Mar 30, 2020
Donald Trump Coronavirus Task Force Press Conference Transcript March 30
Donald Trump and the Coronavirus Task Force held a press briefing on March 30 on COVID-19. Trump announced that over 1 million Americans have been tested for coronavirus and that the “peak in death rate” is likely 2 weeks from today. He had another incident with reporters, in which he called one question about Trump downplaying COVID-19 from Jim Acosta a “nasty, snarky question.” Read the full transcript of his press conference here.
Donald Trump: (00:00)
Appreciate you being here. Yesterday I announced that we would be extending our social distance guidelines through the end of April. This is based on modeling that show us the peak in fatalities will not arrive for another two weeks. The same modeling also shows that by very vigorously following these guidelines, we could save more than 1 million American lives. Think of that, 1 million American lives. Our future is in our own hands and the choices and sacrifices we make will determine the fate of this virus and really the fate of our victory. We will have a great victory. We have no other choice. Every one of us has a role to play in winning this war. Every citizen, family, and business can make the difference in stopping the virus. This is our shared patriotic duty. Challenging times are ahead for the next 30 days and this is a very vital 30 days. We’re sort of putting it all on the line, this 30 days so important because we have to get back.
Donald Trump: (01:10)
But the more we dedicate ourselves today, the more quickly we will emerge on the other side of the crisis. And that’s the time we’re waiting for. The more we commit ourselves now, the sooner we can win the fight and return to our lives and they will be great lives. Maybe better than ever. Today we reached a historic milestone in our war against the coronavirus. Over 1 million Americans have now been tested, more than any other country by far, not even close and tested accurately. And I think what I’d like to do is ask Secretary Azar, who’s done a fantastic job to come up and just say a few words about the fact that we reached substantially now, more than 1 million tests. Please. Thank you Alex.
Secretary Alex Azar: (02:06)
Well, thank you, Mr. President, for your leadership in marshaling all the resources that we have for this unprecedented testing effort. And thank you, Mr. Vice President for leading a whole of economy approach to testing. As the President mentioned today, the United States hit more than 1 million samples tested, a number that no other country has reached. We’re now testing nearly 100,000 samples a day. Also, a level that no other country has reached. I want to thank every partner that has been involved in this effort. That includes all of the men and women of the FDA and the CDC, including Director Redfield and Commissioner Hahn. Together the FDA and CDC have worked to balance the need for testing on an aggressive scale with the scientific rigor that Americans expect. Working with our testing coordinator, Admiral Giroir, they have now truly unleashed the ingenuity of the private sector and our state and local leaders, the centerpieces of America’s historic approach to testing.
Secretary Alex Azar: (03:09)
I want to thank those state and local leaders who’ve used their on the ground resources and knowledge to lead testing and make it much more easily accessible to the Americans who need it. I’m also grateful to FEMA, with whom we are now working closely to get state and local partners what they need. I also want to thank CMS, where Administrator Verma has given healthcare providers unprecedented flexibility to scale up capacity for testing and treatment and has ensured that tests will be paid for. Finally, we would not be where we are today without the many American companies, entrepreneurs and scientists who have worked day and night to develop as of today, 20 different emergency testing options. With the FDA responding to request for authorization, typically within 24 hours the number of options is growing nearly every day. FDA has also opened up new options for using the available tests like self swabbing and new options for re-agents.
Secretary Alex Azar: (04:03)
I also want to thank FDA and other components of HHS for incredibly rapid action on other tools that we need. This weekend we actually worked to secure 30 million tablets from Sandoz and 1 million tablets from Bayer of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, which are potential COVID 19 treatments and we authorized Patel’s new decontamination machines, which can each sterilize thousands of essential N95 masks for reuse every day. So thank you, Mr. President for your leadership and thank you to everybody who’s played a part in getting us where we are today. Thank you.
Donald Trump: (04:38)
Thank you very much. Thank you. I’d like to ask Dr. Hahn come up FTA because we have some really good stuff. First of all, the numbers have been incredible on testing, but in the days ahead we’re going to go even faster and we have something from Abbott Labs which is right here and that’s a five minute test, highly accurate. I maybe can show that as we listen to our FDA commissioner, the job he’s done in the approval process. We talked about the chloroquine and the hydroxychloroquine just now. I thought that I’d mentioned it but Alex has already done that, but we have that now under test with 1,100 people in New York and it was only the fast approval by FDA that allowed us to do that. It was a really rapid approval. And Dr., please say a few words. This is the first one on the line of the five minute test from Abbott.
Dr. Stephen Hahn: (05:42)
Thank you, Mr. President for your leadership. Thank you, Mr. Vice President for your leadership of the task force. I’m very proud of FDA staff’s work in the last few months to expedite the availability of testing in this country. I’m also incredibly appreciative of private industries and willingness to work with us quickly to develop and distribute those tests. We’ve had a substantial addition to testing with the authorization of point of care tests, especially the Abbott point of care tests, which the president has pulled out of the box. A point of care test is a test that gives you a result where you’re getting care.
Dr. Stephen Hahn: (06:18)
This is truly a patient centered approach; whether it’s the doctor’s office, a hospital and emergency room, urgent care center, or a drive by testing site. Just like tests for flu or strep where go to the doctors, you could get the test done, you can get an answer within minutes of having this test done. Now, with those tests being approved for Abbott and for others, these are available around the country. They’re planning to scale up the number of tests that can be put out throughout the country over the next month and patients can get the answer within as little as 15 to five minutes. And then of course, an appropriate plan of treatment can be given.
Dr. Stephen Hahn: (06:57)
We had FDA are working quickly with avid as well on other testing approaches and normally these tests take months to develop. I was on the phone today with the Abbott CEO. He told me that normally this is a 9 to 12 month approach to developing a point of care test. They did this in collaboration with FDA and US government within weeks. Abbott has shared that they will be delivering these tests tomorrow and then we’ll be ramping up. Just have to emphasize one thing, the most innovative and safe products come from the private sector, in partnership with government, taking an all hands on deck approach just like in this case. And the other point here is that Abbott and FDA work together to make sure that we had a fast, reliable and accurate test to market. Thank you.
