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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  March 18, 2020 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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is inform us to isolate that person so that person doesn't transfer it. but there's no medicine you get for the coronavirus, right? it's just like a 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 or recovering from cancer, who has emphysema, respiratory illness. that's all this is. we're going to go to work. thank you. good day, i'm andrea mitchell in washington where we're moment as way from the daily trump administration meeting. you have been watching, of course, governor cuomo in new york. the daily increase on the coronavirus and its spread is
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expected any moment and we will bring it to you. we expect reporters looking for answers to key questions. what will the president do about a national shortage of protective gear and ventilators from medical personnel with more than 90% of the equipment manufactured in china. will he authorize the defense production act to make factories retool to produce more of the equipment here in the u.s.? will he order the military to help build makeshift hospitals for testing sites as we have seen to move the "uss comfort," supposedly moving to new york harbor. and those are two navy hospital ships. should more communities like san francisco and the bay area be placed on lockdown? already today the president has closed our northern border with canada to nonessential travel in conjunction with prime minister trudeau. trade will not be affected. new york governor andrew cuomo as you just heard announced president trump will dispatch those navy medical ships. those are ships that are usually sent to disasters and war zones
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with 1,000 beds to the new york harbor. the outbreak continues to spread at a rapid pace. now more than 6,000 confirmed cases. 112 fatalities in the u.s. on the economic front, the markets are again in freeall. recession is all but a certainty according to most economists, that is combined two quarter of negative gwyneth paltr negative quarter of gdp and we have had two. the senate majority leader mitch mcconnell announcing a vote later today on that initial $8 billion relief package, which has been blocked since the house voted late friday overnight, by opposition from kentucky republican senator rand paul, who, by the way, is a medical doctor. the president continues to push back on the fact he downplayed the severity of the outbreak until this week. the surgeon general tried to be reassuring with savannah guthrie this morning working for home on "today."
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>> give it to us straight, isn't this going to be longer than 15 days? >> we feel like if we can get america to pitch in -- we feel like if we can get america to all pitch in for the next 15 days, we can flattern the curve. 15 days is likely not going to be enough to get us all the way through. >> and savannah guthrie said she was working from home from her basement out of an abundance of caution because of slight sniffles that would have normally not kept her home but she's trying to not be only excessively cautious but model for the rest of us. joining me now, elizabeth cameron, vnt of global biological policy of the nuclear threat initiative, former senior director for global health security of the white house national security council. jeremy, senior policy fellow of fellow development and former disaster assistant. and our own chuck todd host of "meet the press" and "mpt"
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daily. chuck, let me first go to you. the president has this week been adopting a much more serious pose. we have seen the daily briefings that he is joining instead of just joining and leaving. he denied he rejected the notion of a pandemic. it's good to see this kind of seriousness of purpose. >> look, whatever it is that got him to this point, we're at this point. >> we are here. >> i thought yesterday it was pretty clear to me he understands of the short-term economic impact and payroll tax won't work because he kept mentioning people who work on tips. it struck me that's exactly how they explained it to the president, a payroll tax cut doesn't help the person who works on tips. oh, yeah. you're seeing today -- it feels as if they're going to put a little more meat on the bones of their economic proposal here of our own what we are hearing they're looking at checks to two different points of some form, and it does feel if it's going to be based on an income in your household, how many people under
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the age of 18 in your household, something like that. but this administration wants to send direct checks, one in april, one in may, which seems like something that amazingly when you think about it, that both parties are starting to embrace in a pretty big way. >> and a two-minute warning which may or may not be accurate, but to the white house i want to quickly go around the horn. jeremy, as a public health expert, the surgeon general today was pushing back on any suggestion we're already at the state of italy because we waited so long to get serious about this. the doctors i have spoken to here, public health expert such as yourself, say we already lost the containment battle. we're now in mitigation. >> yeah, i think we're clearly on the track italy is on. we're a week or two behind. what's important to understand is that this has about a five-day incubation period and it can take another five to ten days to develop significant symptoms. the cases that are showing up on the radar now are actually
