Mar 14, 2020
Donald Trump Coronavirus Press Conference Transcript March 14
Donald Trump held a March 14 coronavirus press conference, one day after he declared the pandemic a national emergency. He was joined by Mike Pence, Jerome Adams, Steve Mnuchin, Ben Carson, Chad Wolf, Dr. Berks, and others. Read the full transcript of his press conference right here.
Donald Trump: (00:19)
Thank you very much. Thank you very much. We just completed a very good meeting of the Coronavirus Task Force and they’re really doing a great job, our professionals. The results are very, very good and when you compare this to what’s happening around the world, we’re very proud of our people. There’s been a tremendous amount of coordination with states, with cities, and they’re a little smaller form of government and they have things going well, they’re coordinating with us. And certain in particular, I think California has been terrific. The relationship, New York has been really good. We’ve had some really good relationships in terms of, especially the hotspots and we’re focused on those hotspots. Some areas we don’t have no problem whatsoever and we hope to keep it that way.
Donald Trump: (01:25)
Before I turned this over to our great Vice President to provide an update, I just want to express my appreciation for the hard work done by the people behind me and the people back in the various offices, including the fact that I just left the Oval Office, so we have some people there that are probably watching this or they’re just working. We’re using the full power of the federal government to defeat the virus and that’s what we’ve been doing. Last week we secured an initial 8.3 billion from Congress for the coronavirus and that was quickly done and very efficiently done. I want to thank all members of Congress. Yesterday I declared a national emergency, which was a very big deal because it opened up avenues that we would never be able to open up without it and it will make more than $50 billion available to us immediately and disaster relief funds and that’s available for states, territories and local governments, so that was really good.
Donald Trump: (02:34)
We also reached an agreement yesterday on a new legislative package that will provide strong support for American families and communities in dealing with the coronavirus, so it was done very, very bipartisan. It was very nice to see it, probably the cooperation. I want to thank Secretary of Treasury, Steve Mnuchin, who did a fantastic job and worked with Nancy Pelosi and their representatives and it was really great, it worked out very well. And a lot of people are benefiting by a lot of provisions in the bill, which they’re going to be discussing with you today and the tremendous provisions. So that’s something that we should talk about. I was honored to see that the stock market, you were mostly there with us, set a record in a short period of time, over a 45 minute period that we had the press conference yesterday in the Rose Garden. That was a record, all time record. I think we should do one of them every day perhaps. How about five times a day? We’ll do one five times a day.
Donald Trump: (03:44)
But that was something to watch and I had no idea. We walked back. I said, “So how did that work out?” They said, “Sir, you just set a new record and the history of the stock market.” So that was pretty good. And those great companies that were there, they couldn’t have been too unhappy either when you think about it, because they’re all very big publicly listed companies, so they did a good job. And more importantly, they’re going to do a good job. When you look at a CVS and Walmart and all of the tremendous people that were there yesterday, these are the biggest and the best and they’re opening up their facilities, they are opening up. They’re right now, literally working right now, on doing something that’s never been done before to the extent that we’re doing it and so we’re very proud of them.
Donald Trump: (04:30)
Also, the bill provides for free coronavirus testing for all Americans who should be tested. So people that are getting tested are getting this free, they don’t have to pay. A lot of people said, “Gee, it’s a lot of money.” And it is, it’s a pretty complex test actually, and it costs money and it’s being provided free, so people don’t have to worry about that. It also provides paid sick and family medical leave for those who need it, including for those who have the virus, for caregivers and those looking after children affected by school closures. So that’s all taken care of also. And we’ll continue all of these different actions, we have other things planned. We’re going to also be working with companies that are affected financially. Our country is in the best financial shape, so different then in the past, over the years if you look at some of the real big crises we had. It was financial problems and different things.
Donald Trump: (05:35)
We now are in very, very strong financial shape with all of the trade and all of the other things that we’ve been doing. It’s been pretty amazing. We hope the Federal Reserve will finally get on board and do what they should do because we’re doing things that they should be doing frankly. And we can all do them together, but they should be much more proactive. Other boards and another countries and people representing those countries are taking a much more aggressive action than our fed and for the most part. So we’d like to see the… If you look at central banks yesterday, what they did, we want to see our federal reserve be much more proactive. It’s important. But in the meantime we’re doing things that have been really well received. And I guess you saw that yesterday, at the end of the day, with what we’ve done. We have a lot of things to tell you in terms of respirators, in terms of all of the different things or the masks are being made by the millions, millions and millions. We have plenty now, but we’re ordering for the millions. We’re ordering worst case scenario, we always say worst case scenario and that’s where we’re going. So I just want to thank everybody. I think the press has been really, over the last 24 hours, I think the representation’s really been very fair, for the most part been very fair. We’re all in this together. It’s something that nobody expected. It came out of China and it’s one of those things that happened, it’s nobody’s fault. We all will solve this problem. We’ll solve it well. I think the American people have been incredible in the way they’ve acted.
Donald Trump: (07:21)
And if you look at companies and sports leagues and all of the things, what they’ve done is just something very special without being told, necessarily. In some cases perhaps they were told actually, but for the most part they want to get it over with. They want to get it over with quickly and with very little death. As of this moment we have 50 deaths, which is a lot of good decisions were made or that number could be many times that but that’s based on a lot of good decisions. One or two in particular, you know that Europe was declared the hotspot yesterday, a big hotspot, number one and we made a decision quite a bit prior to that but we saw what was happening. But if you have any questions, this group will be very happy to do it.
Donald Trump: (08:12)
But I just want to say they have been led by Mike Pence. They have been incredible, the job they’re doing. They’re working 20 hours a day. This man is working 20 hours a day or maybe more? Is it more? I think it’s more. Tony has been working, I’m just looking at this whole group and we’ve created a number of new stars, including the gentleman right behind me. I watched him the other day, it was such a fantastic job you did and I really appreciate it. But they’re going to be answering questions and we have a lot of new information, so I think you’ll find it very interesting and I’ll be going back to the Oval Office.
Speaker 2: (08:50)
[crosstalk 00:08:54]. Mr. President, there are so many people right now that are rushing to Costco, they’re rushing to grocery stores all over the country, they’re filling up their baskets. Is that the right move? Do you think that people should actually be saying, “Maybe conserve as opposed to to buy?” Also overnight Apple Sir, they announced that they’re going to be closing all their stores for two weeks. Do you want to see other retail outlets or restaurants, stuff like that, do the same thing for-
Donald Trump: (09:14)
I think it’s fine if they do it. I think it’s frankly, it’s good if they do it. I think what Apple did is fine and want to keep people away for a little while, just keep them away.