Donald Trump: (07:41)
Great job. Really great job. Thank you, Steve. So the pharmaceutical company [inaudible 00:00:07:52], has been working with us very closely. And as Alex mentioned, a little bit, 30 million doses of the hydroxychloroquine to the United States government. It’s been given. And Bayer has donated 1 million doses of the chloroquine, which will soon be distributed to states and state health officials around the country. Teva Pharmaceuticals is also donating 6 million doses of hydroxychloroquine to US hospitals. 6 million doses. So the private sector as you’d say, Steve, it’s been amazing what’s happened. Really amazing. And we’re going to introduce you to some of the greatest business executives in the world today, no matter where you go. And they’re going to say a little bit about what they’re doing. And then we have so many more.
Donald Trump: (08:47)
The FDA has also authorized the materials, N95 respirator mask sterilization kits. It’s an incredible thing. I’ve been asking why are we throwing these masks away? You look at some of these masks and they’re significant pieces of equipment that I say, how come you throw them away? Why aren’t they using sterilization techniques? And I got a call from Mike DeWine, the governor of Ohio. And he’s a tremendous guy, tremendous governor. And he said, we have a company named [inaudible 00:09:24] and they’re having a hard time getting approval from the FDA. And I called up Dr. Hahn and within a very short period of time, they got the approval. Steve, we really appreciate it. I want to thank Mike and I want to thank Steve. And they’re going to be able, each machine now, can disinfect 120,000 masks per day. Now think of that. Each machine can disinfect 120,000 masks per day. It’ll be just like a new one. It could go up to about 20 times for each mask.
Donald Trump: (09:58)
Each mask can go through this process 20 times. They have two in Ohio, one in New York, and one will soon be shipped to Seattle, Washington, and also to Washington D.C. So that’s going to make a tremendous difference on the masks. This morning I spoke to our nation’s governors to help each state get the medical supplies they need. Yesterday, Vice President Mike Pence asked our nation’s hospitals to begin reporting total bed capacity, ICU bed capacity, ventilator capacity, and vital medical supply levels on a daily basis. And Mike, thank you for the great job. Thank you very much.
Donald Trump: (10:40)
In New York, the 2,900 bed hospital under construction, which is now completed. They completed it in three days. You might say three and a half days, at the Javits Center, will be completed today. When you look … So they’re going up, I think we’re going to be adding some more beds which will be completed today. We’ve opened up … Whoops, there goes our box and my hair’s blowing around and it’s mine. The one thing you can’t get away with if it’s not yours you got a problem if you’re President. A nearly 3000 medical beds will become operational. The US Navy ship Comfort also arrived today equipped with 12 operating rooms and 1000 hospital beds. Work has begun on additional temporary hospital sites including a 600 bed capacity nursing home facility in Brooklyn and numerous floors of a high rise building on Wall Street. It’s been really a pretty amazing what they’ve done, the Army Corps of Engineers, what they’ve done.
Donald Trump: (11:46)
They just completed, think of it, a 2,900 bed hospital in New York in just about three days, maybe four days. And the whole city’s talking about it. On top of that, we floated in a great ship, which is going to be a thousand rooms, which is being used for patients outside of what we’re focused on and that will free up a lot of rooms for what we’re focused on. So it’s been great. The Army Corps of Engineers is awarded contracts for the construction of alternate care facilities also. At the State University at Stony Brook, State University Old Westbury and the Westchester Community Center, we’re sending 60 ambulances to New York City today. We have a total of 60 we’re getting some additional ones with up to 190 more to follow at different locations.
Donald Trump: (12:46)
To date, FEMA has obligated more than $1.3 billion dollars in federal support to the state of New York. We’re spending a lot of money in New York. It’s a hotbed, there’s no question about it. And we’re spending a lot of time, effort on New York, New Jersey. Spoke with governor Cuomo a lot, spoke with governor Murphy a lot in New Jersey, and we’re really getting the job done. People are very impressed and I’m very impressed by the people in FEMA, the people in the Army Corps of Engineers, because what they’ve done, I’ve never seen anybody doing anything like it.
Donald Trump: (13:26)
In addition to the 8,100 ventilators that we’ve already delivered, over the next 48 hours, we’re delivering more than 1000. 400 ventilators are going to Michigan very shortly. 300 going to New Jersey, 150 ventilators to Illinois, 150 to Louisiana and 50 to Connecticut. FEMA and HHS already delivered 11.6 million N95 respirators, 26 million surgical masks, 5.3 million face shields, 4.4 million surgical gowns and 22 million gloves. And I don’t know if you just saw, it just came over the wires that Ford just announced, just a little while ago, that they will produce along with General Electric Healthcare, 50,000 ventilators, and they’re going to be doing it in less than 100 days.
Donald Trump: (14:24)
And top of that, we have other companies that are doing ventilators, including General Motors, but we have a nine other companies doing ventilators. As we outpace what we need, we’re going to be sending them to Italy, we’re going to be sending them to France. We’re going to be sending them to Spain, where they have tremendous problems and other countries as we can. But the fact that we’re doing so many so quickly is a tribute to our great companies. More than 14,000 National Guard members have been activated and can help supplement state and local…
Donald Trump: (15:03)
… Have been activated and can help supplement state and local efforts to distribute personal protective equipment where we’re sending a lot. We have plane loads coming in. We have 51 loads from various locations all around the world and they’re landing. We had our first big cargo plane land this morning and we’re getting it from all over the world and we’re also sending things that we don’t need to other parts. I just spoke to the Prime Minister of Italy and we have additional capacity. We have additional product that we don’t need. We’re going to be sending approximately a hundred million dollars worth of things, of surgical and medical and hospital things to Italy and Giuseppe was very, very happy. I will tell you that they haven’t a very hard time.