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people infected as long as a week to ten days ago. so you think about that, and we're already pretty close to what we've seen in italy maybe a week ago. and that means we're in a really rough spot. >> and we're seeing the members of the task force walking out now. we will wait for the president to approach the podium. elizabeth cameron, what about the rejection from the white house about any suggestion it was they who shut down the pandemic or health security office at the nsc in 2018? >> yeah, i think it's pretty clear that the office was closed. it was reorganized, and we had a senior level official from may of -- may of 2018 until the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. we didn't have that fema official whose only job it was to work on pandemic threats. we are where we are. i would like to see the president invoke the defense production act today so we can start looking at shortages in
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this country and also work more closely with our partners and allies on shortages of ventilators we will be facing. there's a lot more to do. i hope to hear more from him today. >> the president is approaching the podium. let's hear what he has to say. >> up this. i would like to begin by announcing some important developments in the war against the chinese virus. we will be invoking the defense production act just in case we need it. i think you all know what it is. 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 will be signing it. it's prepared to go. so we will be invoking the defense production act. last week i signed an emergency declaration under the stafford act, which, as you know, we invoked previously, in which
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activated fema's national response coordination center. fema now is fully engaged at the highest levels. today fema is activated in every region. we're at level one. level one being the highest level, which we will work with and have been working with fema. i have done a lot of work with fema. they're incredible. it's always been on hurricanes or tornadoes. they're right now in tennessee, large group working in tennessee, have been incredible at that tragic event. alabama last year, also a tornado and then obviously the numerous hurricanes at different locations that were sometimes devastating and in every case fema came through. this is a very different kind of a work for fema, but they will come true as they always do. we have tremendous people, tremendous talent in fema.
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we're sending upon request the two hospital ships being prepared right now, massive ships. the big white ships with the red cross on the sides. one is called "the mercy" and the other is called "the comfort." they are in tiptop shape. they will be getting ready to come up to new york. i spoke to governor cuomo about it. he's excited about it. and we haven't made the final determinations 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 will be picking the destination trail shortly. so those who 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
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virus was first published in january, but thanks to the unprecedented partnership between the fda, nih and the 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, 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, maybe you had it done, the groups are working on determining if a
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self-swab by an individual is as effective as the other. the other is very effective, very accurate. but we're going to see if we can do a self-swab, which is -- which would be a lot more popular, i can tell you that. and there will be administered also by a health official but it would be a lot easier to do. the -- the fact is that the health professionals, it would free up a lot. let me just say if the sweelf-sb is what it is, you do it yourself. the other has to be issued by a health professional, and it's something that is quite difficult. 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.
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i'm going to be holding a second news conference either today, we're going to talk about the fda, some things that are happening that are quite exciting, and we're going to be doing that either later today or tomorr tomorrow, fairly early tomorrow. so we will see what happens. the fda with instructions have been working very, very hard on a number of developments and we will be discussing them with you later today or tomorrow. and this afternoon i will be meeting with nurses on the front lines in 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 actually i look forward to that. they're very brave. they're taking on a risk. they've done an incredible job and never explain. today i'm also announcing the department of housing and urban development is providing immediate relief to renter's and homeowners by suspending all
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foreclosures and evictions until the end of april. so we're working very closely with dr. ben carson and everybody from hud. every generation of americans has been called to make sure and 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. the numbers of ships that they built during world war ii to this day has never -- nothing like that has ever been equaled. they are doing ships on -- literally on a daily basis. nobody's ever seen anything like it. to this day, nobody's seen anything like it, what we're able to do during world war ii. now it's our time to sacrifice together, because we're all in this together and we will come true together. it's the invisible enemy. it's almost the toughest enemy,
