Saturday Coronavirus Task Force Briefing

The president and task force members update the nation on the state of affairs.

After meeting together all Saturday morning, the nation’s coronavirus task force presented a status update and briefing shortly after noon.

The president said that his team has been working night and day on Capitol Hill on the massive coronavirus relief package. They expect votes and approvals, probably Monday.

President Trump mentioned the number of industries that are setting aside their regular manufacturing for making masks, gowns, repurposing ventilators, and doing “incredible things” to put their fellow Americans first. These things are being done voluntarily without the president having to call upon them under the Defense Production Act.

He mentioned distilleries who are setting aside making their alcoholic beverages to make hand sanitizers.  It will be a high-level product, the president said.

Telehealth has been expanded so that more and more people can see a doctor without leaving home.  It may be a long-term game-changer in the way we interact with our physicians.  Work on the vaccines is ongoing.

“This is a time of shared national sacrifice, but it is time to take stock of what is important – our faith, our families, our neighbors,” he said.

Vice President Pence reported on the whole-of-America approach being taken in response to the pandemic. Common sense, compassion, and generosity are by-words that Americans seem to be living by.

He again encouraged every American to do their part by following the guidelines. “We are six days into the 15-day outline,” he reminded. He thanked people of faith for their prayers and thanked clergy and others for following guidelines as well.

Testing is expanding rapidly, including drive-throughs, he said. More than 195,000 have been tested and less than 10% have tested positive.   If you don’t need the test, though, he said, please do not take it. We need to preserve these resources for where they are truly needed.

State and local authorities need to work with their local FEMA people who are doing an amazing job.

The procurement of supplies is being accomplished and a larger report will be given on Monday. Hundreds of millions of the right masks will soon be available.

He said both he and his wife, Karen, will be tested today for the virus after one of his staffers tested positive. Although he has not had contact with that individual, they will take the test out of an abundance of caution. As for the staffer, he is doing well.

For most Americans, the risk of illness from the virus is low. But there are vulnerable populations that we must protect. “We will get through this, come out stronger than ever before, and we will get through it as Americans,” he said.

Admiral Brent Giroir, who is leading the Department of Health and Human Services efforts on the virus, reported on testing. The labs he referenced do not account for hospital-based labs and others who are doing testing, but who will be reporting this week.  Over 95,000 people have completed their testing.  As more people are tested, more will come out positive.  The curve will increase.

Although testing is becoming more available, there are priorities for testing and everyone should understand that those hospitals, in ICUs, health care workers, symptomatic people in long-term care facilities, and others with high complication rates, patients in public health investigations, are the ones for whom testing is a priority.

There are now community-based testing sites that are state-managed and locally executed. The federal government is there for support, but these are springing up adapted to local needs.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said there is widespread infection but more heavily located in some areas. We know we are having a mitigating effect but there is no way to quantify it right now.

He said guidelines are much more robust in some areas and some states, and those orders and efforts will be impactful.

Not every person needs testing, he reiterated. An unintended consequence of getting tested when you don’t need to is the consumption of personal protective equipment unnecessarily, reducing the supply for those who do need it. People taking care of others need to be able to protect themselves.

Peter Gaynor, FEMA Administrator, said they are doing everything necessary to get states, local groups, Native American tribes and others what they need in the way of swabs, masks, personal protective gear and so on.

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For wisdom and direction for the president as he works on solutions to the dynamic coronavirus outbreak.
  • For God to be at work through the president and the various industry leaders as they adjust and respond to the crisis.
  • For Americans to be united during this time and that, together, we would call on God in prayer.

Sources: White House


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