Donald Trump: (15:55)
Joining us this afternoon are CEOs of the great American companies that are fulfilling their patriotic duty by producing or donating medical equipment to help meet our most urgent needs. What they’re doing is incredible and these are great companies. Darius Adamczyk of Honeywell, you know that, and Darius has been somebody that I’ve dealt with in the past and he’s a great leader of a great company.
Donald Trump: (16:23)
Debra Waller of Jockey International. A friend of mine, Mike Lindell of MyPillow. Boy, do you sell those pillows? That’s unbelievable what you do. David Taylor of Procter and Gamble and Greg Hayes of United Technologies Corporation and I just want to tell all of you that America’s very grateful to you and what you’ve done. Amazing job you’ve done and we thank you very much.
Donald Trump: (16:49)
I’d like you to come up and say a couple of words if you might about your companies. Mike, come on up. Come on up fellas. Please come on up. You have to say what you’re doing because it’s been really incredible. Go ahead, Mike.
Mike Lindell: (17:05)
MyPillow is a US vertically integrated company, which has been forced to adjust to the changing business environment as a result of the pandemic. MyPillow is uniquely positioned as a US company that functions as a manufacturer, logistics management distributor and direct to consumer.
Mike Lindell: (17:24)
Given our current business lines, we are experiencing the effects of this pandemic firsthand but MyPillow has done and established internal task force, which is monitoring future needs of companies across the country as a result of this pandemic and given our position, we began to research and develop new protocols to address the current and future needs of US businesses across multiple sectors.
Mike Lindell: (17:48)
How companies are going to prepare themselves when they once again open up and changes to their current operations in order to adjust to future threats and pandemics. MyPillow has designated some of its call center to help US companies navigate the many issues that resulted from this pandemic.
Mike Lindell: (18:04)
We’ve dedicated 75% of my manufacturing to produce cotton face masks. I’m up to time, in three days I was up to 10,000 a day. By Friday, I want to be up to 50,000 a day. I’m proud to manufacture our products in the United States and I’m even more proud to be able to serve our nation in this great time of need.
Mike Lindell: (18:24)
Thank you Mr. President for your call to action which has empowered companies like MyPillow to help our nation win this invisible war. Now, I wrote something off the cuff, if I can read this.
Mike Lindell: (18:36)
God gave us grace on November 8, 2016, to change the course we were on. God had been taken out of our schools and lives. A nation had turned his back on God and I encourage you to use this time at home to get back in the Word, read our Bibles and spend time with our families. Our president gave us so much hope, where just a few short months ago, we had the best economy, the lowest unemployment and wages going up. It was amazing. With our great president, vice president, and this administration and all the great people in this country praying daily, we will get through this and get back to a place that’s stronger and safer than ever.
Donald Trump: (19:19)
Thank you, Mike. Please come on up. I did not know he was going to do that but he’s a friend of mine and I do appreciate it. Thank you, Mike, very much. Please.
Darius Adamczyk: (19:31)
First of all, Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, the entire administration and all the agencies, thank you for your strong leadership during this time of crisis. It is noticed and it’s making a difference.
Darius Adamczyk: (19:43)
Second of all, I’d like to say a big thank you to all the healthcare workers out there. You’re putting yourself in harms way every day and we really respect what you’re doing and we couldn’t be thankful enough for it and I can tell you that more helps on the way. We as Honeywell, we’re an industrial technology company and one of the businesses that we’re in, protecting industrial worker. But what we’re doing today is we’re repurposing a lot of that equipment to serve the healthcare worker.
Darius Adamczyk: (20:11)
A few days ago we announced the start-up of a new manufacturing facility in Rhode Island. We’re going to be hiring 500 employees. We have already 200 onboard and we’re going to be starting the production N95 masks within the next two weeks.
Darius Adamczyk: (20:27)
Furthermore, today we’re announcing the start up of another manufacturing facility in Arizona. We’re going to be hiring another 500 people and we’re going to be starting up production in that facility by the middle of May. So in total, we’ve doubled our production of N95 masks already. It’s going to double again within the next 60 days and then within the next 90 days, we’re one of the 5X the capacity we do today. Furthermore, we’re going to be providing other safety equipment to support all the efforts going on. Lastly, I would say a big thing, key to all the Honeywell employees and also announce a $10 million fund for them for all the hourly and administrative employees are having a hard time during this time of crisis. Thank you, Mr. President.
Donald Trump: (21:15)
Fantastic. Thank you. Normally I’d shake his hand but we’re not supposed to do that anymore. So that’s okay. Great job. Thank you to Honeywell. Please, go ahead.
Debra Waller: (21:29)
Thank you Mr. President and Mr. Vice President on your guidance during this unprecedented time and I’m very honored to be here today. Founded by a minister 144 years ago, Jockey International is a family owned company headquartered in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Debra Waller: (21:46)
Since 1876, we have been providing socks and underwear for generations of families. It is part of our DNA to roll up our sleeves and help our country in her time of need. During World War II, we made parachutes for the military and today we are eager to serve this great country by providing support for the healthcare workers on the front lines of this fight.
Debra Waller: (22:09)
As the president and vice president have said, it’s a whole of America approach and we are committed. Jockey has had a long standing partnership with Encompass Group, headquartered in Georgia, serving the healthcare community. When we learned of the critical need for PPE, we knew we had to help. That meant restarting production on tier three isolation gowns.
Debra Waller: (22:33)
Monumental lifting by Jockey, Encompass, FEMA and the FDA was done in just a few days to be production ready. As a result, we expect to begin delivering 30 to 50,000 gowns per week, helping those that need it the most right now.