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invisible enemy. but we're going to defeat the invisible enemy. i think we're going to do it even faster than we thought and it will be a complete victory. it will be a total victory. so we will have a second conference again having to do with the fda. i think it's going to be potentially very exciting news conference. and we will do it as quickly as we can, so whether it's today or tomorrow. with that, i will 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
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every day, we'll do whatever it takes. we're all in this together. yesterday the president met with the tourism industry executives and also had an engaging discussion with all of the top companies in our industrial and medical supply chain. the president, as you all are aware, also announced today by mutual consent of the northern border to canada will be closed to nonessential 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 effect waiting that decision. the president spoke with some of the 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 of cooperation and collaboration. as the president said last week
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in signing the stafford act, he stood up the national response 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 of the nations' 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 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 the supply of testing is there for those
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that need it most or are symptomatic or in the vulnerable population. dr. deborah birx in a moment will address the progress on testing. the infection rate, our recommendation 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 -- 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 the department of defense is taking to make federal resources available. secretary treasury be robert wilkie will announce decisions the v.a. made to expand hospital capacity within their system. also with regard to medical personnel at the president's direction, hhs is issuing a
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regulation today that will allow all doctors and medical professionals to practice across 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. finally, i want to remind every american of the president's 15-day guidance to slow the spread. we're 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 if every american will do their part and embrace and put into practice these
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principles, that we can significantly limit the reach of the coronavirus in the weeks and months ahead. thank you, mr. president. >> thank you very much. dr. birx? >> thank you. thank you, mr. president, mr. vice president. you know we continue to look at data every single day. there are concerning reports coming out of france and italy about young people getting very seriously ill and very sear sousely ill in the icus. we think part of this may be 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 the biggest risk. it may have been the millennial generation, largest generation, our future generation that will carry us through for the next multiple decades, there may be disproportional infections among that group. even if it's a rare occurrence,
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it may be seen more frequently in that group. and be evident. we're looking at that 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 you could go from level three to level seven. that's what they taught us. they look for things that we don't see. we need them to be healthy. not only calling on you to heed what's in the guidance but to really ensure each and every one of you are protecting each other. so we cannot have these large gatherings that continue to occur throughout the country for people who are off work for then to be socializing in large groups and spreading the virus.
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you have the potential then to spread it to someone who does have a condition that none of us 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 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 secretar privaprivate sector, understanding we need the private sector. bringing the private sector labs is crucial to this process. we're seeing they spread out in a prioritized way because we asked them to prioritize the regions that were mostly affected. so you may still have difficulty getting tests in areas that do not have significant cases. we had them prioritize the regions where they need diagnosis and their diagnostic percent.
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remember i told you south korea was under 4% so 96% negative. the last numbers we've seen have a 7-plus percent positive rate. still, 93 plus percent are negative but that's encouraging to me that we're prioritizing appropriately to the areas with the greatest need. today and yesterday thermo fisher pushed out most of their laboratory testing capacity. that will dramatically increase the platform and ability to run additional tests in addition to roche. so i appreciate everybody's attention to these numbers. i'm excited that we 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.
