looking at a lot of different things. it hasn't been determined yet, but it will shortly be determined, and people want to go big, as opposed -- everybody seems to want to go big e, and they want to get to the recovery. the biggest thing we can do is get rid of the horrible -- i call it the unseen enemy. you call it -- there are a thousand different terms for it, but it snuck up on us, and it did 128 countries, i think it's in now, something like that, very close to that. think about that. so it spreads very violently. it's a very contagious, very, very contagious virus. >> do you consider america to be on a wartime footing in terms of fighting this virus? >> i do. i actually do. i'm looking at it that way, because you know, if it got out of control -- the big thing we did was very early stoppage of
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people coming in who could be very, very heavily infected. that was a very good move, and it was every early, very, very early, when most people, including professionals, didn't want us to do it. that really saved a lot of lives. and yeah, i look at it, i view it as, in a sense, a wartime president. i mean, that's what we're fighting. i mean, it's a very tough situation here. you have to do things. you have to close parts of an economy that six weeks ago were the best they've ever been. we had the best economy we've ever had. and then one day you have to close it down in order to defeat this enemy, and, but we're doing it and we're doing it well. and i'll tell you, the american people have been incredible. for the most part, they've been really incredible. yeah, please. >> i have one for you and one for secretary wilke as well. you said there are a tremendous number of ventilatorventilators weeks hospitals have been warning of a critical shortage they say we are not prepared for. why did it take so long to
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invoke the defense production act? >> well, hospitals are supposed to have ventilators, too. and when we have thousands of ventilators, it sounds like a lot, but this is a very unforeseen thing. nobody ever thought of these numbers. nobody ever saw numbers like this, even with regard to testing. normally, we wouldn't be doing testing, and they decided to do it. very, very hard to ramp up. now we're getting highly sophisticated tests, and it's going very well. but nobody's ever heard of testing in the kind of quantities that you're talking about. >> but we knew for weeks we needed more ventilators, so why did it take so long? >> well, we knew. it depends. it depends on how it goes. worst case, clul. best case, not at all. so, we're going to have to see where it goes, but we are ordering thousands and thousands of ventilators. and they're complex, you know. these are complex machines, but we're ordering them. does anybody have -- mike, maybe you -- how many do we have? >> yeah, you said you'd get back to us with the number. >> yeah, please. do you know the number? >> we have a specific number of ventilators in the stockpile.
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it's in excess of 10,000. and you just heard the announcement from the department of defense. they'll be adding several more thousand to that. but the president even this morning and yesterday afternoon, speaking with the largest companies in the supply chain in this country. we're hearing a tremendous spirit among industry leaders who are ready to step in and add to that volume. the stockpiles don't count all of the ventilators that exist today in the marketplace and in health care facilities around the country. but the president's given us a directive to make sure that our stockpile, but just as importantly, we're working with industry leaders, the increase in ventilators, gowns, gloves, eye, protective care, garments that are all necessary to lean forward, and we're confident we'll be able to push that with the incredible cooperation of the supply chain that exists in america today. >> but we don't have any exact number prediction why, how many
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ventilators you have? >> we can give you that exact number. we'll give it to you. but we're ordering a lot more. one second, we'll do it in a second. urpz be able to ask. >> two questions, mr. president. thank you. >> yes. >> first on the canadian border what was the tipping point? friday we talked about it, then monday you said no one knew, we're not considering -- >> i said not yet. i spoke with the prime minister, trudeau. very good relationship, obviously, between us and our two countries, and no tipping point. it's just that we want to isolate from the standpoint we don't want people coming into contact, because that's the way we're going to win this war. that is so important, and we both thought it was -- now, it's not affecting trade. it's nonessential. it's nonessential crossings. it won't affect trade at all. and it was just something we thought would be good for both countries. yes, please. >> how do you -- >> second question, mr. president, how could you be sure that trade -- >> go ahead, please. >> back to the virus. how can you be sure that trade