Debra Waller: (22:51)
In addition, this week we are also donating 10,000 units of scrubs to the frontline doctors and nurses at the Javits Convention Center in New York City. We would not have been able to do this without the collaboration of the administration, representatives from the federal agencies and Congressman Brian Stiles.
Debra Waller: (23:11)
Thank you very much Mr. President and Mr. Vice President.
Donald Trump: (23:14)
Thank you very much.
David Taylor: (23:22)
Thank you Mr. President, Mr. Vice President for bringing us together today. I’m proud to be able to represent the men and women of Proctor and Gamble who every day, 24 hours a day, are working to build and make essential cleaning products, hygiene products and healthcare products for families everywhere. These include healthcare workers and for institutions that are serving those in the front line. P and G people are the faces of the brands you know and trust. Brands like Tide, Pampers, Bounty, Charmin, Mr. Clean and Vicks.
David Taylor: (23:56)
In addition to making, packing and shipping these essential items, they’ve worked together to transform our plants to make things we’ve never made before like hand sanitizers and facial mask. Some of these are already getting to national, state and local agencies. Some of them are in the hospitals already. Everywhere around the world, P and G people are working every day to serve everybody, consumers and they’re working together to bring together the full capability of our research and development, our engineering, our manufacturing and our communications capability to make sure we make a difference to the consumers we serve and to all the audience that we can make a difference to.
David Taylor: (24:40)
I want to thank them and I’m very grateful for what they do every day in service to others. Thank you Mr. President and Mr. Vice President for bringing us together today.
Donald Trump: (24:49)
Greg Hayes: (24:55)
Good afternoon. I’m Greg Hayes from United Technologies and on behalf of the 240,000 employees of United Technologies and the 70,000 employees at Raytheon, which will join together with UTC this Friday, I want to first of all say thank you to the president and the vice president for your leadership during what is really a war.
Greg Hayes: (25:14)
It was a different war than anybody has ever fought before, but it’s a war that we’re uniquely qualified to help. As one of the world’s largest defense contractors and some of the best technology, we’re using that technology to try and solve some real world problems.
Greg Hayes: (25:28)
Today we’re working with the Air Force to try and help the pilots as they’re moving medical evacuees with the COVID-19 virus such that they can be protected and that the patients can be protected.
Greg Hayes: (25:39)
Again, we’re working also with logistics and if you think about a war, strategy is important but logistics wins war. It’s imperative I think with FEMA and along with Mr. Navarro’s office, that we coordinate all of these activities.
Greg Hayes: (25:53)
Last week we donated about 90,000 pieces of personal protective equipment to FEMA. Next week we’ll have another almost million, again working through our supply chain partners around the world. We’re also today, this week, beginning the manufacture of face shields using the additive technologies that we have and the machines that we have available within UTC, we’ll be able to produce approximately 10,000 shields in the next four weeks. Again, all needed equipment.
Greg Hayes: (26:20)
We stand ready to help in any way we can. We don’t need the Defense Production Act to ask us to act. All of the people at UTC and Raytheon are focused on this war and winning it. Again, I also want to say thank you to all of our employees for their work during this crisis, as well as to the frontline medical and other first responders. Thank you very much.
Donald Trump: (26:40)
Thank you very much. Thank you. Fantastic. Great company.
Donald Trump: (26:43)
Those a great companies. Thank you very much. I’d like to ask Seema to come up and say a few words about what you’re doing and what’s happening and how positive it’s been. I really appreciate it. Come on up, Seema Verma.
Seema Verma: (26:58)
Thank you Mr. President and let me start by saying I want to convey my deepest sympathies to those that have lost loved ones to the Coronavirus. We’re all thinking of you.
Seema Verma: (27:09)
Today’s Doctor’s Day and even without it, I want to send a message of gratitude to the foot soldiers in this war; men and women that are providing care and comfort to Americans that have been affected by the virus. Your country is grateful and in short, as the president has said, we are engaged in a war against an invisible enemy. In war time, the assumptions of peace time must be revisited and adjusted to meet the demands of the moment.
Seema Verma: (27:37)
And so under the president’s leadership, CMS is waving a wide and unprecedented range of regulatory requirements. Now many healthcare systems won’t need these waivers and they shouldn’t use them if they don’t need them but the flexibilities are there. In a time of crisis, regulations shouldn’t stand in the way of patient care and there are several components to our announcement today but the first one is CMS’s hospital’s without walls and this is going to allow hospital systems to create new treatment sites outside of their facility, to expand capacity and be able to safely separate patients that are infected with the Coronavirus and those that are not.
Seema Verma: (28:19)
Now FEMA is doing incredible work setting up temporary hospitals in New York and other areas but under these waivers, we are empowering local communities to compliment and augment the work of FEMA in allowing hospital systems to tap into the capacity that already exist in their communities, making use of dorms and hotels or gymnasiums and allowing the main hospital to focus on those that need the most intensive care.
Seema Verma: (28:46)
There are surgery centers out there today that are delaying elective surgeries and they may have excess capacity that could be devoted to hospital light care.
Seema Verma: (28:57)
We are also making changes to the Medicare program to facilitate testing. So some people that need a coronavirus test can’t leave their home or patients that are in a nursing home and now we will pay for labs to go out to these locations and perform testing.
Seema Verma: (29:12)
We’re also expanding the workforce. We are taking action today to relax some of our regulations to allow hospitals to increase their workforce and we’re allowing a broad range of flexibilities so that we can let healthcare workers operate at the top of their license.
Seema Verma: (29:33)
We are also allowing our hospitals to provide more support for our healthcare workers. Under today’s regulations, they can only provide minimal support to healthcare workers but now we’re going to allow them to provide childcare, meals, laundry services.