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>> thank you, mr. president. good afternoon, everyone. i want to provide an update on dod's coronavirus efforts. as we continue to focus on our three priorities, first protecting our personnel and families, second safeguarding our national capabilities and third supporting the administration's whole of government approach. first of although i do want to assure the american people the united states military remains ready and capable of defending the country and our interests abroad. we that, the department is leaning forward in our response to covid-19. we've issued international and domestic travel restrictions 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 n95 respirator masks and other equipment from our own strategic reserves to the department of health and human services for distribution. the first 1 million masks will
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be available immediately. we're also prepared to distribute up to hhs up to 2,000 operational deployable ventilators for use as needed. yesterday i was at fort dietrich, maryland, probably the military's premiere research institute, when i got updated on the incredible work our people were doing as part of the inner agency team to work on vaccines and therapeutics. they're making great progress there. we also announced we are certified our 16th lab, or will soon certify or 16th lab to help with processing tests from across the country. additionally, i have directed as as the president mentioned the ships "mercy" and "comfort" be prepared to deploy to help the nation's capacity and averted a variety of filled and expeditionary hospitals to be deployed 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
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the coming days to make sure they know what dod can provide through our system to address their needs. and my conversations with governors and members of congress about dod's resources, i made it clear we will continue to support the administration's comprehensive efforts and the country in every step of the way while ensuring our national security remains the top priority. i want to conclude by thanking all of our service members and families who have been affected by this outbreak. they're all great heroes. we continue to support them throughout this. we're all in this together. thank you all very much. >> thank you very much, mark. >> thank you. yesterday the president made a very important announcement about telehealth, allowing our 62 million seniors to get medical services from the safety of their home, reducing risk and without co-pays. but we're also making sure that the health care system is prepared and those on the front lines have the support that they need. the reality is the stakes are
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high and we need to preserve personal protective equipment for those on the front line of this fight. to that end we put out guidelines over the last two weeks to expand the types of masks that can be used in routine care and saving the n95s for the most risky situations. conserving personal protection equipment is sem 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. we urge providers and clinicians and patients to seriously consider these recommendations. you will not only preserve equipment but it also allows
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doctors and nurses to help those that are on the front lines. it will protect patients from unnecessary exposure to the virus. we fully appreciate 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. i want to thank the medical society such as the american college of surgeons and 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 fully indicated their support for this recommendation. we now invite the entire health care community to join us in this effort. >> thank you very much. >> thank you, mr. president. my instructions from the president were very clear i was to do everything imaginable and as aggressively as possible to protect the 9.5 million veterans who are part of the department
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of veterans affairs. last month we established 19 emergency operation centers across the country. we began to limit the number of visitors who entered our facilities. we began i think we were the first system to begin triaging across the country in our 170 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 that they were protected. we also took the next step and made sure that we limited the dental surgeries that we provided, we cut back by one third of number of routine appointments we had, had. and we have canceled elective surgeries. these were all part of the president's directive to be as aggressive in a public health
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since as we could be. i think we have set the pace for the entire country. i will say we've often said that we work with the most global mission in the federal government. our veterans have been in the toughest spots in the world. they've been put in conditions that are unimaginable to most americans. and they have responded -- they have responded clearly. they have responded with passion, be 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 the v.a. has. our first three missions, health care benefits and memorial affairs. our fourth mission is to support the federal government in times of national disasters and pandemics. we are the buttress force in case fema or hhs calls on us to
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deploy medical professionals to meet crises. we plan for that every day. we're gaining out emergency preparedness scenarios and we stand ready when the president needs us to expand our mission. thank you. >> thank you very much, robert. thank you all. any questions, please? >> mr. president -- >> i will be taking two questions if i may. your treasury secretary was on capitol hill talking about the potential for what could come. he said unemployment could skyrocket to 20%. are we looking -- that could rival the great depression. are we looking at potentially -- >> i don't agree. i don't agree. that's a absolute total worse-case scenario. no, we don't look at that at all. we're nowhere near it. >> why do you keep calling this the chinese virus? there are reports of dozens of interests of bias against chinese-americans in this country. your own aid cesar said he does not use this term. ethnicity does not cause the
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virus. why do you use this? >> it comes from china. it's not racist at all. it comes from china. it comes from china. i want to be accurate. >> the chinese-americans -- >> we have great love from all of the people from their country but as you know china tried to say, everybody point, maybe they stopped now, it was caused by american soldiers. that can't happen. that's not going to happen. not as long as i'm president. it comes from china. >> two questions if i could, mr. president, the act you're invoking today. on the floor a short time ago senator shuster said it urgently needs to be put in action to get into supply medical equipment, naturally ventilators. >> we have a tremendous number of ventilators but there's never been an instance like this no matter what you have it's not enough. that will be the case.