Speaker 2: (09:23)
Well at Costco-
Donald Trump: (09:25)
And when it gets better… Well, people are going and buying things and I understand that. By the way, I had my temperature taken coming into the room.
Speaker 3: (09:32)
So did we.
Donald Trump: (09:33)
You did good?
Speaker 2: (09:34)
Donald Trump: (09:36)
Let’s compare. Do you want to compare?
Speaker 2: (09:36)
We did all of that, yeah.
Donald Trump: (09:38)
Good. Well that means we’re all looking good. I also took the test last night-
Speaker 3: (09:44)
You did take the test?
Speaker 2: (09:44)
You did take the test?
Donald Trump: (09:45)
And I decided I should, based on the press conference yesterday, people were asking, “Did I take the test?”
Speaker 3: (09:49)
When will we have the result Mr. President?
Donald Trump: (09:50)
I don’t know, whatever it takes. A day or two days, whatever it is. They send it to a lab-
Speaker 2: (09:55)
Why did you take it.
Donald Trump: (09:55)
… but I did take it.
Speaker 2: (09:56)
Sir, you’ve been sending mixed messages-
Donald Trump: (09:57)
Only because the press-
Speaker 3: (09:57)
Mr. President respectfully, you’ve been sending mixed messages. We watched as you shook hands with people yesterday. You have talked about 5 million tests being available, probably won’t need that many. Has your own sense of urgency evolved and are you changing what you’re doing?
Donald Trump: (10:12)
No, I’ve been urgent. This is urgent for me right from the beginning. You know that because I closed up our country to China-
Speaker 3: (10:22)
But why are you shaking hands Sir?
Donald Trump: (10:22)
Because it almost becomes a habit and you get out of that habit and frankly I was a non hand shaker for the most part. I’d never believe that shaking hands, once you become a politician, and I notice it too, political people walk up to me, they want to shake my hand. I said, “Well-” [crosstalk 00:10:39] Just wait a minute, just take it nice and easy, okay? Just relax. People come up to me, they shake hands, they put their hand out. It’s sort of a natural reflex and we’re all getting out of it. All of us have that problem. Somebody comes up to you, they put their hand out you probably tend to just shake it and we’re all getting out of that. Shaking hands is not a great thing to be doing right now, I agree. But people will put their hand out, sometimes I’ll put the hand out. You don’t think about it. People are thinking about it more and more. We have to think about it. It’s important.
Donald Trump: (11:10)
Somebody said yesterday, I touched the microphone. I was touching it because we have different height people and I’m trying to make it easy for them because they’re going to have to touch, because they wouldn’t be able to reach the mic. They wouldn’t be able to speak in the mic. So I’ll move the mic down and they said, “Oh, he touched the microphone.” Well if I don’t touch it, they’re going to have to touch it. Somebody’s going to have to, so I might as well be the one to do it. But no, we all have to get away from… I mean getting away from shaking hands is a good thing and possibly that’s something that comes out of this. Maybe people shouldn’t be shaking hands for the longterm because it does transmit flu and other things. We have flu in our country that kills on average 36,000 people a year, 36,000 people and that’s something that we’re not talking about. But as of this moment, we’ve lost 50, possibly a little bit less than 50 but probably 50 people. And we’re going to try and keep that number as low as possible.
Speaker 2: (12:07)
[crosstalk 00:12:07] The Pentagon is telling the service members and their families not to travel domestically. Should all Americans follow that same advice?
Donald Trump: (12:16)
Well, if you don’t have to travel, I wouldn’t do it. If you don’t have to travel… We want this thing to end. We don’t want a lot of people getting infected. We wanted to end and end as quickly as possible. So far I think we’ve done a fantastic job. I really think that the people behind me have not been given the credit that they deserve, because they have done a fantastic job. When you see all these school closures, when you see… The school closures are very important, but it causes a lot of problems. The bill that we signed yesterday takes care of a lot of those problems, with children staying at home and the parents are working. Now we take care of that issue, with what we passed last night. Now it has to go through the Senate, I have to sign it, but that will happen. But I’m now going back to the White House. You have great professionals and if there’s anything that comes up-
Speaker 4: (13:02)
[crosstalk 00:13:02] Thank you Mr. president. I just wanted to follow up on that. Are you considering other travel restrictions, perhaps domestically-
Donald Trump: (13:16)
Speaker 4: (13:16)
… in that regards? Can you describe what type of-
Donald Trump: (13:18)
Specifically from certain areas, yes we are. And we’re working with the states and we are considering other restrictions, yes.
Speaker 5: (13:28)
[crosstalk 00:13:28] Reuters is reporting that you’re going to extend the European travel ban to the UK and Ireland on Monday, is that accurate?
Donald Trump: (13:33)
We’re looking at it very seriously, yeah. Because they’ve had a little bit of activity unfortunately, so we’re going to be looking at that. We actually already have looked at it and that is going to be announced.
Speaker 6: (13:48)
[crosstalk 00:13:48] You just criticize the fed yet again, if I could just give a little clarity on your thinking on this. It’s been a hallmark of your presidency, you’re always going after the fed. If you feel so strongly about it, why don’t you dismiss the chairman or do you think your power was to do so?
Donald Trump: (14:04)
No, I think I have the right to do that or the right to remove him as chairman. He is, so far, made a lot of bad decisions in my opinion. We had this great and we will soon have again, because I think you’re going to have a tremendous bounce when this is over. I think there’s a pent up bounce that’s going to be tremendous. I think you saw that yesterday with the stock market. Now I’m not happy with the fed, because I think that they are following, not leading. We should be leading. I’m not happy because if you look at other central banks, largely they’re lower than us, their rate and their equivalent of the fed rate is lower, in some cases by two points. In some cases, that’s a lot, in some cases very substantially. And I thought that the fed would be and should be much more proactive as opposed to following our fed is following.