Seema Verma: (29:49)
Then there’s also telehealth. The president already directed a dramatic expansion of telehealth to our nation’s 62 million seniors with Medicare and we’re so proud of all the healthcare providers and patients that have rapidly implemented…
Seema Verma: (30:03)
… care, healthcare providers and patients that have rapidly implemented telehealth. But today we’re announcing that we’re going to go even further and we’re going to be paying for doctors to make phone calls with their patients and provide care over the phone. And we’re getting rid of longstanding barriers to telehealth in the Medicare program allowing emergency rooms to use telehealth and eliminating requirements that some visits be provided face to face. And I also want to mention that on Saturday, the president directed CMS to offer advanced payments for healthcare providers that are experiencing cashflow problems.
Seema Verma: (30:35)
We know that many providers are complying with our recommendations to delay non-essential elective surgeries and they shouldn’t be penalized for doing the right thing. Now, I’ve barely scratched the surface of all the flexibilities that we are offering healthcare workers and healthcare systems. These flexibilities will provide a lot of flexibility from regulations that are ill suited to the unprecedented needs of this emergency and doctors and nurses and other healthcare professionals that are working long hours and sacrificing times with their families and risking their lives will have the flexibility that they need to confront the needs of the coronavirus pandemic.
Seema Verma: (31:17)
And there are many heroes in this war, but I want to take an opportunity to thank the team at CMS. These folks have worked day and night. The flexibilities that are in this regulation and any regulation usually take CMS a year. But we did this in two weeks and I couldn’t be more honored and privileged to serve alongside these dedicated public servants. Thank you.
Donald Trump: (31:40)
Thank you very much. You were fantastic [inaudible 00:31:42], and you’re doing a great job. So we are in the midst of something that is very difficult but we are going to win. It’s just a question of when. We want to do it as quickly as possible. We want to have as few deaths as possible and we will meet again tomorrow for some statistics and some updates as to where we are, where we think we’re going, and timing. I think timing is going to be very important because we have to get our country back. We have to get our country back to where it was and maybe beyond where it was because we’ve learned so much, but we will have lost a lot of people and in many ways they hear us.
Donald Trump: (32:26)
And if you look at what’s happening with our medical professionals, it’s a danger there. They’re warriors. Men and women are doing a job the likes of which I don’t think anyone’s ever seen. I see them coming out of planes today going into New York, going into the most dangerous locations, dangerous areas. And they go in there and they just want to do the job. And you see the numbers, you see the numbers, I see the numbers. I have some friends that are unbelievably sick. We thought they were going in for a mild stay and in one case, he’s unconscious in a coma. And you say, how did that happen?
Donald Trump: (33:08)
So I just want to thank all of the great professionals, men and women, doctors and nurses and paramedics and fast responders and law enforcement. By the way, if you look at New York and you see the effect that this had on law enforcement, it’s been incredible. These are great people, firefighters, great people. They’re helping in so many different ways. So thank you very much. And if you’d like, we’ll take a few questions. John, please.
Thank you Mr President. Yesterday you said that you would be extending the guidelines through the end of April and that you’ll be giving us specifics tomorrow. Do you expect that the guidelines will just carry on the guidelines that have been in place now for 15 days? Could there potentially be some modification? Also, you have some travel restrictions that come up for reconsideration. The one from the EU on April 13th, Canada, US-Mexico border on April the 21st, well, what will happen with all of that?
Donald Trump: (34:08)
They’ll be staying, and we may add a few more, but the guidelines will be very much as they are, maybe even toughened up a little bit, but they’re having a big impact. They are having a tremendous impact and we’re starting to see it. And that’s the key, we’re starting to see the impact that they’re having.
And if I could ask you too, you talked about Ford now ramping up production of ventilators. The government is sending thousands of ventilators across the country. Clearly the supply is increasing, but when you look at the production curve against the hospitalization curve, can you guarantee that everyone who needs a ventilator in the next few weeks will be able to get one?
Donald Trump: (34:44)
Well, I think that some are ramping up to a level that they’re not going to have to, John, and I think that we also have kept in reserve. We have almost 10,000 ventilators in our line. We’ve held back just because we did the stockpile, we didn’t want to give them because we don’t know where the emergency… it hits so fast. It comes so quickly, and we have 10,000. We’re probably going to send some of them now. We’ve been sending a lot to Michigan and various other states. We’ll probably send some additional ones to Michigan. New York’s been doing very well, but we can add some more to New York. We’re adding them to the areas that are having a problem.
Donald Trump: (35:23)
Even Alabama, all of a sudden a flared up a little bit as you saw over the last couple of days and we’ll send them down to Alabama. So we have 10,000, we kept them for this very specific purpose. It sounds like a lot, but it’s not when you think about it, but we’re making a lot and when you see, we’re talking about hundreds of thousands being made in a very short period of time because if you look at what just… so we have now 10 companies at least making the ventilators. And we say go ahead because honestly, other countries really, they’ll never be able to do it. It’s a complex piece of equipment and it’s big and expensive.
So do you believe as we approach this peak in a couple of weeks that there will be enough for the American populace?
Donald Trump: (36:05)
Yes. I do think so. I think we’re going to be in very good shape, and we had a great call today with the governors and they were, I actually said, “I hope that the media is listening to this call,” because it was a really good call and that was randomly selected largely Democrats and Republicans in there. I think for the most part they were saying thank you for doing a great job and we discussed that at the end of the call. So really, people are very happy with what we’re doing. Now the circumstances are so terrible because of what’s going on, but I think they’re very impressed by the Federal government.
Donald Trump: (36:45)
I watched that beautiful ship floating in today into, weeks ahead of schedule, almost four weeks ahead of schedule into New York Harbor, Comfort. And I watched the Mercy floating in to Los Angeles a week ago, almost a week ago. And they are stocked. They are really ready to go. They’re stocked with both talent and tremendous amounts of equipment and the Navy and everybody else involved, they got it ready so fast. It’s just incredible what they can do. They’ve geared up. That’s why I mean, I am so impressed by the people involved. Mike and I were talking about it before, the level of genius to put it all together so quickly. A month ago nobody ever heard of this. Nobody had any idea that Mercy was being maintained.
