President Trump confirmed prior reports by declaring a national emergency to combat the spread of coronavirus on Friday afternoon, releasing billions of dollars in federal funding to help the country fight the foreign virus.
“I am officially declaring a national emergency. Two very big words,” Trump said, confirming previous reports. “The action I am taking will open up access to up to $50 billion dollars in our shared fight against this disease.”
“Our overriding goal is to stop the spread of the virus,” he added. “. . . No resource will be spared, nothing whatsoever.” He revealed that tests will be available “in the millions” in coming weeks, but said “we don’t want everyone running out and taking [tests].”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, later explained that the taskforce had worked to revise the CDC’s past testing regulation to accommodate widespread screening.
“The system was not designed [for it],” Fauci explained. “You have to embrace the private sector.”
Trump detailed a number of next steps, including giving Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar the power to give health professionals “maximum flexibility” to care for patients, and the establishment of drive-thru testing in hotspots within the country.
The president then announced a number of emergency declarations, including waiving interest on federal student loans for the foreseeable future, as well as the purchasing of large quantities of crude oil for “strategic reserve.”
“In the coming weeks, we will all have to make changes and sacrifices,” Trump stated. “But these short-term sacrifices will produce long-term gain.”
He also commented on the House bill on coronavirus stimulus funding, which remains locked in negotiations. “We just don’t think the Democrats are giving enough,” he said. “They didn’t agree to certain things they agreed to. They’re not doing what’s right for the country.”
The Dow rose by approximately 1,000 points during the press conference to its close, finishing up 1,985 points for the day after a week of losses.