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it's being signed. it's essentially drawn up and will be signed in just a little while. if we need to use it, we will be using it at full speed ahead. >> you said urgently to be used. >> we will know every whether or not it's urgent but we have targets for service of pieces of equipment, targets for masks and numbers of masks are incredible. we have ordered millions of them. millions more. a thing like this has never been requested and never had to think in terms of these numbers. we need millions of masks and all of that will be there. we need respirators, ventilators is a big thing because it's a complex piece of equipment. we have a lot of ventilators but we will be ordering more. >> second question, what size would the checks be that will be sent out to americans? >> to be determined. we're working with the senate right now and everybody on capitol hill. there's been tremendous -- there really has been -- with some exceptions, obviously, because it's always the way it is, but
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there has been -- they've been getting along very well, republicans and democrats. nice thing, very bipartisan. >> would you say more than $1,000? >> we will see. i don't want to get into that right now, john. we're looking at different numbers. we're looking at timing that would be different, splitting the time, splitting the payments. we're looking at a lot of different things. hasn't been determined yet but it will shortly be determined. it will go big. everybody wants to go big and get to the recovery. the big thing we can do is get rid of this horrible i call it the unseen enemy. you call it -- there's a thousand different terms for it. whatever it is, it snuck up on us and it did 128 countries i think it's in now, something like that. very close to that. think of that. it spreads 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?
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>> i do. i am looking at it that way. if it got out of control, big thing we did was early stoppage of people coming in that could be very, very heavily infected. that was a very good move and it was very early. very, very early, when most people, including a lot of professionals, didn't want us to do it. that really saved a lot of lives. i view it as in a sense of wartime president. that's what we're fighting. 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. one day you have to close it down in order to defeat this enemy. and -- but we're doing it and doing it well. i'll tell you, the american people have been incredible. for the most part, they've been really incredible. >> i will start with you, you said there are a tremendous number of ventilators we have but for weeks hospitals have been warning about a critical
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shortage they say we're not prepared for. why did it take so long to invoke the defense production? >> hospitals are supposed to have ventilators too. we have thousands of ventilators, it sounds like a lot but this is a very unforeseen thing. nobody ever thought of these numbers. nobody had seen numbers like this, even with regard to testing. we wouldn't be doing testing and they decided to do it very, very hard to ramp up. getting highly sophisticated tests and it's going very well. but nobody ever heard of testing in the kind of quantities you're talking about. >> we knew for weeks we needed more ventilators. >> depends. worse case, absolutely. best case, not -- not at all. so we will have to see where it goes. but we're ordering thousands and thousands of ventilators. these are complex machines. and we're ordering them. does anybody have a mic? how many do we have? please. do you know the number?
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>> we have a specific number of ventilators in the stockpiles. in excess of 10,000. and you just heard the announcement from the department of defense, they will be adding several more thousand to that. but the president even this morning and yesterday afternoon speaking with the largest companies 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 health care facilities around the country but the president has given us direct information to the stockpile. just as importantly, working with industry leaders that we're securing the increase in ventilators, increase in masks, gloves. eye, protective care, garments that are all necessary to lean forward. we're confident we will be able to accomplish that with the incredible cooperation of the supply chain that exists in
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america today. >> but is there a prediction of how many we will -- >> we're ordering a lot more. go ahead in the back. >> mr. secretary -- >> one second. we will do it in a second. >> two questions, mr. president. thank you. first one on the canadian border. what was the tipping point? friday we talked about it and monday you said we're not considering -- >> i said not yet. i spoke with the prime minister trudeau very, 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 announced. not affecting trade. it's nonessential crossings. it won't affect trade at all. it was just something we thought would be good for both countries. yes, please.