Donald Trump: (14:54)
We have the number one currency in the world by a factor of many times. As you know, we have the currency, we have the power, we have by far the strong currency also, you look at the dollar, the strength of the dollar. Our fed is not doing what they should be doing. We shouldn’t have a fed rate that’s higher than our competitor nations. You look at Germany, they’re essentially under zero, they’re negative. There are many countries negative. Japan is negative, Germany is negative, others are negative and we’re paying higher interest rates. And what I’d like to do is frankly refinance our debt. We could refinance our debt very easily at a much lower rate. We have some tremendous opportunities right now, but Jerome Powell is not making it easy. No, I have the right to remove, I’m not doing that. [crosstalk 00:15:38] No, I’m not doing that. I have the right to also take him and put him in a regular position and put somebody else in charge and I haven’t made any decisions on that.
Speaker 7: (15:50)
[crosstalk 00:15:50] What’s your temperature Mr. President? Was your temperature normal Mr. President?
Donald Trump: (15:59)
Totally normal. [crosstalk 00:16:03].
Speaker 8: (16:00)
Hello Mr. Vice President.
Mike Pence: (16:10)
Well, good afternoon everyone. As the President just said, we just completed the White House Coronavirus Task Force meeting in the situation room. And we continue to implement the President’s vision, not just for a whole of government response to the coronavirus, but a whole of America approach. The focus of our task force today and going forward is on implementing the President’s public and private partnership, on testing, focusing on ensuring that state and local authorities have the guidance and the support to ensure mitigation, particularly in areas where we’ve seen community spread. And we’re continuing to lean in at the President’s direction, on addressing capacity issues in our hospitals and with regard to equipment. Let me reiterate the President’s gratitude, not just for the team behind me and the team behind them, all of our federal agencies that are literally working every day to bring a whole of government approach to this but we also want to commend all of the governors across the country.
Mike Pence: (17:24)
I’ll be speaking again to all the governors, all 50 States and the territories tomorrow. But as the President said yesterday in the Rose garden, we couldn’t be more grateful for all of the governors, particularly in areas where we’ve had community spread, for the seamless cooperation that’s taking place. And we commend local health authorities and all of those who are literally on the front lines. Also grateful all the businesses that you saw in high relief yesterday, businesses around the country in sports and entertainment, in retail that are making decisions based on CDC guidelines and good common sense to protect the American people. And lastly, as the President also said, we just want to thank the American people for listening to local authorities, listening to recommendations from the CDC. We’ll hear more about that in just a moment from Dr. Fauci and Dr. Burks.
Mike Pence: (18:22)
But as we’re seeing, not surprisingly, as we’ve seen in the past, the American people are all responding to look after not only their own health, but their families and their communities. And one story after another is truly inspiring, to the President and to all of us. As you know, it’s been a brisk few days. The President declared a national emergency yesterday, freeing up a significant federal resources, for state and local authorities as well as our national response. The president announced that unprecedented public and private partnership on testing, and let me say that at 5:00 tomorrow we will be detailing the progress that our team is making. I can tell you they are literally working around the clock with private companies.
Mike Pence: (19:11)
We are very pleased that Thermo Fisher was just approved last night by the FDA in record time, to also be providing what’s called a high throughput test, that will actually increase the capacity of this public and private partnership. But again, details on that in terms of when the local sites will be available at CVS and Walgreens and Walmart and other locations, what communities those will initially be available in, when the website will go online, as well as how this will continue to roll out, 5:00 PM tomorrow Eastern Standard Time, we’ll detail that. Last night the House of Representatives passed legislation which addressed the priorities that President Trump had laid out for the American people in the weeks before that. I want to join President Trump, in thanking a Speaker Pelosi, Leader McCarthy, the Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives, who as the President said earlier today, pulled together, pulled together to pass legislation that’s meeting this moment in the bipartisan health first spirit that the American people would expect.
Mike Pence: (20:27)
The Secretary of the Treasury will detail the legislation, but to be clear, the deal that passed the house last night, will head to the Senate early next week, delivers on the President’s plan for strong health and economic support. Particularly focused on those most impacted, including hardworking blue collar Americans, who may not currently have paid family leave today. It provides free coronavirus testing for uninsured Americans and it builds on the decisions that President Trump made, expanding coverage for Medicare, Medicaid and also getting a commitment from private health insurance companies to join with us, to waive all copays on coronavirus testing. So now testing will be free for every American. Those who have insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, other programs and even the uninsured.
Mike Pence: (21:24)
The legislation also establishes tax credits that the Secretary of the Treasury will describe, that’ll provide paid sick and family medical leave for coronavirus related employment interruptions. I expect Dr. Burks and Dr. Fauci will reiterate this, if you are sick, now you need not be concerned. If you’re an hourly wage earner in America, you need not be concerned about staying home. If you’re sick, stay home. You’re not going to miss a paycheck because of this legislation that’s moving through the Congress. We’ll make sure that your employer, including small businesses, have the ability to provide paid leave to you…
Mike Pence: (22:03)
Businesses have the ability to provide paid leave to you. This also provides funding and flexibility to ensure that senior citizens, women, children and low income families have access to emergency nutritional assistance and it incentivizes states to ease access to employment benefits. Again, the President and I are profoundly grateful for the bipartisan spirit that drove this legislation and let me also say how grateful we are for the Secretary of the Treasury and the long hours that he put in negotiating this measure.
Mike Pence: (22:33)
Let me say also last night at midnight the Department of Homeland Security implemented the President’s decision to suspend all travel from Europe passing through 13 airports, as Acting Secretary Wolf will detail the implementation of that. To be clear, countries where we have suspended travel under section 212F, Americans may still return to the United States. Legal residents may still return. They are being screened at some 13 airports as we speak.
Mike Pence: (23:07)
If they are identified as being symptomatic for any illness, there is additional response on site, but those Americans are being encouraged to return home and self quarantine for 14 days. That started at midnight last night and Secretary will detail it. In a few moments I’ll ask Dr Fauci to update us on cases as well as current CDC guidance for all Americans.
Mike Pence: (23:35)
And all of you are already aware that this week we issued specific guidance to about a half a dozen states where we’ve seen community spread. Dr Burts will touch briefly on the Public-Private Partnership Testing Plan and also speak about what the data is showing at this moment about the best guidance for every American.
Mike Pence: (23:58)
Acting Secretary Wolf and I both want to join the President and commending the cruise line industry and they made a decision yesterday, 85% of all the domestic cruise lines announced that they would be suspending cruise line operations for a period of 30 days and Chad Wolf will explain to you the importance of that decision.
