President Trump’s Coronavirus Briefing for Monday

Joined by members of the private sector to report on support for testing.

President Trump addressed reporters from the White House Rose Garden on Monday.  He was accompanied by Vice President Pence .

He provided an update on the war against the coronavirus, crediting the support of the American people. He cited places of decline and other areas that are stable or getting better. It does not appear there are new hotspots.

“We continue to mourn with thousands of people across the country, grieving by their side as one great American family. We stand in solidarity with those who are ill and waging a brave fight, doing everything in our power to safely get people back to work,” President Trump said.

The administration is working to ensure the health of our people and our economy work side by side. The highest level of care is being provided for those who are ill. Ventilators are in strong supply, and the U.S. is sharing with others across the world. “The most ambitious testing effort on Earth has been launched here—more than twice of anywhere else on Earth,” the president assured.

He mentioned numerous private sector partners in an unprecedented effort to expand our nation’s capabilities.  He said there has been nothing short of amazing effort in the last 45 days. He had a number of them come forward to make short statements about their achievements.

The CEO of Quest Diagnostics told of the 47,000 people they have working on as many as 50,000 tests a day; by the end of May that will double. Serological testing is also ongoing and by end of May 250,000 a day by the end of May. Turnaround time has been shortened. Convenience is also improving. Another Quest Diagnostics colleague discussed testing as well, including the Pixel by LabCorp test. These will be going out at no up-front cost to consumers. They are working with retailers as testing capabilities are expanded. They are also working with biotech and pharmaceuticals to roll out clinical trials of potential vaccines.

John Ems with U.S. Cotton is producing the swabs being used in testing kits. He said the Cleveland team is excited to be able to help in the effort.

CVS Health CEO spoke about drive-through test sites. Five states now have large-scale testing that enable around 2,000 individuals a day with real-time results. That capacity is being expanded in May with up to 1,000 CVS pharmacies using the swab tests in their drive-throughs. They are also establishing mobile testing sites, to help businesses that need to test in order to reopen.

The Walgreens U.S. chief thanked his team members all across America taking care of COVID testing. They are expanding their capabilities to triple the volume they do now in partnership with the labs. “We are excited about the public-private partnership,” he said. He continued that he is proud to be a pharmacist, that they are getting to do what they went to school to do.

A representative of Kroger said his people are actively engaged in six states, soon to be 12 states, to help with testing. “Together we will win and we will solve this problem. America is always great,” he said.

A WalMart executive credited his employees and their can-do attitude. For the last 45 days they’ve been operating testing sites. By the end of May there will be over 100 of them. Their apparel team and McKesson have been able to secure what will amount to an additional 6 million surgical gowns.

A Rite-Aid representative said they are working on testing across eight states. Everybody who is helping with this great effort and all of the customers are to be credited. They also are expanding testing to around 1,500 per day.

President Trump thanked them, Vice President Pence and the task force. He said there was a fantastic call with governors today. The governors are as happy with the developments as they can be, given the impact of the pandemic. “The whole world is suffering—184 countries, at least. Tests across the country are sky-rocketing. We are testing more than 200,000 a day,” said the president.

The reopening process won’t be held up by testing. The task force is releasing additional guidance on testing for safe and phased reopening.

“Our Medicare program will make it easier for our seniors to get testing, including at pharmacies. This is a big deal. We’ve asked governors to do the same thing with Medicaid. The full power and strength of the federal government is being deployed. We want this plague over with and over with fast,” said the president.

President Trump asked Dr. Birx to explain the progress being made and the process. The “blueprint” lays out the phases between the federal government and local jurisdictions. She showed the core elements of testing plans, that are robust, timely and rapid. This is added to monitoring systems to work with individuals at higher risk. Places of closed settings, in long term care facilities and among the Native American population are important places of focus.

“We will be using science and technology to develop the vaccine and antibody development as well as innovative tests, including point-of-care tests,” said Dr. Birx.

Admiral Giroir reviewed the 8-part plan for testing that has been gone through to date.  “We started with our commercial partners but we have sites where 68 percent are in areas of the high or moderate social vulnerability. We are now in the third stage that has been meeting with multidisciplinary teams about testing aspirations and meeting their demands,” said the admiral. Another round of calls will be held this week. Every state will be supplied with what they need to dramatically increase the number of tests to date. “The minimum we are supplying to states is approximately double in one month than the Republic of South Korea has done in total. We want to stop outbreaks and are on the way to doing that,” said Admiral Giroir.

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For the president and task force as they support the states in testing for reopening.
  • For the private sector businesses that are pitching in to facilitate testing across the nation.
  • That governors and state leaders will be discerning in their phases of reopening.

Sources: Fox News, C-SPAN


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