Donald Trump: (37:33)
It was in maintenance for a month. And when they heard we needed it, and I was surprised, they said, “Sir, we’re ready to go.” I said, “What do you mean? You’re not going to be ready for three weeks?” “No sir, we’re all ready to go.” It was incredible. And we’ve had many instances like this. I think the building of the hospital, 2,900 beds in a matter of days, a few days is just incredible. Governor Cuomo was impressed and Gavin Newsome was impressed by what we’ve been doing with Gavin in California in Los Angeles area in particular, but really San Francisco, all over, all over California. When you look at what we’re doing with Michigan, we’re getting along very well with Michigan’s, great place. We’re sending a lot of things to Michigan because that’s becoming a hotbed, especially a specific area as you know, it’s become very hot.
Donald Trump: (38:24)
It’s become, I don’t know, could even at some point supersede, but it’s got to be taken care of. So the relationship we have with the governors, I just wish you could… because we took a lot of calls from a lot of different states and I wish you could have heard, even a thing where the governor of Ohio calls where he has a company that does the sterilization, but they have a problem because it’s not going quickly at the FDA. And I call up Steve and Steve comes and he said, “We’ll get it done.” And they checked it and they got it done almost immediately. And originally they were approving it for 10,000 masks and then it was supposed to be for 80 and they ultimately approved it for 120,000. I mean, it’s a tremendous number.
Donald Trump: (39:10)
And I kept wondering, why aren’t they sterilizing these masks? I assumed maybe you couldn’t do it, but then I’d look at them and they’d look like it’s not cloth. It’s something that looks like it could be sterilized and that’s what they’ve done and that’s the machine that is over there actually. They have a piece of the machine over there. I won’t bother showing it to you. And this is incredible when you talk about five minutes, 15 minutes and highly accurate and not nearly as disturbing to do as the other tests. So we’ve just gotten better. We’re doing things that nobody else ever thought of. Please.
Speaker 2: (39:44)
The DMV has issued today at home orders, but Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia took it pretty far. He issued a 70 day stay at home order. Is that constitutional first off? And secondly, do you think it’s warranted to go ahead and issue a 70 day guidance at this point?
Donald Trump: (40:03)
Well, we’re letting the governors do in their states pretty much what they want with our supervision and they consult with us in all cases. Some go further than others as you know. I mean, I could give you plenty of examples, but I’m not going to do that because we never want to be controversial, but some of the governors have taken it a step further-
Speaker 2: (40:24)
Did he consult [inaudible 00:40:25]?
Donald Trump: (40:26)
… and people are questioning that, but look, staying at home with respect to what we’re talking about doesn’t bother me at all. People should be staying at home. That’s what we want. [inaudible 00:40:35] please. [inaudible 00:40:37].
Speaker 3: (40:38)
2,405 Americans have died from coronavirus in the last 60 days. Meanwhile, you have 2,369 children who are killed by their mothers through elective abortions each day. That’s 16 and a half thousand children killed every week. Two states have suspended elective abortion to make more resources available for coronavirus cases, that’s Texas and Ohio. Do you agree with states who are placing coronavirus victims above elective abortions and should more states be doing the same?
Donald Trump: (41:12)
Well, I think what we’re doing is we’re trying to, as a group, governors and that’s Republicans and Democrats, we’re just working together to solve this problem. What you’re mentioning has been going on for a long time and it’s a sad event, a lot of sad events in this country, but what we’re doing is now we’re working on the virus, we’re working on that hidden enemy and I think we’re doing a great job on, as good a job as you can possibly do. When when Tony and Deborah came up with numbers yesterday to say that if we did nothing, you could lose 2.2, up to 2., maybe beyond, I don’t know, maybe beyond, but 2.2 million people if we did nothing. And I can’t tell you what the unfortunate final toll is going to be, but it’s going to be a very small fraction of that.
Donald Trump: (42:01)
So we’re doing an awfully good job I think with what we’re doing. Please go ahead.
Speaker 3: (42:06)
[crosstalk 00:42:06] in Ohio.
Donald Trump: (42:06)
Speaker 4: (42:10)
Are you considering all a nationwide stay at home order? I know there’s a lot of states that have put them in place, but some haven’t. I’m just wondering if you were considering some sort of broad stay at home order. And then I have a question for Dr. Birx too, if you don’t mind.
Donald Trump: (42:21)
Well, we’ve talked about it. Obviously there are some parts of the country that are in far deeper trouble than others. There are other parts that frankly are not in trouble at all. So hopefully, we’re going to be able to keep it that way by doing what we’re doing. So we talked about quarantine as you know, the other day a group came to me and they wanted to do the quarantine and I said, “Let’s think about it.” And we did it, we studied it. And by the time the evening came, it just was something that was very unwieldy, very tough to enforce and something we didn’t want to do. But we did advisory. And I think that’s doing well. I mean, I look at the streets, you look at New York where there’s… I looked down Fifth Avenue today, they were showing a shot of Fifth Avenue in Primetime and there was almost nobody on Fifth Avenue.
Donald Trump: (43:09)
I’ve never seen that before. There was no car, there was no anything. So I think the people of this country have done an incredible job. If we do that, we will let you know. But it’s pretty unlikely I would think at this time.
Speaker 4: (43:22)
Can I ask a quick question for Dr. Birx [inaudible 00:43:23]?
Donald Trump: (43:23)
Speaker 4: (43:24)
So Dr. Birx, if you don’t mind, you had mentioned today that this model that predicts 100, 000 deaths is if we do things almost perfectly. So I wanted to know, are we currently doing things almost perfectly or are there more things we need to be doing to not exceed that 100,000, 200,000 model.
