President and Task Force Engage in “Town Hall”

White House is not considering a nationwide lockdown.

President Trump, Vice President Pence and other members of the coronavirus task force appeared in the Rose Garden at the White House in a televised “town hall,” taking questions from Americans.

Vice President Pence, the first to appear, said the White House is not considering a nationwide coronavirus lockdown. In fact, he said, they are looking to see if there are ways that some people can begin to return to work, holding onto certain precautions like social distancing.

He also reported that the FDA is approving “off label” use for chloroquine, and that there is no barrier to access at this time.

President Trump was asked about the progress Congress is making on the stimulus bill. He said he was gratified that the stock market appeared to be giving a favorable response based on the progress Congress is making.

He said they are looking at when Americans might be able to begin to return to economic participation. He said he would love to “have the country open by Easter, and raring to go.”

A series of questions were directed to Dr. Deborah Birx about the mutation of the coronavirus. She said that the constants are pretty strong, regardless of the mutations. She said once someone has the virus and has antibodies, there should not be any re-infection of that individual.  Work on vaccines and additional therapeutics continues, and that will prepare the public for the next season as well as to help with the current pandemic.

Surgeon General Adams reported that the death rate in America is similar to that of South Korea which has been applauded for its response to the virus.  He said 90 percent of those tested so far test negative, and 99 percent are recovering. Beyond that, it is important that everyone does all they can to stop the spread of the virus, leaning in to the guidelines, and be assured that a reassessment will be made next week at the end of the 15 days.

Dr. Birx said that help is going to the nurses and doctors at hospitals. She is pleased that the coming self-testing will free up much personal protective gear, a very important and necessary help for healthcare workers. The Surgeon General added that demand for personal protective equipment needs also to be lowered by avoiding elective surgeries and non-essential medical attention.

The FDA has lowered barriers so more self-testing can take place, and home testing information will be out soon. The self-testing involves self-swabbing at a drive-up or other location. And these tests should be limited to persons with symptoms. They are not “at home” tests.

More testing has been done in the U.S. than in North Korea by numbers, but not by a per-capita rate.

The Vice President reminded everyone that testing needs to be focused on those with symptoms. For a “concerned” but asymptomatic person, don’t do the test.

Right now, test rates are way under 10 percent, except in New York City which is 28 percent. Density in New York is part of the problem; part of it could be travelers who have come back from other countries where the virus was quietly expanding, part of it could be the life of the virus on hard surfaces, such as in subways.

The president said he is committed to getting people back to work as soon as possible. As what is happening in the spread of the virus is better understood, and the focus on where the virus is rampant, that data can be used to determine the flexibility of the working public, Dr. Birx said. But in the meantime, people must adhere to the 15-day guidelines. Young people should not ignore the guidelines .

Doctors from the private sector were also asked questions. One doctor was disturbed by the fear that is possibly more contagious than the virus. Calm needs to be practiced, and also projected by leaders across the country.  Another doctor questioned the Easter goal of returning to work, fearing a possible “relapse” by the “patient.” The president said he is concerned about the mental health of Americans because businesses and work have been lost. 

Another questioned about getting more tests out to the American public. Dr. Birx said the tests are all based on the RNA of the virus, and viral loads are being utilized to evaluate the tests. Point-of-care tests are being worked on so more testing can be done. The president said the tests in the U.S. are some of the best in the world.

In summary, the task force members continued to reinforce the need for all Americans to practice the methods in the guidelines: hand-washing, social distancing, staying at home, avoiding those who are sick and isolating them if within your own family.  Also avoid unnecessary travel, gathering in large groups, and assembling in restaurants or theaters. Testing continues, is being improved to be easier and self-administered, and locations where testing is needed is being evaluated.

The president is eager to get Americans back to work—as most Americans themselves are—and an assessment of the state of the virus in the U.S. will be done at the end of the 15 days, and more information will be given to the public at that time.

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For President Trump, all members of the coronavirus task force, state leaders and others responsible for the public health and safety.
  • That the country will be able to be “open up” for business within the coming weeks.
  • For people who have been stricken with the virus to recover quickly.

Sources: Fox News


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