Mike Pence: (24:23)
We want to commend the cruise line industry for working with us. And as we met last week on this day with cruise line industry executives, we’re going to be working very vigorously over the next 30 days to implement new policies that’ll ensure that when the cruise lines start back up, there’ll be safer and healthier places than ever before. But a great industry. American people love it and enjoy it and we’re going to make sure that it’s there for many, many years to come.
Mike Pence: (24:50)
Also, as the President just foreshadowed in our task force meeting today, the President has made a decision to suspend all travel to the United Kingdom and Ireland effective midnight Monday night Eastern Standard Time. Chad Wolf will describe the details of that. But again, as the President just suggested, all of our health experts presented information. Dr Fauci will reflect on some of those numbers. Made a unanimous recommendation to the President that we suspend all travel from the UK and Ireland.
Mike Pence: (25:22)
That will be effective midnight Monday night Eastern Standard Time. Again, Americans in the UK or Ireland can come home. Legal residents can come home, but as the Secretary will detail, they will be funneled through specific airports and process. We continue to emphasize that the risk of serious illness for the average American remains low, but the data shows that seniors with serious underlying health conditions are our most vulnerable population, the people most susceptible to serious medical outcomes.
Mike Pence: (25:56)
Seema Verma, in a few moments, will talk about the President’s decision yesterday to restrict all visitors in all nursing homes around the country and other measures that we have taken. But it’s so important, so important for all of us, all of us who are blessed with having senior citizens in our family, like my 88 year old mom, let’s look after seniors with serious underlying health conditions and make sure that every American around them is practicing the best kind of hygiene, the best kind of measures to ensure that they’re not exposed. We’ll hear also from a Dr. Carson and the Surgeon General before we wrap up and take some questions. With that, let me recognize Dr. Tony Fauci for an update on where we stand and recommendations and guidance.
Donald Trump: (26:46)
Thank you very much, Mr. Vice President. Just a quick review of the numbers as of late afternoon yesterday, let me start off quickly globally and then we’ll go to the United States. Right now there are 129 countries that have involvement with coronavirus globally. The numbers are 132 plus thousand so it’s a little bit more than 132,000, about 7,500 of which are new cases.
Donald Trump: (27:10)
Importantly, and this is something we’ve mentioned over the last couple of days, that if you look at what was formally the main feeder of this coronavirus outbreak was China. They have 80,000 or 81,000 new cases, but only 11 new cases and only seven new deaths. Things have switched over now to outside of China, which has actually triggered our decision, the decision of the President to do the travel restrictions in other areas besides China. And I think it’s important to recognize that because when this is all over and it will end, you will see a curve of how the coronavirus outbreak evolved.
Donald Trump: (27:50)
It’s not going to be a uni dimensional or homogeneous because countries are going to do this and then that. We’ve it already with China, we’re starting to see it with Korea, which brings us now to what we can expect in our own country. If you look at the domestic cases, there are about 2,226 including the repatriations, 50 deaths, 532 new cases and nine new deaths, which means we have not reached our peak.
Donald Trump: (28:20)
Now, we will see more cases and we will see more suffering and death predominantly as the Vice President said among the vulnerables in our society, the individuals with the conditions that we spoke to and the elderly, but built in that is a challenge. And the challenge is we still have the opportunity to influence the course of that curve. What we would like to see is that when this is all over all curve was not like that.
Donald Trump: (28:48)
Our curve was like this, so that’s the reason why we’re implementing the things we’re talking about. And finally I just want to make a comment about yesterday, as a physician, which is what I primarily am, who takes care of patients every day before I was doing this is that there are things that happened yesterday that I think are going to be really important to the people out there who are going to be impacted by this, but particularly by the physicians and that is the President declaring a state of national emergency because that will be what I thought the word that I use essentially unshackling us from any of the things that are going to get in the way of our implemented.
Donald Trump: (29:26)
Particularly the new powers giving to the Secretary of HHS, Alex Azar, and the departments within his agency, particularly CMS, which you’re going to hear about shortly. And within that group, particularly the nursing home situation, which we’ve really got to protect. The other thing is we always get asked about testing. You saw the CDO out there, now it’s all systems go, let’s look forward.
Donald Trump: (29:50)
The responsibility is going to be with us but also with them because as we get knowledge about new testing will alleviate the anxiety that we have in the world about we don’t know what’s going on, but it also will give the individual physician and individual citizen the opportunity to know where they stand. I’ll stop there and happy to answer questions later. Thank you.
Mike Pence: (30:12)
Thank you, Dr. Fauci.
Dr. Berks: (30:15)
Thank you. Good afternoon. I just completed my second week. I want to just start with the four things that I have learned in the last two weeks. One, we’re at our best when the country comes together in a bipartisan way and that has really been extraordinary to witness. But secondly, what you may not have seen as much of is the willingness of state and local governments to work together with the federal government in a seamless way, independent of party affiliation.
Dr. Berks: (30:42)
The third thing has been the remarkable decrease in bureaucracy and red tape in order to get us to where we are today. This is particularly evident in the CDC. And then finally the understanding that in order to unleash and serve every American, we have to create public- private partnerships that bring together the extraordinary strength of our private sector.
Dr. Berks: (31:05)
When we saw issues with testing, and again I want to remind everyone, it was a surveillance system that was set up by public health institutions in the United States, our CDC, to be a surveillance test. We then, because there was no other moved it to a diagnostic tests, but now we have the full power of our testing capacity. What do I mean by that? We’re looking at what it will take to have consumer access and that’s what the private sector is bringing to us.
Dr. Berks: (31:32)
Secondly, we had to have automated high throughput testing because we want the American people to be able to get their results quickly. And you’ve heard from Roche and Thermo Fisher that access. But finally we want to make sure that patients get results. And that was what was critical in that bill yesterday on reporting and requiring reporting because obviously as we decentralize, as we move out of state and local laboratories, public health laboratories, as we move out into the hospitals in the communities, we need to know about the test results so that we can focus resources where they’re needed the most.
Dr. Berks: (32:09)
Finally I want to conclude with something that’s very important. When you are tested and our results look very similar to South Korea now to date where South Korea, 96 plus percent of people with symptoms were negative. That means also that they had respiratory symptoms. Let’s remind all of us, most respiratory diseases are contagious.
