It was not unexpected that the American President would declare a National Emergency regarding the novel coronavirus, which has been rapidly increasing its spread in the US over the past two weeks. However, unlike anything yet seen elsewhere, the efforts the US is making to deal with this crisis are not based in only government command and control. President Trump and his task force got giant enterprises in America such as Google and Walmart, Walgreens, Target, CVS Health, and Quest Diagnostics involved, all of whom are expert in their respective fields to conduct that part of the fight against this disease that each company is already best suited to handle from its own experience.
The markets responded strongly, with the DJIA making up much of its deep losses yesterday, rising 1,985 points Friday. Thursday, the market recorded its largest one-day point drop in history, losing 2,352 points.
While market volatility is sure to continue, and while losses are still more likely than not for the near term, the public-private partnership announced today in America is unmatched anywhere else in the world. If it works, it may prove to be the mechanism other nations try to employ in their own efforts to deal with this crisis.
We will give more analysis of this as needed, but for now, we offer for your own direct viewing and reading both the video taken of the press conference in the Rose Garden today, and the transcript of President Trump’s speech.
As the Coronavirus is a global problem, the geopolitical intrigues that are usually such great fodder have taken a large back seat – at least in my reporting. There certainly are such intrigues that deserve attention, but they are all outside the scope of this piece. Additionally, it helps to postulate about such things when we are physically healthy enough to do that, and the coronavirus presents a threat to our way of life, too, so it seems better to simply focus on getting through this period in our shared history.
Donald Trump: (00:00)
To unleash the full power of the federal government in this effort today, I am officially declaring a National Emergency. Two very big words. The action I am taking will open up access to up to 50 billion dollars of very important and a large amount of money for states and territories and localities in our shared fight against this disease.
Donald Trump: (00:28)
In furtherance of the order, I’m urging every state to set up emergency operation centers effective immediately. You’re going to be hearing from some of the largest companies and greatest retailers and medical companies in the world. They’re standing right behind me and the side of me. I’m also asking every hospital in this country to activate its emergency preparedness plan so that they can meet the needs of Americans everywhere. The hospitals are very engaged. New York and various other places are also various engaged. I just spoke with governor Cuomo. We had a very good conversation and we’re working very strongly with the many states including New York.
Donald Trump: (01:11)
The urgency orders I’m issuing today will also confer broad new authority to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The Secretary of HHS will be able to immediately wave revisions of applicable laws and regulations to give doctors, hospital all hospitals and healthcare providers, maximum flexibility to respond to the virus and care for patients. This includes the following critical authorities, the ability to waive laws to enable telehealth, a fairly new and incredible thing that’s happened in the not so distant past. I tell you what they’ve done with telehealth has incredible. It gives remote doctors visits and hospital check-ins the power to waive certain federal license requirements so that doctors from other states can provide services in states with the greatest need.
Donald Trump: (02:12)
Number two, the ability to waive requirements that critical access hospitals limit the number of beds to 25 and the length of stay to 96 hours. The ability to waive the requirements of a three day hospital stay prior to admission to a nursing home; big thing. The authority to waive rules to hinder hospital’s ability to bring additional physicians on board or obtain needed office space. They can do as they want. They can do what they have to do. They know what they have to do. Now they don’t have any problem getting it done.
Donald Trump: (02:51)
The authority to waive rules that severely restrict where hospitals can care for patients within the hospital itself. Ensuring that the emergency capacity can be quickly established. We’ll remove or eliminate every obstacle necessary to deliver our people the care that they need and that they’re entitled to. No resource will be spared. Nothing whatsoever. 10 days ago, I brought together the CEOs of commercial labs at the White House and directed them to immediately begin working on the solution to dramatically increase the availability of tests.
Donald Trump: (03:30)
Other countries have called us and worked with us and they’re doing similar things or will be doing similar things as a result of that action. Today we are announcing a new partnership with private sector to vastly increase and accelerate our capacity to test for the Coronavirus. We want to make sure that those who need a test can get a test very safely, quickly and conveniently but we don’t want people to take a test if we feel that they shouldn’t be doing it and we don’t want everyone running out and taking; only if you have certain symptoms.
Donald Trump: (04:08)
Using federal emergency authorities, the FDA approved a new test for the virus. We did this within hours after receiving the application from Roche, a process that would normally take weeks. We therefore expect up to a half a million additional tests will be available early next week. We’ll be announcing locations probably on Sunday night. I want to thank Roche, great company for their incredible work.
Donald Trump: (04:36)
I’d also like to thank Thermo Fisher. The FDA’s goal is to hopefully authorize the air application within 24 hours. It’ll go very quickly. It’s going very quickly, which will bring additionally 1.4 million tests on board next week and 5 million within a month. I doubt we’ll need anywhere near that.
Donald Trump: (04:58)
At the same time we’ve been in discussions with pharmacies and retailers to make drive through tests available in the critical locations identified by public health professionals. The goal is for individuals to be able to drive up and be swabbed without having to leave your car. I want to thank Google. Google is helping to develop a website. It’s going to be very quickly done, unlike websites of the past, to determine whether a test is warranted and to facilitate testing at a nearby convenient location, and we have many, many locations behind us, by the way. We cover this country and large parts of the world. By the way, we’re not going to be talking about the world right now, but we cover very, very strongly. Our country stores in virtually every location. Google has a 1,700 engineers working on this right now. They’ve made tremendous progress. Our overriding goal is to stop the spread of the virus and to help all Americans who have been impacted by this.
Donald Trump: (06:07)
Again, we don’t want everybody taking this test. It’s totally unnecessary and this will pass. This will pass through and we’re going to be even stronger for it.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.