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>> second question, mr. president, are you concerned trade is going to -- how can you be sure trade and everything shipped from one section -- >> they're doing it in a very careful manner. you can only be vigilant and very professional, but we're not -- it's not pertaining at this moment to trade between the two countries. >> the trillion dollar stimulus package could look something like $50 billion for airlines, $250 billion payment directly to individuals, another $250 billion payment on may 18th again directly to individuals, and $300 billion for small business loan guarantees, is that in a general sense what -- >> it could be -- we're also playing with a lot of very big numbers and a lot of small numbers, frankly. we have to help everybody. it was nobody's fault. this happened. some people can say it was
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somebody's fault actually but it was nobody's fault and certainly none of these companies all of a sudden have no passengers and planes had no passengers on cruise ships and all of the things that have happened. but i will say they can't be blamed for this. and we want to keep those companies vibrant 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. it will take place very quickly. >> the $250 billion, give or take 330 million americans or so, that's about $750 a person, family of four, that would be about $3,000 on average again, rough math, which -- is that where this is headed now? >> i don't want to say that. these are all -- every number you mentioned, yes, we've talked about those numbers. we're also moving those numbers in both directions. so we will let you know. it's moving along fast. again, there's a great
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bipartisan effort going on that i haven't really seen before to this extent. >> mr. president -- >> the test you mentioned, has the fda approved that test? >> it's down the line and they're looking at it seriously. i think it would be a great thing. the others, to use a nice word, is really inconvenient. it's very tough. >> you tweeted this morning about your approval rating amongst republicans that said you give yourself a 10 in terms of handling this crisis. how do you reassure americans at home who don't trust you, you can handle a crisis of this magnitude? >> i think we're doing a really good zwrob. we started off with the termination of the border, people coming in from china where this all started, and that means i took it seriously. when i use the word calm, calm doesn't mean i'm not taking it seriously. we should be calm, extremely calm. but 95% within the republican party and over 50% -- and i also
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have -- we have very great approval numbers. people like the job we're doing. and when you compare this to other pandemics 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. nothing has been so contagious, the level of contagion has been incredible actually. nobody's seen anything quite like this. peter, go ahead. >> if i could ask about the test s sir, for a second. federal officials there have been millions of tests and why is the federal government saying only 59,000 tests have been processed to this point. we just heard from the atlanta public health director saying they had fewer than 50 test kits for more than 900,000 citizens. >> i will let mike answer that. >> that's a very critical question. thank you for asking it.
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so the test kits that we put out last week for the approval of rapid movement of that meeting that president trump called less than two weeks ago, that had resulted in bringing our private sector to the table. because the tests on the platform that was out there could only run between 4 and 12 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 is because it allows me to point out that, of course, then there was backlog. there were individuals tested that had not 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 is that to raise an alarm that we
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are "worse than italy" because of the slope of our curve. to every american out there, it will be five to six days worth of tests being run in 24 to 48 hours. so our curves will not be stable until some time 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 prioritized the areas. we do county-by-county analyses. based on those analyses on what counties had more than 50 cases, we prioritized the test kits we put out, the 400,000. and that's why we're seeing a 7% plus positivity rate. we will be able to expand that platform and reprioritize based on the accessibility of the other kits.