Donald Trump: (43:46)
Dr. Birx: (43:52)
Thank you. Thank you. I think that’s a really great question. And tomorrow we’ll go through all of the graphs and all the information that we took to the president for the decision. But when you… and I just want to thank the data team that’s working day and night to get, I mean, I usually get my data about 2:00 AM from them and they assimilate all the data from all the states. And when you look at all of the states together, all of them are moving in exactly the same curves. And so that’s why we really believe this needs to be federal guidance so that every state understands that it may look like two cases today, that become 20, that become 200, that become 2000. And that’s what we’re trying to prevent. And I think states still have that opportunity, but they’re going to have to do all of these recommended… I mean, these recommendations are recommendations that the globe is using.
Dr. Birx: (44:44)
And so we really do recommend that every governor, every mayor, looks very carefully and ensures that their communities are utilizing these guidance.
Donald Trump: (44:55)
Thank you very much. Thanks. It is amazing. You look at Louisiana and for a long time it was just staying at-
Donald Trump: (45:03)
For a long time, it was just staying at nothing. And then all of a sudden, I look one day and I see a lot and a lot and a lot, and then it explodes. And now, we’re working very carefully and very powerfully with them. We’re building hospitals, we’re building a lot of different things for Louisiana. So, it’s very important. Yeah, please go ahead.
Speaker 5: (45:24)
Mr. President, Dr. Fauci has warned that this could be seasonal cyclical virus. So… And maybe both of you could comment on this and Dr. Birx as well, are you prepared for this to strike again, say in the fall? All the efforts that are taking place right now to contain this, to be proactive, and you-
Donald Trump: (45:44)
Yeah. We’re prepared, I hope it doesn’t happen. Doctor, would you like to say something about that? I hope it doesn’t happen, but we’re certainly prepared.
Dr. Fauci: (45:53)
In fact, I would anticipate that that would actually happen because of the degree of transmissibility. However, if you come back in the fall, it will be a totally different ballgame of what happened when we first got hit with it, in the beginning of this year. There’ll be several things that will be different. Our ability to go out and be able to test, identify, isolate and contact trace, will be orders of magnitude better than what it was just a couple of months ago. In addition, we have a number of clinical trials that are looking at kind of variety of therapeutic interventions. We hope one or more of them will be available.
Dr. Fauci: (46:29)
And importantly, as I mentioned to you many times at these briefings is that, we have a vaccine that’s on track and multiple other candidates. So I would anticipate that a year to year and a half, we’d be able to do it under an emergency use. If we start seeing an efficacy signal, we may be able to even use a vaccine at the next season. So things are going to be very different. What we’re going through now, is going to be more than just lessons to learn, it’s going to be things that we have available to us that we did not have before.
Donald Trump: (47:02)
Okay. Please, go ahead.
Speaker 11: (47:04)
Mr. President, Scott… Thank you. Scott Gottlieb, your former FDA Commissioner, wrote a roadmap for recovery after the Coronavirus.
Donald Trump: (47:12)
Yeah, very interesting, I saw it.
Speaker 11: (47:13)
He suggests… The roadmap suggests that everybody wear a mask in public. Is that something that the task force thinks is a good idea?
Donald Trump: (47:23)
Well, we haven’t discussed it to that extent, but it’s certainly something we could discuss. We’re getting certainly the number of masks that you need. We are in the process of talking about things… I saw his suggestion on that, so we’ll take a look at it. For a period of time, not forever. I mean, we want our country back. We’re not going to be wearing masks forever, but it could be for a short period of time after we get back into gear. People could… I could see something like that happening for a period of time. But I would hope it would be a very limited period of time, doctors. They’ll come back and say, for the rest of our lives we have to wear masks.
Speaker 11: (48:00)
The roadmap also talks about doing GPS for social distancing, maybe following people’s phones, and hotels for isolation for people, giving them free hotel rooms, are those ideas that you’re looking at?
Donald Trump: (48:14)
Well, the GPS, that’s the very severe idea. I’ve been hearing about it, GPS. So, what happens? A siren goes off if you get too close to somebody. That’s pretty severe. But he’s somebody who was with me for a long time. He worked… They did a great job at FDA. So, we’re going to take a look. I just received it a little while ago, he sent it over. So very good. Go ahead. Let’s give it a shot.
Jim Acosta: (48:36)
Sir, what do you say to Americans who are upset with you over the way you downplayed this crisis over the last couple of months?
Donald Trump: (48:44)
Here we go.
Jim Acosta: (48:45)
We have it very much under control in this country. The Coronavirus is very much under control, in the USA. It’s going to disappear. It’s like a miracle. It will disappear. March 4th, we have a very small number of people in this country infected. March 10th, we’re prepared. We’re doing a great job with it. It will go away. Just stay calm, it will go away. What do you say to Americans who believe that you got this wrong?
Donald Trump: (49:08)
[crosstalk 00:00:49:06], it will go away. And I do want them to stay calm. And we are doing a great job. If you look at those individual statements, they’re all true. Stay calm, it will go away. You know it is going away and it will go away, and we’re going to have a great victory. And it’s people like you and CNN that say things like that, that… It’s why people just don’t want to listen to CNN anymore. You could ask a normal question. The statements I made are, I want to keep the country calm, I don’t want panic in the country. I could cause panic much better than even you. I could do much… I would make you look like a minor league player. But you know what? I don’t want to do that. I want to have our country be calm and strong and fight and win. And it will go away.
Donald Trump: (49:50)
And it is incredible the job that all of these people are doing, putting them all together, the job that they’re doing. I am very proud of the job they’re doing, that Mike Pence is doing, that the task force has done, that Honeywell and Procter & Gamble and Mike and all of these people have done. I’m very proud. It’s almost a miracle. And it is, the way it’s all come together. And instead of asking a nasty, snarky question like that, you should ask a real question. And other than that, I’m going to go to somebody else. Please, go ahead. Please.