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and everything that's being shipped from one side -- >> well, they're doing it in a very careful manner. you can only be vigilant and very professional, but we're not -- it's not pretending at this moment to trade between the two countries. yes, please. >> aware that the $1 trillion economic stimulus package to be billions for the airlines, critical sectors of the economy, a $250 billion payment directly to individuals, another $250 billion payment on may 18th, again, directly to individuals, and as well, $300 billion for small business loan guarantees. is that in a general sense what you're looking at? >> it could be. it could be. and we're also playing with a lot of numbers, a lot of very big numbers and a lot of small numbers, frankly. was he want to take care. we have to help everybody. it was nobody's fault. this happened and some people could say it was somebody's fault, actually, but it was nobody's fault, and certainly none of these companies that all
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of a sudden had no passengers on planes and had no passengers on cruise ships, and all of the things that have happened, but i will say that it can't be blamed for this, and we have to keep these companies -- because there's going to be a comeback very, very quickly, as soon as this is solved, and it will be solved. we will win and there will be a comeback and it will take place very quickly. >> $150 billion -- there is give or take 330 million americans or so. if you could just do the math on that, that's about $750 a person. a family of four, that would be about $3,000 on average, again, rough math, which, is that where this is headed? >> i don't want to say that because it's a moving -- these are all -- every number that you mentioned, yes, we've talked about those numbers. we're also moving those numbers in both directions. so we'll let you know. it would be -- it's moving along fast. again, there's a great bipartisan effort going on that i haven't really seen before to this extent. >> mr. president -- >> mr. president --
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>> on the self-swab that you mentioned at the beginning of this, has the fda approved that test? >> no, they're looking at it. it's down the line and they're looking at it very seriously. and i think it would be a great thing, because the others, to use a nice word, it is very inconvenient. it's very tough. >> a question for you, sir. you tweeted this morning about your approval rating amongst republicans. you have said that you give yourself a ten in terms of handling this crisis. how do you reassure americans at home who don't trust you to handle a crisis of this magnitude? >> well, i think we're doing a really good job. we started off with a termination of the border, people coming from china, where this started. and i say that seriously. and when i say calm, calm doesn't mean i'm not taking it seriously. calm means -- and we should be calm. we should be extremely calm. but yeah, 95% within the republican party and over 50% -- and i also have -- we have very great approval numbers. i mean, people like the job that we're doing. and when you compare this to
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other epidemics or if you want to use a different term, you can, but within this country, and you look at what's happened over the years, this is being handled very, very professionally. we have the greatest professionals in the world. we're doing a good job. nobody's ever been swamped like this. and nothing's been so contagious, the level of contagion has been incredible, actually. nobody's seen anything quite like this. >> peter, go ahead. >> if i can ask about the test, sir, for a second, that federal officials have shipped millions of tests, as you and your colleagues have said, why is the federal government saying only 59,000 tests have been processd to this point? we just heard from the atlanta public health director saying they have fewer than 50 test kits for more than 900,000 citizens. where are the tests? >> i'll let mike answer that. deborah. >> so, that's a very critical question. and thank you for asking it. so, the test kits that we put out last week through the
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approval -- the rapid movement of that meeting that president trump called less than two weeks ago, that has resulted in bringing our private sector to the table, because the tests in the platform that was out there could only run between four and twelve tests per platform per day. we've now moved into platforms that can run basically tens of thousands of tests per day. so, the reason i'm grateful for your question, because it allows me to point out that, of course, then there was backlog. there were individuals who had been tested, who hadn't had their specimen run because of the slow throughput. it's now in a high-speed platform. so we will see the number of people diagnosed dramatically increase over the next four to five days. i know some of you will use that to raise an alarm that we are worse than italy because of our slope of our curve. to every american out there, it
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will be five to six days' worth of tests being run in 24 to 48 hours. so our curves will not be stable until sometime next week. the reason i talked about thermo fisher yesterday is because their platform is in 2,000 laboratories. they're the ones that are putting out the million tests this week that will solve the issue that atlanta and others have brought up. i wanted to be clear, we prioritize the areas. we do county-by-county analyses. based on those analyses on what counties had more than 50 cases, we prioritize the test kits, we put out the 400,000. and that's why we're seeing a 7%-plus positivity rate. we'll be able to expand that platform and reprioritize based on the accessibility of the other kits. >> perhaps i could follow up. how are nonsymptomatic professional athletes getting tests while others are waiting in line and can't get them?