Dr. Berks: (32:33)
If you have any respiratory symptoms, you want to protect yourself and treat yourself, but you also want to protect others. And so let’s everyone assume when they have a respiratory illness that you have a contagious illness because if it isn’t allergies, it’s contagious. And let’s use those precautions across the board. And let’s, when you get a negative test that means you’re negative that day. That doesn’t mean that you couldn’t get the virus spreading overnight because it replicates in your nose, in your nasal secretions and you would have a positive test tomorrow.
Dr. Berks: (33:08)
If you have a negative test, that doesn’t mean that you can discontinue precautions. It doesn’t mean you can start taking risks because you were negative. Let’s ensure that if you had symptoms, you are contagious. Let’s treat yourself as being contagious. And if you have a negative test, let’s make sure that you’re still protecting others from whatever you do have and it doesn’t reassure you personally and you take additional risk.
Dr. Berks: (33:35)
Finally, I just wanted to conclude with a group of clients and patients that we are all very worried about. These are individuals that we call long-term survivors from HIV. They’re here across the country that have survived more than four decades with HIV. Many of them still carry a level of immunocompromise. To all of them out there, please take care of yourself. Please ensure that you’re doing everything possible to ensure you don’t get exposed. Thank you.
Mike Pence: (34:00)
Thank you. Great comments. Mr. Secretary, on the legislation that passed the house.
Secretary Mnuchin: (34:06)
Thank you, Mr. Vice President. First in particular I want to thank Kevin McCarthy and Kevin Brady and all the Republicans on the house side who worked with us round the clock. I’d also like to thank Mitch McConnell and his team who were providing us input as well. I especially want to thank Speaker Pelosi who was literally available to us round the clock for the last three days and also want to just thank the Vice President and the President who were very specifically involved in the details with us and providing guidance.
Secretary Mnuchin: (34:39)
I will just highlight some of the issues here. The first thing I would just say is this delivers on what the President announced in his speech the other night. Obviously people who need to be quarantined and people who have the virus, we want them at home and we want them to continue to get paid. We don’t want to be in a situation where they fear not getting paid during this two week period of time.
Secretary Mnuchin: (35:06)
The first thing that this does is it creates a very seamless process for people that work for small and medium sized businesses. They will continue to get paid by their employer. They don’t have to worry about big government and coming to big government to get their checks. They will continue to get paid.
Secretary Mnuchin: (35:23)
We were also very sensitive to small and medium sized businesses. Many of these businesses covered sick pay, but they’re going to have many more people that may be on quarantine, the normal sick pay, and we didn’t want them to have to bear the cost. 100% of the cost for these limited situations will be taken care of by the federal government. And then finally we wanted to think of, again, as I said, how do we deliver money to the people in the quickest way?
Secretary Mnuchin: (35:51)
We didn’t want to take six months to implement some government system, so I want to thank everybody at the IRS. The way we’re able to do this again, the IRS will issue tax credits for most employers, they’ll just deduct the money from what they owe us. But I want to emphasize for small and medium sized businesses that have cashflow problems, we will issue guidelines. You’ll be able to come to the IRS, get the money in advance so you don’t have cashflow issues.
Secretary Mnuchin: (36:18)
We were very careful in balancing, making sure that people got paid with not creating undue burden. We also will have unique circumstances where schools are closed. In many places, parents may be able to telecommute and take care of their kids and continue to get paid for their companies, but in certain circumstances that parents have to be home to take care of youngsters or elderly people, again, we wanted to ensure that they had the ability to do that.
Secretary Mnuchin: (36:47)
And as the Vice President mentioned for kids that receive meals in schools, the schools were closed. We wanted to make sure that those kids would continue to get lunches paid for. I especially want to thank the task force. Two things that were very important to us in this, there’s a provision as it relates to masks. We can now ramp up to 30 million masks a month and we wanted to make sure there was free testing, but there’s also a provision that the states will communicate back to CDC these results.
Secretary Mnuchin: (37:16)
We will very quickly get those results. Last thing I want to say is I thank the house for sticking around till very late last night at 12:30. I don’t want people to be surprised. We will be doing a technical correction on Monday morning despite us working very hard.
Secretary Mnuchin: (37:33)
We had language agreed with the Speaker and with Kevin McCarthy, it didn’t get into the final bill. Last night at 12:30 Kevin, the Speaker and I agreed that they would vote on it and have an agreement. There’ll be a technical correction. I don’t want anybody to come back on Monday morning and be surprised by that. Again, thank you to the Vice President and the President. And let me also just say, I would describe this as like a baseball game. The first inning was the $8 billion. This is the second inning.
Secretary Mnuchin: (38:02)
We have a lot more we need to do with Congress. And the Speaker and I have acknowledged it. We will be working starting immediately. The airlines industry in particular, no different than after 9/11 has a very unique circumstance. The cruise industry, the hotel industry. I would say we’ve got a lot more work to do and we very much appreciate the bipartisan support and anticipate rolling things out very quickly.
Mike Pence: (38:29)
Thank you, Mr. Secretary. I know the President would want me to say again how grateful we are for all of your efforts on behalf of the American people. Acting Secretary Chad Wolf is going to speak about cruise lines, the current suspension of travel in the expansion to UK and Ireland, Mr. Secretary.
Secretary Chad Wolf: (38:48)
Thank you. Good afternoon and let me start off by thanking the partnerships that we have with our private sector partners, both in the airline industry and the cruise line industry for implementing a number of travel restrictions and security orders over the last several weeks and months. As the Vice President and the President have outlined, we have issued new directives denying foreign nationals who have been in certain effected countries, that’s been 28 countries to date, from entry into the US.
Secretary Chad Wolf: (39:15)
At the President’s request, and again, as the Vice President outlined earlier, we’ve had a number of major cruise lines that have agreed to suspend outbound trips for 30 days. We’ve had a number of smaller operators follow that suit and then we have also given orders to a very small handful to not sail. And that began at midnight last night as well. Today is the, again, as the Vice President outlined, the President made the decision due to the rising number of cases in the UK to apply these restrictions to both the UK and Ireland.
Secretary Chad Wolf: (39:47)
As we move forward, again, these restrictions bar travel for certain foreign nationals who have been present in the UK or Ireland in the past 14 days. And again, that goes effective midnight Monday. To be clear, the President’s proclamation in these travel restrictions do not apply to US citizens. I want to be very clear about that. And the Vice President mentioned that. Do not apply for US citizens.