Jim Acosta: (50:23)
Speaker 7: (50:26)
You expressed some concern in the past that medical supplies were going out the back door and that perhaps some hospitals were doing things [crosstalk 00:05:34].
Donald Trump: (50:33)
Well, I expressed what was told to me by a tremendous power in the business. He said that at a New York hospital, for a long period of time, he was giving 10,000, maybe maximum 20,000 masks, over a short time. And all of a sudden, he’s giving 300,000. And I said, “No matter how bad this is, could that be possible?” He said, “No.” So there’s only a couple of that could happen. Is it going out the back door? And I’ve reported it to the city, and let the city take a look at it. But when you go from 10,000 masks to 300,000 masks, Mike, over the same period of time, there’s something going on. Now, I’m not making any charges, but when everyone’s looking for masks… And by the way, that’s another thing, we’re making a lot of masks and the sterilization process is going to save a lot of time and a lot of masks.
Donald Trump: (51:26)
But, when you have the biggest distributor of product that distributes to many of the big hospitals and hospital chains, and he brings up a statistic like that… And I know you’re trying to make a big deal out of it, but you shouldn’t be. You should actually go over to the hospital and find out why. You shouldn’t be asking me. I’m just saying, that’s the way it is.
Speaker 7: (51:47)
Donald Trump: (51:47)
You should go over there as a great reporter. I have no idea who you are, but that’s okay. You should go over there. Go to the hospital and find out, how come you used to get 10,000 masks and you had a full hospital? New York City always full. And how come now you have 300,000 masks? Despite the virus and all, you have three… How do you go from 10 to 300,000? And this is very serious stuff. I mean, I could see from 10 to 20 or from 10 to 40 or 50 or something, but how do you go from 10 to 300,000 masks? So what I think you should do as a… I’m sure you’re a wonderful investigative reporter, you should go to the hospital and find out why.
Speaker 7: (52:27)
I’m asking your DOJ to look into it, sir.
Donald Trump: (52:28)
[inaudible 00:52:29] challenging [inaudible 00:52:30] look like [crosstalk 00:52:34].
Donald Trump: (52:34)
Well, it’s so bad for the economy. But the economy is number two on my list. First, I want to save a lot of lives. We’re going to get the economy back. I think the economy is going to come back very fast. Steve is just asking about the economy, what’s it like? We basically shut down our country. And we did that in order to keep people separated, keep people apart. They’re not working in offices, they’re not in airplanes together. We’ve really shut it down. And 150/151 other countries are pretty much shut down. But here with the… We have the greatest economy in the world. We have the greatest economy in the history of our country. And I had to go from doing a great job for three years, to shutting it down. But you know what? We’re going to build it up and we’re going to build it up rapidly. And I think in the end, we’ll be stronger for it. We learned a lot.
Donald Trump: (53:26)
And I have to say, we’ve had great relationships with a lot of countries. China sent us some stuff which was terrific. Russia sent us a very large plane load of things, medical equipment, which was very nice. Other countries sent us things that I was very surprised at. Very happily surprised. We learned a lot. We’re learning a lot. And we’re also learning, that the concept of borders is very important, Steve. It’s very important. Having borders is very important. But, we have done an incredible job. The economy is going to come back. My focus is saving lives. That’s the only focus I could have. We’re going to bring the economy back and we’ll bring it back fast. Yeah, please.
Speaker 8: (54:13)
Donald Trump: (54:14)
Speaker 9: (54:14)
Mr. [Inaudible 00:54:15].
Donald Trump: (54:14)
Speaker 9: (54:18)
Thank you, Mr. President. You’ve said several times that the United States is ramped up testing, so it’s to talk a little quicker or a little louder. Mr. President, you’ve said several times that the United States is ramped up testing, but the United States is still not testing per capita as many people as other countries like South Korea. Why is that and when do you think that that number will be on par with other countries? And Doctor-
Donald Trump: (54:39)
Yeah. Well, it’s very much on par. Look-
Speaker 9: (54:42)
[inaudible 00:54:42] per capita.
Donald Trump: (54:43)
Per capita. We have areas of country that’s very wide. I know South Korea better than anybody, it’s a very tight… You know how many people are in Seoul? You know how big the city of Seoul is?
Speaker 9: (54:52)
Donald Trump: (54:53)
38 million people. That’s bigger than anything we have. 38 million people all tightly wound together. We have vast farmlands. We have vast areas where they don’t have much of a problem. In some cases, they have no problem whatsoever. We have done more tests. Well, I didn’t talk about per capita. We have done more tests by far than any country in the world, by far. Our testing is also better than any country in the world. And when you looking at that, as simple as that looks, that’s something that’s a game changer. And every country wants that, every country. So, rather than asking a question like that, you should congratulate the people that have done this testing. Because, we inherited this administration, inherited a broken system, a system that was obsolete, a system that didn’t work. It was okay for a tiny small group of people. But, once you got beyond that, it didn’t work. We have built an incredible system to the fact, where we have now done more tests than any other country in the world. And now the technology is really booming.
Donald Trump: (55:56)
I just spoke to… Well, I spoke to a lot… I’m not going to even mention. I spoke to a number of different testing companies today. And the job that they’ve done and the job that they’re doing, is incredible. But when Abbott comes out and does this so quickly, it’s really unreal. In fact, one company, I have to say, that stands out in the job, and I think I can say this, I don’t want to insult anybody else, but Roche. Roche, is been incredible in the testing job they’ve done. And they’re ramping it up exponentially, it’s up. And you should be saying, congratulations, instead of asking a really snarky question, because I know exactly what you mean by that.
Speaker 9: (56:40)
Donald Trump: (56:41)
You should be saying, congratulations to the men and women who have done this job, who have inherited a broken testing system and who have made it great. And if you don’t say it, I’ll say it. I want to congratulate all of the people, you have done a fantastic job. And we will see you all tomorrow, thank you very much. Thank you.
Speaker 10: (56:59)