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do the well-connected go to the front of the line? >> well, you'd have to ask them that question. i mean, they -- >> should that happen? >> no, i wouldn't say so, but perhaps that's been the story of life. that does happen on occasion. and i've noticed where some people have been tested fairly quickly. look, we inherited -- >> could you encourage them to further test others? >> excuse me. we've inherited a very obsolete system. this is a system that was out of date, obsolete, or it was a system that was never meant to take care of the kind of quantity, the number of people that we're talking about, millions and millions of people. if you go back in years past, like even recently with the flu, nobody had tests before. they didn't test the entire nation to see whether or not they had flu. they got the flu, they got better. hopefully, they got better, that was it. now, all of a sudden, they do this very complex testing. what we've done is we've broken it down. we've broken up the system. but it was obsolete, and/or you could say it was also a system that just wasn't meant to handle
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the kind of volume that you're talking about. we've rebuilt it into a system that for the future will be a very good system, if you want to go this route. but this was never done before, and i would imagine it will be done in the future, but we've built it into a very good system by using private companies, the great private companies. and i have to say, roche has been doing a very good job. they are doing a lot of work, a very good job. but this was an obsolete system. this was not a system that was meant to do anything like this or even near this. >> mr. president, a couple things. a major train coalition is calling on you to suspend tariffs with other countries as part of the response to the coronavirus. >> who heads that group? those countries do, probably. check. >> it's an american free trade -- >> yeah, i'm sure, free trade. look, china's paying us billions and billions of dollars in tariffs, and there's no reason to do that. they haven't even spoken to me about that. china hasn't asked me to do that, but we're getting billions of dollars a year from tariffs
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from china, and i can't imagine americans asking for that. but it could be that china will ask for a suspension or something. we'll see what happens. china's having a very rough time. they have their worst year in 76 years, as i understand it. they're having a very, very tough time. and then on top of it, this happened with the virus. but no, we're taking in billions of dollars a year in tariffs, and this was caused by something totally unrelated to tariffs. >> and on asylum seekers and people who cross the southern border illegally, are you planning to invoke 42 usc-265, which would allow you to prohibit entry of certain people -- >> the answer's yes. >> when will that happen? >> very soon. probably today. yes. >> mr. president -- >> any questions for doctor -- on the border, are there plans to fully shut the mexico border? and what do you define as essential travel when it comes to the u.s./canadian border? >> i think certainly is medical. we have military working together. we have industry working together.
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and again, it's not affecting trade. so, things like that. but just leisurely let's go to a restaurant and have dinner, which a lot of people do -- they come both ways. they go in both directions, that kind of thing. we have ended that on a temporary basis. >> next one -- >> yes, please go ahead. [ inaudible question ] not close it. no, we're not going to close it, but we are invoking a certain provision that will allow us great latitude as to what we do. go ahead. >> the "wall street journal." >> i wanted to clarify something, because just a week ago, you all were standing here telling us that unless you have sustained contact with somebody who was symptomatic for covid-19, you really didn't need to worry. you told the president, the vice president, that if you shook hands with somebody that had this, if they took a photograph with somebody who had this, you didn't really need to worry. and yet, several days later we're in a situation where people are being told, don't leave your houses. there are curfews saying you cannot walk alone at night after a certain time. can you walk us through what
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seemed like a very dramatic swing, a very dramatic disconnect from what we were hearing before to what we're hearing now? >> so, two things. we look at data out the time. and i know you're looking at the china and south korea data. and when you look at china and south korea data and you look at what china and south korea did, you can see that their curves are not only blunted outside of wuhan -- so, chinese areas outside of wuhan blunted curve, and south korea blunted curve. if you look at their curve today, they're already on the far end of their denimic curve. of course, none of those countries are fully back to work, and so that's what we worry about, too. secondly there was a series of scientific articles published, and i know you've seen them, too, about surface contamination. i think none of us really understood the level of surface piece. so, we're still working out, how much is it by human-human transmission and how much is it by surface? and this is why those
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fundamental guidelines were put out that says, don't exposure self to surfaces outside the home. basically, what those guidelines are, is don't expose yourself to excess number of persons who could be asymptomatic and infected, and then the person-to-person contact, and don't exposure self to surfaces that could have had the virus on it for which on hard surfaces -- i know we had the cardboard issue about shipping -- hard surfaces, not shown in fabric as much or in cardboard, but hard surface transmission. these are issues that we haven't had to deal with before with the level of respiratory infections, and that's why we have this concern, and that's why the president put out the guidelines. and so, it's to cover both of those pieces. that's all-new science, all-new models. i think many of you have the imperial study available and looked at the impact of those. that's the first time those have been modeled as a comprehensive approach to mitigating an epidemic. >> and dr. birx, yesterday -- >> mr. president -- >> mr. president, what about
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money? >> go ahead. >> mr. president, the "wall street journal" is reporting that the administration's looked at an executive order that would expand the use of investigation incidents of virus, but that fda scientists are warning that this could put patients at risk. >> i haven't seen the article. >> no? >> no, i haven't seen the article. we will -- we are making a lot of progress therapeutically. i will say that. but i have not seen that article, no. >> mr. president -- >> go ahead. >> mr. president, we've shut down nonessential travel to canada. are you considering shutting down all travel to brunt the spread of the virus? and we've heard from industries, like the airlines who are seeking relief. how exactly is your administration going to determine which industries and businesses get -- >> well, there are certain industries that people know. i mean, airlines would be number one, if you look at what's going on. they go from having the best year they've ever had to having no passengers because of what we've had to do.