Secretary Chad Wolf: (40:11)
I think we saw some reporting of how do US citizens get back from Europe quickly? They don’t need to. They will be allowed into the US. Legal permanent residents, family members under the age of 21, foreign diplomats, and then we have other exemptions that are outlined in the proclamation, can certainly travel back to the US. They will undergo some medical screening and some other questions when they arrive and then they will be asked to self quarantine for 14 days.
Secretary Chad Wolf: (40:38)
These restrictions to the UK and Ireland, just like the Shingon Zone in China and Iran do not apply to air, cargo, maritime, cargo, economic shipping or the like. Let me close again by saying the President has really taken unprecedented action to protect the safety and the security of the American public. These actions have never been taken before. Let me thank the Department of Homeland Security, the men and women of the department who are working day and night, 24 hours a day to implement these restrictions and to make sure that we do this in a very orderly and efficient process and we also continue to look at all measures on the table and new measures that we have to implement as we go forward as the virus continues to evolve. Thank you.
Mike Pence: (41:24)
Thank you, Mr. Secretary. And I know the President would want me to reiterate your thanks and commendation to the dedicated men and women of DHS that are on the front lines of implementing these travel policies and doing an outstanding job. With that, I’m going to recognize Seema Verma, the Head of CMS to talk about our continued emphasis on seniors, in particularly the risk to seniors with serious underlying health conditions and the steps that we’re taking relative to nursing homes and inspections and guidance to protect those most vulnerable.
Seema Verma: (42:05)
Thank you, Mr. Vice President. As the President and the Vice President said, we did take action last night to indicate that nursing homes should restrict all visitors effective immediately and that includes all non-essential personnel. There are some exceptions for end of life. We are also canceling all group activities and communal dining and there is active screening of healthcare workers that are in the facility.
Seema Verma: (42:29)
The emergency declaration, as Dr. Fauci said, is also very important to our healthcare workforce. There’s a lot more flexibility that they have. For example, they can have workers from across state lines, and doctors and nurses that can help them. Hospitals have the ability to move patients around, so that’s also going to be very helpful as they go forward with this.
Seema Verma: (42:52)
Also with the nursing homes, we talked about this a couple of weeks ago that we had a call to action for all healthcare facilities to double down around infection control practices. We have now come up with some very specific guidance for our surveyors and we have already begun the process of going into nursing homes, especially the ones that had a history of problems with infection control. And those inspections have already started. We’ve been doing those in Washington state and California, New York, but we’ll be increasing those over the coming weeks. Thank you.
Mike Pence: (43:25)
Thank you, Seema. And I’m mindful of the fact that there are likely many seniors in nursing homes around America that could be watching us at this hour. And let me just assure you that we’re going to continue to take steps to ensure that all the guidance from CMS, all the guidance from CDC about preventing the spread of infectious disease remains low. But, and the threat here, I want to be clear, as Dr. Fauci has said, I might just ask him to emphasize again, the threat here is not to seniors particularly or to seniors that may be on certain medications, but for seniors with-
Mike Pence: (44:03)
Maybe on certain medications, but for seniors with serious underlying health conditions, we’re taking the steps of suspending visitors for the purpose of protecting the most vulnerable, but to all of those other seniors that are watching from nursing homes or maybe watching from home or otherwise healthy. Dr Fouche, maybe you’d give them a word.
Donald Trump: (44:20)
Yeah, sure. I think that I mean obviously when you’re a senior individual like myself, that my degree of protecting against infections is not as good as it was when you’re 30. But if you’re an otherwise healthy senior, that the things that you really have less of a risk than if you have an underlying condition. Thank you.
Mike Pence: (44:37)
Thank you Doctor. Thank you. Couple more updates for you. I want to hear from the Surgeon General and Dr. Carson and then we’ll go to as many questions as you have. Okay. Mr. Surgeon General.
Surgeon General Jerome Adams: (44:52)
Thank you. Yesterday was a very big, a very important day for our nation’s providers and for our nation’s patients in terms of the emergency declaration and also in terms of the agreement with the House that Secretary Mnuchin negotiated. And I want you all to understand some straight talk from the nation’s doctor. We really need you all to lean into and prioritize the health and safety of the American people. No more bickering, no more partisanship, no more criticism or finger-pointing. There’ll be plenty of time for that, but we all need to hit the reset button and lean into moving forward the health and safety of the American people as our top priority. More stories on how people can protect themselves. More on how people can get the resources that they need that we’ve unleashed from the federal government and state and local governments. Less stories looking at what happened in the past. Again, there’ll be time for that.
Surgeon General Jerome Adams: (45:46)
I want you all to understand as Dr. Fouche said, this will get worse before it gets better, but we are making progress to flatten the curve. We are making progress. Three important points. Number one, almost all people will recover, 98 and 99% of people will recover. People need to know that. And we heard a great story on NPR this morning about an 89 year old from that nursing home facility in Seattle who is recovered. Number two, we must lean into protecting the most vulnerable, those with chronic or severe medical conditions, especially seniors. Now is the time for us to lean into that and we are taking the measures to protect them at HHS, Secretary Azar, Bob Kadlec, Bob Redfield, Admiral Giroir are hard at work right now, leaning into that from the federal level.
Surgeon General Jerome Adams: (46:35)
But we need your help, social distancing and mitigation. They’re not to protect the 30 year old or the 20 year old from getting Coronavirus. They’re to protect your Nana, they’re to protect your granddaddy. They’re to protect the people who you love in your lives and we need your help. And finally, we all have a role to play. If we are complacent, selfish, uninformed, if we spread fear and distrust and misinformation, this situation will last longer and more people will be hurt. But if we pitch in and we share the facts, we will flatten the curve and we will overcome this situation. So finally, my prescription, know your risk, understand your circumstances and get the facts to protect yourself at coronavirus.gov.
Mike Pence: (47:23)
Well done. Thank you. And Secretary and Dr. Ben Carson.
Dr. Ben Carson: (47:30)
Thank you Mr. Vice President. Now sometimes you have to stop and think about what’s unique about the United States. And one of the things that is really wonderful and we should just stop and think about more often is that we have so many people who are willing to put aside their self interest for the good of the nation. And I want to thank those people at the federal, state and local level who have put their own lives on pause in order to try to help their fellow Americans. It makes a big difference. But just as importantly, I want to thank the private sector. There are so many in the private sector who have volunteered their services, who have stepped up, who are willing to recognize that maybe they’re going to take a bit of a financial hit, but they recognize that we have to create the appropriate environment so that everybody can succeed in this nation. And so often we overlook those individuals. I want them to know how much we appreciate them.
