On Friday, March 13, 2020, U.S. President Donald Trump declared a National Emergency for the United States in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that is currently sweeping the globe.
“This will open up access of to up to $50 billion – a large amount for states and territories,” the president said in a press conference. I have also asked every state to set up emergency centers immediately.”
Trump said he is also asking every hospital to activate its emergency preparedness plan and to work with Secretary of the Health and Human Services to doctors and hospitals maximum flexibility to waive laws that limit what hospitals can do.
He also announced a new partnership with the private sector to provide testing for the coronavirus. He said the FDA has approved a new test and did it within 72 hours that enabled an additional half a million tests to be available. Officials also have been in discussion with pharmacies to make drive-thru tests available where individuals will be able to drive-up and be swabbed. Google also is developing a website to determine if a test is warranted and then find the nearest location to get the test done.
“Google has 1700 engineers working on this right now,” the President said.
Members of the private sector such as Walmart, CVS, Target and Walgreens were on hand to ensure people that they are keeping supplies up and will be making parking spaces available for possible test sites.
Other pharmaceutical companies and home health care company officials were available to offer their services. Vice President Mike Pence said that the private/public partnership is unprecedented. He noted that it is especially important that special care be given to the elderly. To this end, it will suspend regulations that could get in the way of treating patients through Medicare and Medicaid.
Other emergency actions taken by the President
- Waived all interest on student loans
- Purchased large quantities of crude oil
While the risk remains low for the young and healthy, they can be carriers and transmit to the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.