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in order to win this war. it's a war. so you know, basically, what many of the industries are. what we want to do is we want to make sure they all stay together so that after the war is won, we can immediately go right back up to where we were and even beyond. i think we're going to go beyond where we were. a lot of people are saying that, by the way. we're forced to do that, but we have to win the war first. >> mr. president, thank you. treasury proposed $150 billion today for those industries, but their proposal doesn't detail which industries would get that money and how much. so, aside from the airlines, which you just mentioned, what about the cruise industry, the hotels? how much of that money do you see them getting? >> we're talking about all of it. haven't detailed it yet. we have detailed it to senators and to members of the house. we have been talking about it, and we're coming up with numbers. haven't gotten there yet. but certainly, hotel industry, the cruise ship industry, the airlines, those are all prime candidates, absolutely. >> on the border, sir, when you
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say -- >> which one? >> the northern border. when you say temporary, like in your tweet, did that mean 30 days? >> i would say 30 days. and hopefully at the end of 30 days, we'll be in great shape. >> mr. president -- >> jeff, please. >> mr. president, i was struck by what dr. birx said about millennials and others perhaps not taking some of these warnings as seriously as you would like. some of those people also seem to be your supporters and conservatives who may be quoting some of what you said at the beginning of this, comparing it to the flu. what is your message to them to really follow what you've been saying so far? and are you concerned that they're still listening to maybe your earlier comments rather than your recent ones? >> well, i think my earlier comments are to be calm. i do want people to be calm, because we're going to win this, and it's just a question of time, and i wanted to go quickly. so, based on the fact that i wanted to go quickly, i hope they just listened to what we've been saying over the last period of time. we don't want them gathering.
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and i see they do gather, including on beaches and in restaurants, young people. they don't realize. and they're feeling invincible. i don't know if you felt invincible when you were very young, but they were feeling totally invincible, or are feeling that way, but they don't realize that they could be carrying lots of bad things home to grandmother and grandfather and even their parents. so, we want them to heed the advice. we heed the advice and i believe it is getting through. >> if they're watching, what do you say to them? >> if they're what? >> i think there are a lot of them watching. a lot of these young people at home -- >> i think i just said it. heed the advice. heed the advice. i just said it. yeah. thank you. >> mr. president -- >> thank you, peter. >> mr. president, how long -- >> thank you, mr. president -- >> mr. president -- >> you next. say it? >> thank you, mr. president. in talking about china, you've been very clear about who you think is to blame or where the origin to blame for this virus is -- >> not think. no, no. i don't think. i know where it came from. i don't know if you'd say
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china's to blame. certainly we didn't get an early run on it. it would have been helpful if we knew about it earlier, but it comes from china. and it's not a question about that. nobody's questioning that. >> so, senator cotton is saying that they should be punished in so many words for inflicting this on the american people. do you feel that way about it? >> well, i have a lot of respect for tom cotton, and i know exactly what he's been saying. and there are those people that say that, so, we'll see what happens. thank you. go ahead. it's your turn. >> mr. president -- >> please. he's been waiting a long time. please. you've had your hand up so nicely for a long time. it's your turn. >> thank you, sir. we've seen the chinese government kick out reporters from the "wall street journal," "the new york times," the "washington post." what is your message to the chinese when it comes to transparency at a moment where you still have reporters asking you questions here at the white house? >> yeah, i'm not happy to see it. i don't -- you know, i have my own disputes with all three of those media groups.