Dr. Ben Carson: (48:33)
What we’re facing now is a significant threat. As a physician and as a surgeon, I faced a lot of very, very complex problems. And most of them we were able to overcome, not so much because of me, but because of the fact that we had incredible people working on this together. It was the teamwork that made the biggest difference in the world. And that’s what I’m seeing here in the government right now. The people behind me with others who are willing to work together as a team to be able to accomplish the goals for the American people. And I used to think we had long hours at Madison, working 24 hours straight, working at midnight, two in the morning. This team is working that way too.
Dr. Ben Carson: (49:27)
I frequently get calls at 9, 10, 11, midnight about putting together some policies, doing various things. And I just want to thank all the people who are involved and I hope that we as a nation can use this as an opportunity to pull together for good. Now President Trump is going to be recommending a national day of prayer. And we’ve gotten away from prayer and faith a lot in this country. There’s nothing wrong with godly principles no matter what your faith is. Loving your neighbor, caring about the people around you, developing your God given talents to the utmost so that you become valuable to the people around you. Having values and principles that govern your life. Those are things that made America zoom to the top of the world in record time. And those are the things that will keep us there too.
Mike Pence: (50:30)
Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Okay, questions.
Speaker 9: (50:34)
Mr. Vice President, first of all, can you explain why secretary Azar is not here and also can you indicate to us, one of the things the President rolled out yesterday was discussion of Google partnering with the federal government and then later Google said it was not aware that this was going to be announced and that it was not prepared in the same way the President forecast to the country. So where’s the discrepancy about the website, Google’s involvement and why is the Health and Human Services Secretary not present?
Mike Pence: (51:05)
Secretary Azar was at the Coronavirus task force meeting this morning. He’s back to work and we’ll have a changing roundup for these presentations so we can get quickly to your questions. But Secretary Azar is doing a remarkable job, working seven days a week for the American people and making a difference. With regard to Google and other private partners, I know Google issued a statement that they are planning to launch a website. I think they gave a date of Monday, March 16th. We’re working literally around the clock and I know that our whole team working on this public and private partnership, couldn’t be more grateful to all of the hardworking people at Google that are helping to put this website together.
Mike Pence: (52:00)
But tomorrow, five o’clock we’ll have very specific description tomorrow about when the website will be available, when the parking lot sites will be available for people to be tested. And we’re working right now with state and local communities to determine where it’s best to roll those out as a number of communities are already doing a great job meeting their needs. So we’re trying to flow the resources, but five o’clock tomorrow night we’ll have details.
Speaker 10: (52:34)
Can you tell us whether you have also been tested for the Coronavirus and can you or somebody else clear up the apparent discrepancy between the letter that we’ve issued from the White House Physician’s Office just before midnight last night in which the Physician concluded that you and the President did not need to be tested?
Mike Pence: (52:54)
Well I know the President announced that he has been tested and I’m going to speak immediately after this press conference with the White House Physician’s Office. At this point, as of last night, the White House Physician’s Office had said that neither I nor Mrs. Pence either had the symptoms or the contacts that would necessitate testing. And maybe I might ask Dr. Berks to step up. As we expand testing across the country, we want people to be able to go to a website, they’ll be a questionnaire there to determine whether or not a test is in order. Because we want to make sure that people are being tested that have the symptoms, but I’m going to speak to the White House Physician right after this press briefing and Mrs. Pence and I’d be more than happy to be tested. Dr. Berks you want to speak to.
Dr. Berks: (53:42)
Yeah. Thank you Mr. Vice President for mentioning that because as I told you in South Korea there are 250,000 plus tests. About 96 plus percent were negative and that was with symptoms. So we’re working very hard integrating everything they have learned about symptoms and screening and that is going into the development of this website, so it’s not just a simple checkbox website. It’s actually going to go through critical symptoms and that’s why we’re giving ourselves the weekend to get it put up. So far in the United States from LabCorp and Quest, they’re running about a 99 to 98% negativity. This always worries me because I’ve worked in public health a long time. When you tell someone they’re negative, yes, it’s reassuring, but the last thing we want is them so reassured that they stop practicing these critical practices that are going to protect all of us.
Dr. Berks: (54:36)
This epidemic will be stopped at the community level. Those are the individuals, it’s Americans and their response that will get us over this hump and that’s why, yes, we’ll have testing available. We’ll have to know that many are going to be negative and you’re going to have to help us carry that message, that that means just at that moment you’re negative. You need to continue to do all of your protection and protection of others to ensure you remain there.
Speaker 11: (55:05)
To follow up on the Google question about the website, Google said that the website they are developing is in its early stages and will be limited to the San Francisco Bay area. That seems very different from what you and the President are saying.
Mike Pence: (55:17)
Well, what Google said was that they’re planning to launch a website this coming Monday, March 16th that will enable individuals to do a risk assessment and be scheduled for testing at pilot testing sites in the Bay area with the goal of expanding to other locations and we’re very grateful for that. The objective here is to have a website up very quickly that that first people in the areas that have been deeply impacted. Washington state, California, New York. Now we’ve seen community spread in Massachusetts and also Florida and so we want to make sure that we’re flowing those resources as well as those remote testing sites in that area. But that’s a statement I was handed this morning from them and again, I want to tell you folks, we’re working 24 seven on this. We’re going to have very specific details on the rollout of this new public private partnership and testing at five o’clock tomorrow.
Speaker 12: (56:16)
Thank you Mr. Vice President. Could you give us more details on the potential financial assistance for the entertainment industry, for the cruise industry, that the administration is looking at right now? And if I may on the temperature checks, were all of the members of the cabinet who were in here today, did they also have their temperatures checked? Okay, I see you nodding. But is it also the White House policy now that anyone who for instance comes into the oval office needs to have their temperature checked at the door?
Mike Pence: (56:50)
I’d refer those questions to the White House Physician’s Office. I have been informed that they’re establishing new protocols for temperature checks and I had my temperature checked too. Let me ask the Secretary of the Treasury to address what may be the next few innings. I thought Secretary Mnuchin put it very well, we got the initial support, $8.3 billion from the Congress. The house passed legislation to act on the President’s priorities. But we understand, the President’s made it very, very clear. Whether it’s our airline industry, our cruise industry, that we expect to be coming back to Congress to make sure that our, as we put the health of America first, as businesses make those hard choices to make a priority of the health of their employees or of those that they serve or their customers, that we’re going to make sure that they can come all the way back. Mr. Secretary.
