President’s Briefing for Monday

Progress is being made, mitigation has been working.

President Trump began his Monday briefing offering condolences and prayers for communities in the South who have been hit hard by weather. He stated that FEMA is already there. “We are with you all the way,” he said. “Bad grouping of tornadoes. Horrible destructive power.”

Progress is being made in the war over the virus. Nationwide numbers were flat over the weekend, as hospital admissions are going down. Americans are following the guidelines. It looks like the numbers will be way below the initial models.

Dr. Fauci spoke briefly, saying he didn’t want to get ahead of himself, and even though last week was a bad one they are starting to see in some areas that flattening. Also, he had a very proactive conversation with the Congressional Black Caucus this morning. They are concerned about minority infections and outcomes. He made it clear that resources are needed where the vulnerable are: testing and contact tracing, and that they will need to take action to mitigate for themselves.

Dr. Fauci said he was asked a hypothetical question in an interview yesterday about mitigating earlier. His answer that lives may have been saved by initiating mitigation sooner was taken as though there was something at fault there.

“If mitigation works and you initiate it earlier, you would probably save more lives; if you initiate it later, you would have lost more lives,“ Dr. Fauci said. From his experience, he said in their meetings they have discussed among the medical people what mitigation means. The first and only time he and Dr. Birx made a formal request of President Trump for strong mitigation, he went to the mitigation.

“The next time, we said 15 days aren’t enough, we need to go 30. There were people who had problems with that, but the president went with the health people’s recommendations,“ said the doctor. He concluded that interpretations of the response of that hypothetical have been carried too far.

President Trump spent some time going over the timeline of the travel notices from the CDC from Wuhan , China and the lack of any confirmed cases going back to the beginning of the year. He reviewed the fact that the CDC began screening those coming from China in mid-January at his direction, at which point there were still no confirmed cases in the U.S. He issued travel restrictions from China before anyone had died in this nation, but was criticized for doing so. All kinds of people disagreed with his cautionary tactics and continued to encourage large scale events in urban areas.

The president played a few news clips from news stories. It included a timeline of the president’s actions compared to press reports.  It also included comments from governors on the president’s responses to their needs.  The president said they could have given hundreds of clips just like them, but he wanted to say that it is very sad when people write false stories.

He outlined much of the support that has been given to individual states, for additional beds, for ventilators, and more.  The Javits center was built out by the Army Corps of Engineers and it is hardly used; the Mercy and the Comfort have been ready, willing and able, but they aren’t much used. “I’m not complaining; that is good news. They needed medical personnel, so we sent experts in,“ the president said. He shared that Mayor DeBlasio said that the people being sent in lifted the spirits of the healthcare workers.

There are 184 countries out there with virus; and they are calling the U.S. now for ventilators. “Our people have done an incredible job,“ said President Trump. Vice President Pence had a meeting with the governors today, which the vice president called “a 10,” and there were no complaints from them.

The president noted, “The press has not treated these incredible people fairly. We were way ahead of schedule. Everything we did, we were criticized for because we were too early. If I went earlier, I would have been criticized for being too early. We understand it. I would love to be able to say we have a very honest press.“ He continued, “I don’t mind being criticized, but not for when people have done such a good job. We have great people, genius and compassionate, and very capable.“ He said, despite popular opinions to the contrary, he would not be firing Dr. Fauci.

“There were a lot of people who said ‘let’s ride it out,’ when I was closing down travel from China and then from Europe. We did the right thing and our timing was good.  We have saved thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of lives.  We were way ahead of schedule,“ President Trump said.

He was asked by one reporter about what he did “with the time he bought, in particular in the month of February.” The president said there was a lot of work going on, the task force was working, the laboratories were kicking in.

Today, the HHS announced five new contracts to obtain new ventilators under the Defense Production Act. The president doesn’t believe they will all be needed, but they will be added to the stockpile. If there is another surge and the states need them, they will be sent out to them. The ventilators will help states and other countries, and the federal government will help states to stockpile for their own needs.

Mobile decontamination systems have been ordered that can decontaminate a mask up to 20 times, and a company in Ohio is building these. More than 33 million masks a week can be decontaminated. Five more flights have come in today bringing personal protective equipment. This is to build up the stockpile, but if the states need it, they will be dispensed to them. The shelves were empty when this started.

Three million tests have been conducted, with 150,000 every day, and the hardest hit areas are being focused on. Per capita testing in New York is higher than the rest of the world. “Antibody tests are going to be very interesting over the next little while,“ said the president.

He discussed some of the drug tests going on, clinical trials, and compassionate use of drugs being utilized. There are a lot of promising results coming from several sources. “A lot of good things are happening,“ he encouraged. Convalescent plasma treatment, using antibodies from recovered patients, is being used to treat those who are sick.

An extension for the 2020 Census may be requested. “We can’t be knocking on doors during the spread of the virus. It looks like we will get a 120-day extension if Congress gives what the Census people are asking for,“ said President Trump.

By the end of this week, 80 million people will be receiving their stimulus payments directly into the bank accounts of our citizens. The Paycheck Protection Program needs to be extended and funded; $200 million has already been distributed.

New guidelines will be available to governors to help them in opening their states to a new and normal life. This should be available in a few of days. A number of committees are looking at these and the guidelines should be announced tomorrow.

OPEC-plus nations have agreed to the stabilization of the oil market. Countries around the world are cutting oil production by about 20 million barrels a day. This will help save jobs in America’s big energy states. The president called this a monumental agreement. “Russia and the Saudis and the president of Mexico have been so good in getting this done. This is a historic deal,“ he said.

President Trump stated, “We are strengthened and sustained by the bonds of love and loyalty of the American people; their courage and dedication of doctors, food supply workers, and every citizen to achieving victory of this virus. We are going to be very safe about this. We are beating back this invisible enemy and looking for a great resurgence for the American economy.“

He then turned the briefing over to Vice President Pence, Steve Mnuchin, Dr. Birx, Dr. Fauci and others.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said they are ahead of schedule with the “check is in the mail.” They started processing last Friday. Over 80 million hard-working Americans will have their direct deposit by this Wednesday. He gave instructions on how to get payments from IRS and there will be an online means of getting it done electronically.

Progress is also being made on the one-week-old PPP program. “What we have done is in many multiples of what the SBA does in a year. Your application will get processed this week if it has not already been,“ the secretary assured.

For states, half of the money due to them is going out to them this week; the other half, next week. He said they are working closely with the Federal Reserve.

Additional funding for small business loans is in conversation with Speaker Pelosi, Senator Schumer, Senator McConnell, and others. This is a bipartisan program and needs to be “topped off.” This needs to be a clean bill for small businesses only. “Every dollar we spend on this program, we save a dollar in unemployment insurance,“ said Secretary Mnuchin.

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For the president and the Task Force to be effective in addressing the nations needs.
  • That those who need medical help are able to receive it in a timely fashion.
  • That those who need financial help will be given the stimulus help they need.

Sources: C-SPAN, Fox News


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