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i think you know that very well. but i don't like seeing that at all. i'm not happy about that at all. yes, please. >> you didn't correct the language, but i wonder if you agree with it. do you believe that china is inflicting this upon our country? >> no, i don't believe they're inflicting. i think they could have given us a lot earlier notice, absolutely. please. go ahead, please. go ahead. >> yeah. mr. president, your credibility ratings are very low. there is a recent npr poll -- >> who are you asking of that question? >> i'm asking -- >> because i see that they're very high. if you look, i'm 95% of the republican party. >> quinnipiac, sir -- >> we just had a poll done by a very reputable group where i'm beating sleepy joe biden by a lot in florida, in the state of florida and in other states. you know, so, i don't really know who you're talking about. jennifer, go ahead. please. >> two questions, if you're willing, sir. would you give us an update on your conversation with the airline executives? >> yeah. >> could you explain to them what's coming, what was their
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reaction? >> i did, and they explained to me where they're coming from. they went from, as i said, full planes, packed, the best year they've ever had, by far, to, boom, one day empty because of what we have to do to get rid of -- to win this war. or we would have a level of death like people haven't seen before. so, they've been fantastic. i mean, they've been great. but you know, they went from being extremely happy to being people that are running companies, that are going to need some help, and we'll help them, jennifer. >> mr. president -- >> on ventilators -- >> on sba loans, would you be willing to give us an update on how that's going? we have been getting reports that counties have had difficulty getting -- >> well, it's going -- i mean, there's a lot of influx to those loans, as you could imagine. a lot of people are looking at it. but we're going to be increasing funding a lot. they're very well prepared to do what they have to do, and the sba is doing a fantastic job. she is doing a really good job, the administrator. >> mr. president, a couple questions for dr. birx. >> yeah. >> if i could.
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dr. birx, french researchers have had luck with hydroxy in shortening the duration of the disease. is that something that might be in the arsenal of therapeutics here in the united states? >> i think we are exploring every one of those issues. the president asked for a critical briefing on that today. he opened with that. it is more than that single drug. there are other drugs that individuals are looking at. just to go back to what we've talked about many times, there is things that look really good in cell culture against the virus, that may look good in small animals and then don't have an impact in humans. and so, those are the pieces that we're looking at very carefully. of course, there's also antidotal reports and we're trying to figure out how many of those reports equal scientific breakthroughs. >> and second question, are you confident of the seasonality of coronavirus? >> all we can do is look at the past to inform the future.
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we know what sars looked like. we also know, and i want to put this out -- i know you can get it online -- look at the curve in china and look at the curve in south korea. those curves were accomplished in still the winter season. and so, we're trying to understand what those relationships are. we're very interested in the curves in italy because of their different approach, and we're following every single country's curves. and so, all we can do is look at prior coronavirus and prior respiratory infection rna viruses. these are rna viruses. when you look at blue in the northern hemisphere, when you look at pair influenza and some of the other cold viruses, and if you look at sars, that's the way the peak normally occurs, but that is a november-to-april. we all started later. and so, you're asking me to predict based on a later start, and that's what we're trying to
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really look at china and south korea to really inform that. >> question for dr. birx -- >> kaitlin, go ahead. >> a question for secretary wilkie. how many of veterans that need to be tested has been tested? >> those that have needed to be tested, we believe we've caught most of them. right now, we have 44 veterans who have tested positive. sadly, one has passed in portland. we are working with state labs and private companies to make sure that testing is available. because the president had us out aggressively early, we have been in a better place than most health care systems in the country. i cannot predict this. dr. birx said when the next surge will be, if it will be, but one of the things that we do at va is that we prepare for national emergencies, be they national disasters or epidemics.
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we started preparing for this. we started stockpiling equipment. our equipment is stable, and i think that's in large part because of the instructions the president gave me. >> but do you have a number of how many have been tested out of the number that you -- >> we tested several hundred. i can't give you the -- >> the other day, is it higher than that? >> we tested several hundred, yes. we've tested several hundred. i don't know exactly. i do know that 44 veterans have the virus. most of those are quarantined at home. >> did you get -- >> mr. president -- >> go ahead, in the whack back, yes. >> thank you, mr. president. question for dr. birx quickly. i'm trying to understand what we -- it's about the mortality rate. yesterday we underlined the fact that we had reached 100 deaths. and this morning we wake up and we're at 110. within 12 hours, we climbed by 10%. is it something we have to expect from now


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