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>> if i can follow, how are nonsymptomatic professional athletes getting tests while others wait in line and can't get them? do the well connected go to the front of the line? >> you'd have to ask them that question. i wouldn't say so but perhaps that's the story of life. that does happen on occasion. i noticed some people have been tested fairly quickly. look, we inherited -- >> do you encourage them to test others -- >> we inherited a very obsolete system. it was a system out of date, obsolete or never meant to take care of the quantity, the number of people 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 the flu. they got the flu, they got better. hopefully they got better or that was it. now all of a sudden they do this very complex testing. what we've done is broken it
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down, broken up the system. but it was obsolete and say it was also a system that wasn't meant to handle the kind of volume you're talking about. we've rebuilt it into a system for the future will be a really good system if you want to go this route. this was never done before. i imagine it will be done in the future but we built it into a very good system by using private companies, great private companies. i have to say roche's been doing a very good job. they're doing a lot of work. very good job. this was an obsolete system. this was not a system meant to do anything like this or near this. >> mr. president, i accoupa maj coalition is calling on you to suspend tariffs with other countries in response to the coronavirus? >> who heads that group? those countries do. >> it's american free trade agreement. >> i'm sure. china is paying us billions and billions in tariffs and there's no reason to do that. they have not even spoken to me
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about that. china hasn't asked me to do that. but we're getting billions of dollars a year from tariffs from china. i can't imagine americans asking for that but it could be china will ask for a suspension or something. see what happens. china is having a very rough time. they had their worst year in 76 years as i understand it. they're having a very, very tough time. on top of it this happened with the virus. no, we're taking in billions a dollars a year in tariffs. this was caused by something totally unrelated to tariffs. >> on asylum seekers and people who cross the southern border illegally, are you claiming to invoke 42 usc 265 which would allow you to prohibit entry of certain people? >> the answer is yes. >> when will that happen? >> very soon. probably today. >> on the border, are there plans to fully shut the mexican border? and what do you call essential travel when it comes to the
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u.s./canadian border? >> i think essential is medical. we have military working together. we have industry working together. again, it's not affecting trade. so things like that, which is leisurely let's go to a restaurant to have dinner which a lot of people do. they go both ways in both directions. we have ended on a temporary basis. go ahead. no, we're with not going to close it but we are invoking a certain provision that will allow us great latitude as to what we do. please. go ahead. doctor? >> just to clarify something because a week ago, you all were standing here telling us unless you had sustained contact with somebody who was symptomatic for covid-19, you really didn't need to worry. the president, vice president, you shook hands and took photographs with somebody who had this. you didn't need to worry. several days later we're in a situation where people are being told don't leave your houses.
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there are curfews saying you cannot walk alone at night during a certain time. can you walk us through a very dramatic swing and disconnect from what we were hearing before and what we are hearing now. >> two things, we look at data all the time. i know you're looking at china and south korea. when you look at china and south korea data and look at what china and south korea did, you can see their curves are not only blunted outside of wuhan, so the chinese areas outside of wuhan, blunted curve and south korea, blunted curve. if you look at the curve today, they are already on the far end of their pandemic curve. of course, none of those countries are fully back to work. so that's what we worry about too. secondly, there was a series of scientific articles published, and i know you have seen them too, about surface contamination. i think none of us really understood the level of service piece. so we're working out how much is
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it by human transmission and how much is it by surface? this is why those fundamental guidelines were put out that says don't expose yourself to surfaces outside the home. basically who those guidelines are is don't expose yourself to excess numbers of persons who could be asymptomatic and affected, and person-to-person contact. don't expose yourself to surfaces that could have had the virus on it, which on hard surfaces -- i know we had the cardboard issue with shipping, hard surfaces, not in fabric as much, but hard board transmission. these are issues we have not had to deal with before with the level of respiratory infections. that's why we have this concern. that's why the president put out the guideline. 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
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pandemic. >> dr. birx, yesterday -- >> mr. president -- >> go ahead. >> mr. president, "the wall street journal" is reporting the administration is looking at executive orders that would expand the use an executive rec that would expand the use of investigational drugs against the virus but that fda scientists are warning that this could put patients at risk. >> i haven't seen the article. we are making a lot of progress therapeutically, i will say that, but i have not seen that article, no. >> mr. president, we've shut down nonessential travel to canada. are you considering shutting down all travel to blunt the spread of the virus? and we've heard from cities ly industries like the airlines who are seeking relief. what other industries or how exactly is your administration going to determine which industries and businesses get help? >> certainly industries that people know. the airlines would be number one if you look at what's going on. they go from having the best
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year they've ever had to having no passengers because of what we've had to do in order to win this war. it's a war. so basically you know what many of the industries are. what we want to do is 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 and a lot of people are saying that by the way. we're poised to do that but we have to win the war first. >> to follow up on that, 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. we haven't detailed it yet. we have detailed it to senators and members of the house and we're coming up with numbers. haven't gotten there yet, but certainly the hotel industry, the cruise ship industry, the
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airlines, those are all prime candidates, absolutely. >> on the border, sir, when you say -- >> which border? >> the northern border. when you say temporary which is what you said in your tweet, does that mean 30 days? >> i would say 30 days and hopefully at the end of 30 days we'll be in great shape. jeff? >> i was struck by what dr. birk said about millennials and perhaps others 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 some of your earlier comments rather than your more recent ones? >> 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. i want it to go quickly. so based on the fact that i want it to go quickly, i hope they
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listen to what we've been saying over the last period of time. we don't want them gathering and i see they do gather including on beaches and in restaurants, young people. they don't realize -- they're feeling invincible. i don't know if you felt invincible when you were very young but they were feeling totally invincible and 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. i think it's getting through. i do believe it's getting through. >> what do you say to them if they're watching? >> what? >> i think there are a lot of them watching, these young people. >> heed the advice. i just said it. thank you. >> mr. president, how long do you think -- >> mr. president -- >> i'll get to you next, okay? >> 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.