Secretary Mnuchin: (57:45)
So let me just emphasize that this is a unique circumstance. This isn’t like the financial crisis where people didn’t know how long this was going to go on. And let me just say there’s no question because of the things that we’re requesting people to do, there are parts of the economy that are shutting down or slowing down dramatically. And as I said before and I said yesterday, we are committed to use all the tools and all the resources of the government to make sure that we protect the economy. So many of the industries that you’ve talked about, as I said, the airlines are the most obvious because we have a unique circumstance where we have shutdown travel and these are of strategic importance to us.
Secretary Mnuchin: (58:28)
But we appreciate there’s many industries that are impacted by this. I would also say there’s many individuals. The President has talked about a stimulus program, whether it’s through a payroll tax cut, whether it’s through refundable tax credits. We are 100% committed and I can assure you there is bipartisan support. So we have a lot of tools, the fed has a lot of tools. Some of these tools we don’t have that we had in the financial crisis. We’ll be going back to Congress. And one of the reasons why this bill was so important is this is just now the second step on bipartisan support. We will make sure that the economy recovers out of this and whatever support.
Speaker 13: (59:09)
If I may follow up, how much more money would you like to see? I’m not talking about the previous bill, I’m talking about the future for those industries.
Secretary Mnuchin: (59:16)
Let me just comment. It would be premature to comment on specific money as I said. I use the analogy of we’re in a baseball game and we’re in the early innings. We have a hundred different things that we’re looking at. Yesterday the President announced on student loans, suspending interest. That was one of the things. He announced using the strategic oil reserve. This is a great time. We also have a unique circumstance having nothing to do with the Coronavirus. Parts of our economy are very much impacted by the temporary low price of oil, so the President, the Vice President and everybody else is 100% committed. We’ve got a hundred different ideas and whatever we need to do, we will do.
Speaker 14: (59:58)
Mr. Vice President, thank you so much. I have a question for you and if I can for Dr. Berks first. First for you, sir, if I may. Your language has changed a bit. You’ve tweaked it a little bit. Early on you said that there was a low risk for the average American to contract the Coronavirus.
Mike Pence: (01:00:15)
Speaker 14: (01:00:16)
Recently, your language has altered a little bit. You’re saying the risk of a serious illness remains low. Can you address why the change, is the potential of contracting the virus for an average American no longer low? Why the change, sir?
Mike Pence: (01:00:31)
Well, I’m going to let Dr. Berks address that because the reason we’re…
Speaker 14: (01:00:35)
Which sir and you are the Vice President, if you don’t mind sir.
Mike Pence: (01:00:38)
Everything that we are communicating to the public is based on what is the unanimous opinion of our health experts based upon the information that we have at the time. It’s now a little more than a few weeks since we had our first instance of community spread in the United States and letting the American people know that the President took every step to prevent the Coronavirus from coming into our country. I think you can’t overstate how unprecedented and extraordinary the suspension of all travel from China was when the President made that decision before the end of January. And the travel advisories with portions of Italy, South Korea, the screening of personnel coming into our country. But allow me to let Dr. Berks address that because what we’re going to continue to do is tell the American people straight from the health experts the best information that we have to see to their own health, the health of their family and their community. Dr. Berks.
Dr. Berks: (01:01:37)
Yeah, thank you Mr. Vice President. So every day we analyze data from around the world and look at age groups that are impacted, look at and try to get a sense of the amount of asymptomatic patients. Now remember, all of the groups that are doing screening are screening on symptoms. And so we’re trying to figure out based on that information and based on the profile of the epidemic to really understand is there a whole group under 20 that really doesn’t get significant symptoms. Yet, we don’t believe that uniquely people under 20 are naturally protected from the virus. So are they a group that are potentially asymptomatic and spreading the virus. Because of that and because of that unknown, we don’t want to say that the risk is low when we don’t know how low the numbers are for people who are asymptomatic. We have a good sense of the number of people who are having symptoms and we have a good sense of who is deeply impacted by this.
Dr. Berks: (01:02:41)
I mean if you look at all the data coming out of all of the countries that we triangulate on a twice a day basis, people of a certain age are at higher risk for a worse outcome. And that’s why we have been so laser focused on that. But the other side of the epidemic is how much transmission. And until you really understand how many people are asymptomatic and asymptomatically passing the virus on, we think it’s better for the entire American public to know that the risk of serious illness may be low, but they could be potentially spreading the virus to others. And that’s why we’re asking every American to take personal responsibility to prevent that spread. And that’s why we’ve made all of these recommendations broad even past people who have symptoms or no symptoms because we need to have everybody taking precautions.
Speaker 15: (01:03:36)
You said tomorrow you’re speaking to all of the Governors, are we?
Mike Pence: (01:03:38)
Speaker 15: (01:03:38)
Oh Monday, I’m sorry.
Mike Pence: (01:03:39)
Speaker 15: (01:03:39)
So you are going to speak to all of the Governors. Are we looking at any sort of domestic travel restrictions that could be coming down the pipeline anytime soon? And my other question for you is Leader McConnell’s statement saying that he was going to read the bill, that he was going to speak to some of his members over the weekend. Are you confident that the Senate is going to take up this house legislation and get it done quickly?
Mike Pence: (01:03:57)
Well, the President expressed strong support for the legislation. It received a very large bipartisan vote in the house, but we respect the process. I’m grateful for the support that Leader McConnell has expressed for the process and the priorities that the President has outlined. We’ll be working with members of the Senate to unpack the bill for them and why President Trump endorsed it yesterday and we believe that they should move it expeditiously to passage. With regard to additional travel restrictions…
Speaker 15: (01:04:34)
In the U.S.
Mike Pence: (01:04:35)
But let me just say, as the President said, we’re considering a broad range of measures but no decisions have been made yet. But I just want to assure the American people of two things. We’re going to continue to follow the facts. We’re going to continue to listen to the experts about recommendations. We’ll bring as we did this week when the President made the decision to suspend all travel from Europe. We’ll bring the best recommendations of our healthcare experts to the President. And I promise you, and I promise the American people, this President is going to continue to take every step necessary to protect the American people and put the health of the American people first and together we’ll get through this. Thank you.
Speaker 16: (01:05:26)
What’s being done to help those in public housing during this Coronavirus. What’s been done to help those in public housing?