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i don't think, i know where it came from. i don't know if you would say china is 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. it's not a question about that. nobody is questioning that. >> should they be punished in so many words for inflicting this on the american people? >> i have a lot of respect for tom cotton and i know exactly what he's been saying. there are those people that say that so we'll see what happens. thank you. go ahead, it's your turn. he's been waiting a long time, please. you've had your hand up so nicely for a long time. it's your time. >> 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 when you still have reporters asking you questions here at the white house? >> i'm not happy to see it.
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i have my own disputes with all three of those media groups. 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? >> 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. go ahead, please. >> mr. president, your credibility ratings are very low. there's a recent npr poll -- >> who are you asking that question -- i see that they're very high. 95% of the republican party. we just had a poll that was 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. i don't really know who you're talking about. jennifer, go ahead. >> two questions, would you give us an update on your conversation with the airline
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executives. did you explain to them what's coming and what was their reaction? >> i did. they explained where they're coming from. they went from 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 win this war, or we would have a level of death like people haven't seen before. so they've been fantastic. 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. >> would you be willing to give us an update an how that's going? we've been getting reports that counties have been having difficulty getting -- >> there's a lot of influx to those loans as you can imagine. a lot of people are looking at it. we're going to be increasing funding a lot. they're very well prepared to do what they have to do and the aspa is doing a fantastic job.
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she's doing a great job, the administrator. >> question for dr. birx if i could. researchers have had some luck with hydroxy clor apin. is that something that might be in the arsenal of therapeutics here in the united states? >> i think we're 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 talked about many times, there is things that look really good in cell culture against the virus that may look good in small animals but don't have an impact in humans. those are the pieces that we're looking at carefully. of course there are always anecdotal reports and we're trying to figure out how many equal scientific breakthroughs. >> are you confident of the
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seasonality of coronavirus? >> all we can do is look at the past to inform the future. we know what sars looked like. we also know -- and i just 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. 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. all we can do is look at prior coronavirus and prior respiratory infection r & a viruses. when you look at flu in the northern hemisphere, 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 in november to april. we all started later, and so
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you're asking me to predict based on a later start and that's what we're trying to really look at china and south korea to really inform that. >> kaitlyn? >> a question for secretary will ky. how many veterans of those that needed to be tested have been 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, as dr. birk said, when the next surge will be, if it will be, but one of the things that we do at v.a. is
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that we prepare for national emergencies, be they national disasters or epidemics. we started preparing for this, started stockpiling equipment. our equipment is stable and i think that's in large part because the instructions the president gave me. >> do you have a number of how many have been tested? >> we tested several hundred. i can't give you the -- we tested several hundred, yes. i don't know exactly. i do know that 44 veterans have the virus. most of those are quarantined at home. >> go ahead in the back. >> mr. president, the question for dr. birx, i'm trying to understand -- 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

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